Sport | UFC

Adesanya loses middleweight title to Strickland

The fight - and the result - weren’t expected.

UFC 293′s main event was as explosive as imagined between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and American challenger Sean Strickland in Sydney.

But with the underdog odds for Strickland, few thought the champ would lose. But that’s exactly what happened.

Adesanya was outstruck and outclassed by the American and, after 25 minutes of action, was given the middleweight division’s top prize via unanimous decision.

Perhaps what wasn’t expected so early on was for Strickland to stun ‘The Last Stylebender’ in the first round with a rocking right.

And yet, that’s precisely what happened in the last 30 seconds, with the challenger raining down strikes that sent the Aussie crowd into a raucous frenzy - but the bell would save the champion from further damage.

The second round wasn’t as explosive but in the third, Strickland’s counters stunned the champion for a noticeable second. Adesanya responded with a few touches to the challenger, keeping it a tight contest going into the championship-deciding rounds.

Took the loss ‘humbly’

Strickland’s jab and counters continued to play in his favour in the fourth, following Adesanya like a moth to a flame as he had done throughout.

The final round left Adesanya needing a knockout. And no matter how hard the champion tried, Strickland was still standing, and egging Adesanya to stand and bang with him.

By the fight’s end, Strickland paraded with joy - and the champion knew it too. Adesanya took the loss humbly, raising his opponent’s hand high to an appreciative Sydney audience.

It marked Adesanya’s third UFC career loss.

Adesanya will no doubt want a rematch against Strickland soon to reclaim the middleweight gold for a third time in his career.

Public Interest Journalism