In a stunning turn of events, Israel Adesanya was defeated by Sean Strickland during the early hours of Sunday in Sydney, Australia, losing his UFC 293 middleweight championship. The unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the fight 49-46, led to Strickland being crowned the new UFC middleweight champion.
The loss is a significant setback for Adesanya, marking only the third defeat in his 27-fight UFC career. On the other side, Strickland, hailing from the United States, improves his record to 28 wins in 33 professional bouts.
Israel Adesanya had aimed for a sixth successful defense of his title, initially regained against Alex Pereira at UFC 287. However, Strickland’s superior boxing technique prevailed. Strickland dominated the match, especially evident when he knocked Adesanya down in the first round. Despite Adesanya landing some powerful strikes later in the fight, Strickland’s continuous offensive attacks and effective jabs kept the former champion unsettled, eventually sealing the surprising victory that has shaken the middleweight landscape.
In his post-fight interview, Strickland expressed disbelief over his accomplishment. He questioned the reality of his newfound success, stating that the win was beyond his wildest expectations. Strickland also acknowledged the doubts he had felt, especially given Adesanya’s record of defeating many of his friends in the fight industry.
Strickland credited his victory to relentless hard work and sacrifice, admitting that he was left speechless by the outcome. With this victory over Adesanya, Strickland has undoubtedly secured the most significant win of his fighting career, throwing the middleweight division into a new era of competition.
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