Nigeria-born New Zealand-based UFC fighter, Israel Adesanya, has promised to return stronger following his defeat in the early hours of Sunday. He lost to his American opponent, Sean Strickland, who won to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion.
All three judges scored it 49-46 in a unanimous decision for Strickland. At the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the American dropped Adesanya in the first round and never looked back, serving up constant pressure and steady upright boxing to deliver a unanimous decision victory over Israel Adesanya to become the new middleweight world champion in the UFC 293 headliner Sunday.
The fight started as expected with a lot of feints and fakes from Adesanya while a disciplined Strickland measured him out, refusing to fall into the champion’s trap.
Strickland turned it on big time to rock Adesanya in the latter stages of the opening round with a straight right hand to the champion as he tried to hook around.
The American was quick to take advantage too, unleashing a series of shots that had the champion in trouble, but Adesanya was able to stay on his feet until the final bell brought an end to the first round.
Adesanya, to his credit, looked calm and composed in his corner like nothing had happened but it was certainly a surprise to see the way Strickland turned the fight on its head early.
It was a much better second round for the champion after that early warning shot, first going back to the feints before landing a few leg kicks early and then a strong right hand to close out the period.
“You’re getting snake charmed by this guy,” Strickland was warned by his corner after the second round. A more aggressive Adesanya then started mixing up his targets and shots even more in the third round, in turn challenging Strickland to increase his activity to back up his dominant moments in the first.
Strickland though remained patient, picking his moments as he did with 90 seconds left in the round as the American landed a left hand and then a left hook soon after.
Strickland did just that in the fourth too as he landed another left hand and then followed it up with a flurry of shots that Adesanya ate, repeating that later in the round to really put the pressure on the champion.
Adesanya though was unable to land anything of real note to turn the fight in his favour, with Strickland continuing to pile on the shots and pull off a stunning boilover — just as he predicted before Sunday’s fight. Adesanya said he would bounce back stronger soon.