Israel Adesanya is set to defend his middleweight title for the first time as a two-time champion against Sean Strickland at the Qudos Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday (today).
The Nigeran-born fighter who holds an impressive record of 24 wins and just two losses, is gearing up for this epic showdown against Strickland, who holds a record of 27 wins and five losses.
Should Adesanya successfully defend his title, it will mark his sixth successful defence, inching him closer to Anderson Silva’s record of 10 successful title defences in the middleweight division.
“The Last Stylebender,” has remained a prominent figure in the UFC with his most recent triumph over Alex Pereira coming at UFC 287 where he regained his middleweight title in a spectacular fashion. Known for his ability to finish fights in creative ways, Adesanya is a knockout force to be reckoned with.
His opponent, Strickland, has also been on a hot streak, winning two consecutive fights against tough competitors Nassourdine Imavov and Abusupiyan Magomedov. Adesanya had initially intended to face the top contender for his title, Dricus Du Plessis, but an injury sidelined Du Plessis, paving the way for Strickland to step up to the plate.
Adesanya confident in his abilities, has stated that he will make Strickland, whom he acknowledges as a dangerous man, look easy in the octagon. Adesanya’s striking prowess is renowned, and he believes the American will struggle to cope with his unique style.
“He would have never got this opportunity without me actually asking for this fight. I know he’s dangerous because anyone in the top five or the top 10 is dangerous. But I’ve just made a habit of making dangerous men look easy,” Adesanya said.
“I’ve made dangerous men look easy before and I’m going to do it again, and he’s not the most dangerous man I fought but he’s capable, and a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain is a dangerous man. So yeah, I’m going to make a dangerous man look easy.”
However, Strickland is not to be underestimated. His willingness to take on short-notice and challenging fights has earned him a shot at the title. His pressure-based fighting style will force Adesanya to engage throughout the fight, making it a thrilling and competitive showdown.
Adesanya’s journey to this fight has been eventful, including a knockout loss to Pereira followed by a spectacular title-winning rematch at UFC 287. Now, he aims to defend his title for the sixth time.
When it comes to fighting styles, Adesanya’s technical prowess and striking skills set him apart. Strickland, on the other hand, relies on durability and relentless pressure, with effective defensive skills. He also has wrestling in his arsenal, which could be a game-changer in this fight as wrestling is not one of Adesanya’s best attributes.
With all the preparations for the fight now all but complete, Adesanya sent a final message to Strickland on Friday. He threatened his opponent with a broken jaw if Strickland ‘runs his mouth’ during the bout.
“I do wanna shut him up and I’m gonna shut him up, I’m gonna break his jaw if he keeps talkin to me while he’s in there, trust,” Adesanya told TMZ Sports.
“When you’re talkin, you never know when a shot’s coming, the jab can hit you while your mouth open and send you jaw to the back of your head.
“Sean should just thank me. He got his passport, he got the fight, he gets to travel out of the country for the first time and actually see the world instead of being a fu*king hillbilly, so yeah, he should thank me.
“He should really appreciate the fact that I got him the opportunity and he’s gonna get paid.”
As the anticipation builds for UFC 293, it’s evident that both fighters are hungry for success. Adesanya’s goal is to secure his eighth middleweight title victory and solidify his status as one of the best in the division’s history. Strickland, the underdog, is eager to prove his worth and seize the championship opportunity.