Sean Strickland Produces Major Upset by Defeating Israel Adesanya at UFC 293

Sean Strickland Produces Major Upset by Defeating Israel Adesanya at UFC 293

Byron Pillay
updated at September 10, 2023 at 6:54 AM
  • Sean Strickland knocked down Israel Adesanya in round one of their championship fight
  • Adesanya was confident of victory going into the fight, but never found his range as it wore on
  • Strickland won by unanimous decision, with all the judges scoring four rounds in his favour

Sean Strickland is the new UFC Middleweight champion.

The American fighter produced one of the biggest upsets in modern-day UFC history as he defeated Israel Adesanya by unanimous decision to claim the belt in the main event of UFC 293.

Sean Strickland celebrates his win.
Sean Strickland is the new UFC Middleweight champion after he defeated Israel Adesanya at UFC 293. Image: Chris Unger.
Source: Getty Images

The first round started slowly as both men took their time and didn’t look for anything too big or brash.

Adesanya used his trademark feints to try and bait Strickland, but it almost worked against him as Strickland caught him with a vicious right hand, which dropped the champion.

Strickland followed up with shot after shot, but The Last Stylebender covered up and was able to get back to his feet, telling the referee that he was still fine.

Round 2

Realising that Strickland posed a serious threat, Izzy was more measured in the second as he tried to find his range. The champion landed a few more jabs, picking his shots in his trademark sniper-like style.

It paid off when he landed a big shot against the American late in the second, but Strickland kept marching forward.

Round 3

Despite winning the first round, Strickland didn’t offer much offensively in the second or the start of the third.

Adesanya stayed out of range effectively and picked his shots on the counter. When Strickland did land, he landed big, and his shots seemed to have an effect on the champion. As the round wore on he grew more confident and landed a few more shots. Even the commentators felt he was 2-1 up after three rounds.

Round 4

With the fight entering the championship rounds, Strickland pushed forward and put pressure on the champion. He landed a few big shots in the fourth, forcing Izzy to cover up. The champion looked uncomfortable as the round wore on, having to do more defending than he was used to. Strickland continued to land punches and Izzy was left with a bloodied nose going into the final round.

Round 5

With the champion needing a big round to reclaim his belt, he came out with some big kicks to start the fifth. It didn’t seem to affect Strickland as he continued to put the pressure on the champion.

With two minutes to go, Izzy started trying to land more punches and pick up the pace, but he was still getting caught by the power of the American.

Strickland pushed forward constantly and battered Izzy. He kept mocking the champion as the time was running out, wanting him to fight and trade blows.

Strickland steps up against Adesanya

Adesanya was originally on a collision course to fight Dricus du Plessis for the title, but a fight between the two could not be agreed upon.

The South African fighter suffered a foot injury, which forced him to relinquish his chance to take on The Last Stylebender.

America’s Strickland then stepped up to challenge the Nigerian-born Kiwi.

There was a lot of bad blood between du Plessis and Adesanya and many fans were eager to see them square off.

UFC 293: What you need to know

Sports Brief reported earlier how UFC 293 was only a few days away and excitement was building for one of the year's biggest fights.

Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland will square off this Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, for the UFC Middleweight Championship.

Here’s all you need to know about Adesanya vs. Strickland and the other fights on the main card for UFC 293.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.
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