Sean Strickland vs. Israel Adesanya Introduced for UFC 293

Picture Credit score: Through Instagram @stylebender @strickland_mma

With solely a month to spare, a essential occasion has lastly materialized for UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia. On September tenth, Israel Adesanya will defend the middleweight belt towards the #5 ranked contender, Sean Strickland.

Placing collectively a essential occasion for this card was a tough course of. Each single bout on the cardboard features a fighter from Australia or New Zealand, and the UFC supposed to ebook one of many area’s two champions, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, for the primary occasion.

Matchmaking for 293’s title battle was placed on maintain till the result of July 8’s UFC 290. This occasion noticed Volkanovski defend his title towards Jair Rodriguez and Dricus Du Plessis defeat Robert Whittaker in what was thought-about to be a middleweight title eliminator. Sadly for the UFC, Volkanovski introduced in his octagon interview that he could be moving into for shoulder surgical procedure and wouldn’t be able to make the short turnaround required to battle in Sydney.

In the meantime, Dricus Du Plessis secured a stunning TKO end over Robert Whittaker and, after a verbal confrontation with Adesanya within the post-fight, regarded like the apparent option to headline 293. Nevertheless, this matchup additionally fell aside within the following weeks as Du Plessis introduced that he too wanted to rehabilitate an harm and wouldn’t be able to battle in September.

This left this UFC scrambling by means of the middleweight rankings searching for a contender to pit towards Adesanya. The one prime contenders who had not misplaced their final bout have been #3 Jared Cannonier and #5 Sean Strickland. Cannonier fought Adesanya simply final yr, and misplaced by a one-sided choice (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) in a low-volume standup battle that was broadly thought-about ‘boring’ and noticed followers exit the stadium in the course of the motion. In mild of this current efficiency, Cannonier was not an excellent candidate for 293, regardless of a dominant win over Marvin Vettori on June seventeenth.

This strategy of elimination left Strickland because the most probably candidate to problem Adesanya in Sydney. Since struggling a brutal KO loss to Alex Pereira, Strickland has put collectively a stable collection of main-event performances: a razor-thin break up choice loss to Canonier in a aggressive matchup, a unanimous choice victory over Nassourdine Imavov, and a powerful second-round TKO victory over Abusupiyan Magomedov. The collection of wins most likely wouldn’t have sufficed to warrant a title shot if issues have been business-as-usual, however the uncommon set of circumstances main into UFC 293 sealed the deal.

Israel Adesany has opened as a serious betting favourite (-350) and Strickland as a major underdog (+275), per Bovada as of August ninth. These odds suggest that Adesanya has a 77.78% likelihood of rising victorious.

In different phrases, Strickland has a path to victory, however it’s a very slim one. Adesanya has confronted and defeated all the prime contenders within the weight class aside from Du Plessis. Strickland has solely clashed with Jared Canonier and the previous Middleweight champion Alex Pereira and was defeated in each matches.

On paper, the stylistic matchup appears to be like a lot better for Adesanya. Strickland has a high-pressure, high-volume, low-power model the place he leans into his cardio and prices his opponent with easy combos and a clumsy however profitable defensive model primarily based totally on parries. His protection is missing in the case of leg-kicks, and he’s weak to counterstrikes whereas he’s within the pocket. Adesanya tends to choose away at his opponents at vary and scores massive photographs primarily when he counters. It’s not exhausting to check Adesanya racking up factors over Strickland at vary, after which touchdown harmful photographs when his opponent rushes into the pocket.

Though he tends to favor a pure boxing model, Strickland has demonstrated actual proficiency at offensive grappling in a few of his earlier fights. He secured a takedown that modified the momentum of a spherical towards Nassourdine Imavov and has demonstrated dominant floor and pound within the ending sequences of his fights towards Bubba McDaniel and Nordine Taleb. Adesanya has demonstrated quite poor defensive grappling abilities, and on the one event he fought a proficient offensive grappler in Jan Blachowicz, he was soundly defeated. If Strickland can incorporate grappling into his sport plan and keep his high-pressure model, he may need a path to victory.

It is going to most likely be the antics that happen throughout the build-up and the press conferences that may promote this battle, quite than the dynamics of the matchup. Strickland is understood for his brash and entertaining habits throughout press conferences and interviews, and Adesanya is a UFC famous person who constantly attracts massive PPV numbers. The 2 bought right into a heated verbal trade the final time they appeared on the similar press convention, and have been taking photographs at one another in interviews and over social media ever since. Whether or not or not the battle finally ends up being aggressive, the build-up actually will probably be.

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