Sean Strickland early Sunday morning provided another great upset in the mixed martial arts world with a stunning victory over Nigeria-born fighter Israel Adesanya.
The American who dropped Adesanya in the first round never looked back afterwards as he constantly punished the ‘Last Style Bender’ before securing a unanimous decision victory in the gruelling UFC 293 headliner.
All the judges scored it 49-46 at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The well-deserved win has seen Strickland take over as the new middleweight world champion while Adesanya will now have to live to fight another day.
With no one giving him a chance going into the fight, Strickland feels his win is a dream he has to wake up from.
“Am I f—ing dreaming? Am I going to wake up? Somebody hit me. Oh my God guys. Literally, never in a million years did I thought I would be here,” Strickland said in the Octagon following the biggest win of his career.
Even though he was a heavy underdog and fifth-ranked middleweight entering the fight, Strickland gave Adesanya a glimpse of what to expect a few minutes into the first round with a left-right combination, which split “The Last Stylebender’s” guard and dropped him with a thud.
Adesanya appeared never to have recovered from his narrow escape in the first round as Strickland kept his forward-fighting pressure and consistently produced poised boxing to keep the Nigerian-born fighter on his heels around the Octagon.
That constant movement unsettled Adesanya, who could never truly find his footing or groove, exerting all that energy moving around the cage.
He could not unleash the dynamic striking he is known for.
Through it all, Strickland was unwavering with his barrage of solid and upright behind the jab, catching Adesanya with enough stiff shots which eventually won comfortably, according to the judges.
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