In an exciting announcement, it has been revealed that Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against Sean Strickland in the main event of UFC 293. This highly anticipated fight is scheduled to take place on September 9th in Sydney, Australia. The announcement was made by UFC president Dana White, adding to the excitement surrounding this event. Adesanya, currently ranked No. 4 in the world pound-for-pound rankings and No. 1 at middleweight according to ESPN, will face off against the No. 8 middleweight contender, Sean Strickland.
A Change of Plans
Initially, the UFC had different plans for the main event of UFC 293. Sources have revealed that the organization had hoped for Adesanya to defend his title against the winner of a fight between his rival Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290. However, Du Plessis surprised many by finishing Whittaker via TKO in the second round. This unexpected result led to a verbal confrontation between Adesanya and Du Plessis afterward in the cage. The rivalry between the two intensified when Du Plessis claimed he would be the first “real” African champion due to Adesanya and other former champions being born in Africa but residing elsewhere. Adesanya, taking offense to these comments, aimed to prove Du Plessis wrong and defend his title against him. Unfortunately, Du Plessis sustained a foot injury during the Whittaker fight, making him unavailable for the upcoming event. Despite this setback, Adesanya expressed his desire to remain on the card close to home, leading to the selection of Sean Strickland as his opponent.
A Potential Showdown
Israel Adesanya, a two-time UFC middleweight champion, has an impressive record of 24-2. He most recently secured a second-round knockout victory over Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in April. Adesanya’s only loss in the middleweight division came against Pereira when he lost the belt in a TKO defeat at UFC 281. With five successful title defenses, Adesanya is second only to Anderson Silva in UFC history. At 34 years old, Adesanya is at the peak of his career and continues to be a dominant force in the middleweight division.
On the other hand, Sean Strickland has experienced a recent resurgence with two consecutive victories following a two-fight losing streak. The 32-year-old fighter from Las Vegas most recently won via second-round TKO against Abus Magomedov on July 1st. Since moving up to middleweight in 2020, Strickland has won seven of his past nine fights, showcasing his skills and determination in the division.
The upcoming UFC 293 event promises to be an exciting showcase of talent as Israel Adesanya defends his middleweight title against Sean Strickland. With Adesanya’s legacy and Strickland’s determination, fans can expect an intense battle inside the octagon. As the anticipation builds, the fight between these two formidable opponents will surely captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact on the sport of mixed martial arts.