Sean Strickland beats Israel Adesanya in huge upset at UFC 293

Sean Strickland pulls off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history as he takes Israel Adesanya’s middleweight title in a unanimous decision at UFC 293

  • All three judges gave the fight to the American 
  • Strickland dropped Adesanya in the first round 
  • Ex-champ too devastated to speak afterwards

Controversial fighter Sean Strickland has stunned the mixed martial arts world by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as he took Israel Adesanya’s middleweight crown via unanimous decision.

All three judges scored it 49-46 for the American, who clearly won the first round by dropping his opponent. 

Strickland survived a comeback of sorts from Adesanya in the second, then took the remaining stanzas of the contest with a brilliant effort that saw him continually pressure his rival and land big shots.

The new world champ was overcome with emotion in the octagon after the decision was announced and told the crowd, ‘Am I f**king dreaming? Am I going to wake up? Someone hit me!

‘I don’t cry much but I’m trying to keep my s**t together right now.’

Strickland lands one of many clean shots on Adesanya during what will go down as one of the biggest boilovers seen inside the octagon 

The American won every round bar the second and dropped his opponent with a clean one-two in the first round, stunning the crowd and commentators

Commentator and former heavyweight world champion Daniel Cormier was also stunned by the result.

‘It was a mountain he wasn’t supposed to climb. He wasn’t even supposed to be in this fight,’ he said, referring to the fact Strickland was a late replacement for the injured Dricus du Plessis.

‘It’s crazy. That’s why this sport is like no other. You don’t know, you just don’t know.

‘That was very clear and every judge got it right. It was four rounds to one for Sean Strickland, and he beat one of the greatest middleweights of all time.’

Adesanya was too emotional to speak more than two sentences at his post-fight press conference, telling the media, ‘Life throws curveballs at you,’ before leaving his coach Eugene Bareman to answer questions.

Strickland made his intentions very clear in the first rounds, shocking the crowd by levelling Adesanya with a clean one-two, then following up his devastating right with a series of left hands as his opponent barely managed to see out the round.

Strickland was overcome with emotion after the win as he admitted he was doubting himself going into the bout with the man regarded as one of the best fighters on the planet

Near the end of the final round Strickland was so confident and dominant that he started yelling at Adesanya to throw down with him

The Nigeria-born, New Zealand-based ex-champion found his distance in the second and seemed to come to grips with Strickland’s relentless pressure, landing a big right hand soon before the bell.

However, the American came roaring back in the third, with Adesanya looking too patient as he lost the initiative and failed to get his shots off while copping several huge blows.

It was more of the same in the fourth and fifth rounds as Strickland wore his opponent down with non-stop pressure, and even dropped his hands and roared at Adesanya to step up and throw down with him in the final moments of the bout.

Strickland had insulted Adesanya – often in unprintable fashion – in the lead-up to their clash, but he was unusually classy after taking the belt in what is far and away the biggest win of his career.

He also thanked the Aussie spectators, who gave him more support than his opponent, despite his Kiwi background. 

Adesanya might fight out of neighbouring New Zealand but the Aussie crowd was behind Strickland in Sydney – with the new champ thanking them for motivating him during the bout

He’d been insulting Adesanya at every opportunity in the lead-up to the fight, often in unprintable fashion, but Strickland was all class once he had the belt around his waist

‘You guys know, Izzy’s a bad motherf**ker,’ he told the crowd.

‘You don’t fight a guy with that many highlight-reel knockouts.

‘The majority of my friends, he’s beat pretty easily. I was even kind of doubting myself at times.

‘But I’ve got to say, the fans in Australia, you guys motivated me. Not even joking around.

‘When I’m walking in there and I heard you guys yelling, in that fourth round I heard you guys yelling. It f**king fuelled me.

‘I thought I’d be walking away a little bloody, a little broken up. I’m a little shocked that didn’t happen.’ 

Adesanya gave his take on the fight in an Instagram post that was filmed as he was driven away from Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena with members of his family.

Taking off his sunglasses to reveal a bruise around his left eye and pulling his bloodied bottom lip down to show his teeth, he told his fans, ‘It’s not that bad. Nothing broken. A little touched-up. We gravy, baby. Still thriving, it’s all good.

Strickland looked almost as shocked as fight fans and experts when the decision was read out

‘I hate losing but I love living, and I’m thriving so, yeah, hang out with the family first, and [then] I’ll address the people.

‘But right now I gotta put me first.’

Several MMA stars were left in shock by the underdog win.

‘Wow! Did not see that coming,’ Dricus du Plessis posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

He was joined by Dustin Poirier, who wrote: ‘Unbelieveable… MMA is the craziest sport in the world. I F**king love this.’

Bareman refused to make any excuses for the loss, admitting his charge performed poorly as he said he didn’t want to take away from Strickland’s outstanding performance. 

Source: Read Full Article