UFC 293 was explosive, and fans would not forget in a hurry the upset that occurred in the main event. In his second fight since returning to the Middleweight division, Sean Strickland delivered a stunning performance by dethroning Israel Adesanya to claim the undisputed UFC middleweight title.
Adesanya initially appeared in control, showcasing excellent footwork, cage movement, and powerful leg kicks. However, Strickland, undeterred, closed the gap and landed a massive right hand towards the end of the first round, which staggered the champion. Adesanya hit the canvas, and Strickland launched a flurry of punches, but “Last Stylebender” managed to survive the onslaught.
Adesanya seemed to recover in the second round, using movement and selective strikes to keep Strickland at bay. However, Strickland emerged aggressively in the third round, pushing Adesanya on the defensive and regaining momentum. In the fourth, Strickland continued his offensive onslaught, landing power shots, and jabs that pinned Adesanya against the cage.
The fifth and final round saw Strickland maintain control, relentlessly tracking down Adesanya along the cage. Strickland found success with another right hand that kept the champion on the back foot.
At the end of the fight, Strickland secured a unanimous decision victory and was crowned the new middleweight champion.
During the post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White hinted at the possibility of an immediate rematch, stating, “I think you do the rematch, absolutely. The rematch is interesting. That could be the thing, too. When you think about you’re going into the [Alex] Pereira fight, such a big fight, and you’ve been in there with this guy so many times, and then you overlook Strickland.”
However, there were no words from former champion Adesanya as he left the press conference without providing answers.
Strickland earned an extra $50,000 prize money for winning Performance of the Night.