UFC 293 Recap: Sean Strickland batters Israel Adesanya to become middleweight champion

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Moncton-Taleb vs Strickland
Trevor MacMillan-USA TODAY Sports

In the main event of UFC 293 from Australia, the middleweight title was on the line. Champion Israel Adesanya (24-2) got his wish tonight as he was fighting close to home and he took on the charismatic and entertaining top contender Sean Strickland (27-5).

Sean Strickland has had a very solid year finishing the tough Abus Magomedov and then defeated Nassourdine Imavov on short notice earlier this year. 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 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 293 main event kicks off with no touch of the gloves. Strickland takes the center and Adesanya starts poking him with leg kicks. A little pressure here from Strickland and he checks a leg kick from Adesanya. Jab from the champion lands. Low kick from Strickland and he’s not giving Adesanya much space here.

Lots of feints from the champion here. They trade low kicks in the center. Jab now from Strickland lands and Adesanya circles away. Double jab now from the champion. Adesanya throws another jab and Strickland counters with a 1-2. Strickland moving forward and throws a nice combination.

Front kick to the body from Strickland and Adesanya lands two leg kicks. Strickland closes the distance and Adesanya lands a counter left. Right hand and a sharp jab now from Strickland. Strickland lands a couple of nice shots and Adesanya might be playing opossum against the fence.

Leg kick from Adesanya lands and Strickland is right in his face here. 30 seconds left and Strickland drops Adesanya with a huge right. He’s all over him here and Adesanya is badly rocked. He survives but oh my goodness that was close. 1-0 Strickland at UFC 293.

Round 2

Second round ready to go at UFC 293 and Adesanya’s face looks completely different in terms of his expression. Adesanya is being much more aggressive to start the second round with his kicks. Strickland goes back to moving forward. Head kick attempt from Adesanya is blocked.

Lots of pressure from Strickland and he lands a front kick. Jab from Adesanya backs him off a bit. Adesanya just can’t get comfortable right now with this pressure from Strickland. Body kick from the champion. Adesanya moves forward with a combination but nothing big lands.

Jab from Adesanya and he’s throwing a lot of feints right now too. Strickland goes back on the attack and he throws a nice jab. Leg kick and a 1-2 from Adesanya. Front kick to the body from Strickland. Multiple leg kicks in a row from Adesanya now. Strickland chasing him here. Jab from the challenger and Adesanya lands a nice body shot.

Big jab from Strickland lands with one minute left. Big right over the top lands for Adesanya and now a body kick. Long jab from Strickland lands. 1-2 from Strickland lands and the round comes to a close. That’s a round for the champion and it’s 1-1 at UFC 293.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 293 and this is such a competitive fight through two rounds. Strickland takes the center to start the third and he immediately starts moving forward. Adesanya throwing out low kicks to keep the distance. Sharp jab from Strickland and Adesanya goes to the body. Body kick from Adesanya and Strickland lands a combination.

Strickland is fighting with much more pressure here in the third. Quick check left from Adesanya lands. Right hand now from Adesanya lands. Long jab lands for Strickland now and a front kick. Jab from Strickland and Adesanya lands a counter. Right hand from Strickland lands and Adesanya throws back a kick.

Two minutes left in the round and Adesanya gets popped with a jab. 1-2 now from Strickland. Big combination now from Strickland with 90 seconds left in the round. Front kick from Strickland and Adesanya lands a counter. Strong jab from Strickland lands and now he lands a big left hand.

Front kick to the body and a 1-2 from Strickland. Big miss from Adesanya but then he lands a jab. Big jab from Strickland and he has Adesanya against the fence. The round comes to a close and it’s 2-1 Strickland on my card at UFC 293.

Round 4

Entering the fourth and this fight is getting very interesting. Strickland takes the center but he eats a big jab from Adesanya. Strickland is back on the pressure but Adesanya looks aggressive right now. Lots of heat from Adesanya early in the fourth round. Front kick up the middle lands for Strickland.

Nice left hand lands for Strickland. Big right hand now lands for Strickland. Adesanya lands a shot but then Strickland tees off on him. Big combination against the fence from the challenger. Body kick from Adesanya but Strickland lands a huge jab. Right straight now from Strickland.

Strickland with another massive combination. Two minutes left in the round and Strickland is winning this fight. Adesanya is wearing some damage now. Right hand now from Adesanya lands. Jab from Strickland and a body kick from Adesanya. 90 seconds left in the round and a combination from Strickland.

Left hand and a quick body lock from Strickland. Lots of pressure from Strickland and both men land big right hands. Check left hook from Strickland and that backs off Adesanya. The round comes to a close and it’s another clear round for Sean Strickland.

Round 5

Entering the fifth round at UFC 293 and Adesanya needs a finish in my opinion. Low kick from Adesanya starts the striking. Front kick to the body from Strickland lands. Two big kicks from the champion. Right hand now from Strickland. Front kick to the body from Strickland and now a right hand.

Lots of pressure from Strickland and he lands a long jab. 90 seconds into the final round and both men land big shots. Long jab lands for Strickland. Adesanya is circling on the outside and Strickland is really heavy on the pressure. Halfway through the final round and Strickland lands a big right hand.

Body shot from Strickland and Adesanya counters. Right hand now from Strickland and a left. Two minutes left and Adesanya lands a big jab. Push kick from Strickland and now a combination. Long jab and a right hand from Strickland. Big right hand from Strickland.

One minute until Sean Strickland becomes the UFC middleweight champion unless a finish happens. Another combination from Strickland. Two more big rights from Strickland. 30 seconds left and Strickland lands again. Big combination from Sean Strickland and the round ends.

Sean Strickland def. Israel Adesanya by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)