In a surprising turn of events at UFC 293’s main event, Israel Adesanya the reigning middleweight champion found himself dethroned after a lackluster performance against Sean Strickland. The fight left Adesanya with more questions than answers as he struggled to find his rhythm and faced relentless pressure from Strickland. Even UFC president Dana White expressed bewilderment at Adesanya’s flat and slow performance making it a night to remember for both fighters and fans.
A dominant display by Sean Strickland
Sean Strickland’s performance at UFC 293 was nothing short of remarkable. He kept up an impressive pace demonstrated exceptional defensive skills and continuously pummeled Adesanya with punches throughout the five rounds. Strickland’s early knockdown of Adesanya set the tone for the rest of the fight and the former champion never managed to regain his footing. The unanimous decision victory solidified Strickland’s position as a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division.
UFC president Dana White shared the shock of fans and pundits alike regarding the outcome of the main event. Regardless of whether Adesanya or Strickland emerged victorious the manner in which the fight unfolded was unexpected. White expressed his surprise at Adesanya’s flatness, slowness, and inability to get into the fight. He remarked, “Only Israel knows what’s going on,” leaving many wondering about the factors contributing to Adesanya’s lackluster performance.
Dana White’s surprise
The statistical disparity between Strickland and Adesanya was evident in the numbers. According to UFC stats, Strickland outlanded Adesanya 137 to 94 in total strikes scoring the sole knockdown of the fight in the opening round. Strickland controlled the pace applying relentless pressure while Adesanya often found himself with his back against the cage offering minimal resistance. White noted that Adesanya appeared stiff, slow, and devoid of the urgency needed to turn the fight in his favor.
White speculated about the potential reasons behind Adesanya’s subpar performance. He raised the possibility that the high-stakes nature of Adesanya’s previous fights, particularly his victory over his boogeyman, Alex Pereira, may have contributed to a sense of complacency. In the fight against Pereira, Adesanya avenged his earlier loss which had seen him lose his middleweight title. The emotional and physical toll of these encounters might have affected his preparation and mindset against Strickland.
Despite the stunning defeat, White believes that a rematch between Adesanya and Strickland is the most logical course of action for the middleweight division. This decision may not sit well with other contenders like Dricus Du Plessis or Khamzat Chimaev but White is resolute in his plans to give Adesanya another shot at Strickland. The prospect of a rematch presents an opportunity for Adesanya to redeem himself and reclaim his middleweight title.
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