Nigerian-born New Zealand-based UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has vowed to destroy his opponent, Sean Strickland’s jaw at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, on September 9.
The 34-year-old Adesanya won the middleweight title back from Alex Pereira, who defeated him via a fifth-round TKO last November.
Adesanya got his revenge in April with a second-round knockout win to move to 24-2 (16 knockouts) in his professional career.
The Odogbolu-born Adesanya said he would deploy all tactics to break the 32-year-old Strickland’s jaw in the battle of Sydney.
Strickland is 27-5 lifetime with 11 knockouts and four submission wins.
He is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Abusupiyan Magomedov on July 1.
Strickland is currently ranked as the number five fighter on UFC’s middleweight list, while Adesanya is number five on the pound-for-pound ranking.
UFC boss, Dana Whyte, announced that the co-main event would be a heavyweight bout between number six, Tai Tuivasa and number eight, Alexander Volkov.
Fifth-ranked flyweight, Kai Kara-France will go up against number 10, Manel Kape.
In addition, heavyweights, Austin Lane and Justin Tafa, will go at it again after previously squaring off on a June 24 UFC Fight Night card. That match ended after 29 seconds when Lane accidentally poked Tafa in the eye.
On paper, this looks like a loaded card in Sydney, where the promotion hasn’t been since November 19, 2017 for the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura card.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians, who have fallen in love with Adesanya’s style of fighting, are anxiously waiting for the September 9 bout.
Those who spoke with The Guardian have tipped the Last Stylebender, as Adesanya is called, to carry the day.
“I see Adesanya beating Strickland silly on September 9,” Funso told The Guardian on phone from Sagamu, yesterday.
Another fan, Idris, said he sees Adesanya beating Strickland, but cautioned the Nigerian to prepare himself mentally and physically for the fight.
On his part, elder Sidick said: “Israel Adesanya usually gives me joy anytime he is inside the ring. I pray he beats Strickland in Sydney.”