UFC 293 Championship Preview: Israel Adesanya – Sean Strickland

MMA: UFC 287 - Pereira vs Adesanya
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 293 from Australia, the middleweight title is on the line. Champion Israel Adesanya (24-2) gets his wish as he’s fighting close to home as he takes on the charismatic and entertaining top contender Sean Strickland (27-5).

Admittedly, this is not the original title fight the promotion wanted. The fight was supposed to be Adesanya against Dricus Du Plessis, but due to some lingering injuries for DDP, he wasn’t able to turn around quick enough for the UFC 293 date. Enter Sean Strickland.

Strickland has had a very solid year finishing the tough Abus Magomedov and then defeated Nassourdine Imavov on short notice. Since the start of 2020, Strickland has gone 7-2 at 185. The two losses being an extremely close split decision loss to Jared Cannonier and a knockout loss to Alex Pereira.

Speaking of the former UFC champ Pereira, that’s who Adesanya defeated to regain the title. After losing the belt to Pereira last November, Adesanya finally got his revenge on the Brazilian. Back in April, The Last Stylebender knocked out Pereira and then wanted to turn around and fight in front of the Australian fans which is close to his home in New Zealand.

UFC 293 Prediction

When you think of what Sean Strickland does well, it’s fighting with a ton of volume and walking through whatever is opponent throws at him. He’s very good defensively and doesn’t eat a lot of clean shots. He breaks down his opponents with volume and his tremendous cardio. However, I’m having a hard time finding his path to victory.

While Strickland can certainly grapple, he doesn’t lean on it very often. He usually relies on his striking and that’s a recipe for disaster against Adesanya who might be the best pure striker in the sport. I think Strickland is in for a rough night on the feet just getting picked apart.

I actually don’t see a finish at UFC 293. Instead, I think Strickland continuously marches forward throughout the night but getting caught with clean counters and leg kicks. Adesanya is going to win going away, but I don’t see a highlight finish coming like we saw back in April from The Last Stylebender.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya by Decision