UFC 185-pound world champion, Israel Adesanya, is expected to return to the Octagon in September at UFC 293 with middleweight rankings stalwart, Sean Strickland, as his opponent, reports sportsnaut.com.
Strickland was not Adesanya’s first choice opponent, as the ‘The Last Stylebender’ was originally expected to fight South African star, Dricus Du Plessis. But the rising star was unable to make the date after recently competing in July at UFC 290.
According to the report, Adesanyaagainst Strickland will be the main event of UFC 293 inside the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.The champ and ‘Tarzan’ have been circling each other for some time since both have been elite fighters in the division for the last few years. However, with Du Plessis unable to compete at UFC 293, Strickland was able to take advantage of the opening and give the champ a fresh opponent in Sept.
Both men are talented strikers who go about winning fights in very different ways. Strickland is a pressure and output fighter, while Adesanya is a counter-punching sniper with speed and solid power. On paper, it is a favourable matchup for the champion and it could open the door to a highlight reel finish.
Strickland will need to bring some new tricks to the table if he hopes to keep Adesanya off balance. His style is one that plays well to his opponent’s, so mixing up take-down attempts and unexpected strikes will be necessary to have a chance in this bout.
Adesanya has never lost at middleweight and during his three-plus-year run in the UFC, he’s beaten elite fighters like Derek Brunson, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori (twice), Whittaker (twice), and Yoel Romero.
In a clash of generations, Adesanya fought his idol, and the man considered the greatest MMA middleweight of all time, Anderson Silva, in 2018. Although the then-43-year-old Silva showed the heart of a lion, his younger counterpart was the better man and won by unanimous decision.