Sean Strickland Claims UFC Middleweight Title | UFC 293
Sean Strickland Defeated Israel Adesanya to Claim UFC Middleweight World Championship Title at UFC 293 in Sydney.
All hail the new champion! Monster Energy congratulates Sean Strickland on defeating Israel Adesanya to become the UFC Middleweight World Champion at UFC 293 in Sydney on Saturday. In the night’s Main Event fight, the 32-year-old from Riverside, California, earned a unanimous decision victory in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Strickland also received the UFC’s $50,000 Performance of the Night Bonus.
Monster Energy’s Strickland (28-5) came to Australia on a two-fight win streak after defeating Abus Magomedov in July and Nassourdine Imavov in January 2023. Strickland took his shot at earning the Middleweight Championship title as the 5-1 betting odds underdog.
Strickland’s opponent, Israel Adesanya (24-3) from Nigeria, defended his title for the first time after regaining the Middleweight Championship belt from Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in April.
From the start, both fighters approached the title match with strategy and restraint, Strickland bringing the pressure while waiting for openings to land jabs and punches. A key scene of the fight unfolded at the end of Round 1 when Strickland swept Adesanya off his feet with a thunderous counter right hand, followed by a fury of punches, pummeling the defending champion against the side of the cage. Adesanya was narrowly saved by the bell, but the balance of the fight visibly shifted in Strickland’s favor.
The next rounds saw Strickland constantly walking down his opponent and using every opportunity to land offensive blows that stung. Adesanya never had a chance to use his kickboxing arsenal and found himself stunted by the American’s tight defense, backed by powerful jabs and precise counterstrikes.
The final round started with the defending champion swinging aggressively to make up for lost time, but Strickland continued to land sharp right hands and left jabs. Right before the bell, a clean right hand from Strickland marked the exclamation point on a textbook performance as the American claimed the victory via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) in a historic upset.
“Am I dreaming? Am I going to wake up? Somebody hit me. Oh my God, guys. Literally, never in a million years did I think I would be here,” said Strickland after claiming the UFC Middleweight World Championship at UFC 293 in Australia. The victory earned Strickland the UFC’s $50,000 Performance of the Night Bonus.
The newly minted 185-pound division champ had words of respect for his opponent: “You guys know, Izzy is a bad motherf---er, guys. He’s beaten the majority of my friends pretty easily. "I was doubting myself at times, but the fans in Australia, you motivated me. When I heard you yelling in the fourth round, it motivated me!”
What’s next for Strickland? In the post-fight interviews, UFC officials already floated a rematch against Adesanya as the American’s first title defense. Stay tuned as Strickland kicks off a new era in the UFC’s Middleweight Division!