Everything you need to know about UFC 293: Adesanya Vs. Strickland

Publish Date
Friday, 8 September 2023, 8:27AM

ACC UFC contributor Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 293: Adesanya Vs. Strickland.

UFC 293 in Sydney was built specifically for the rapidly expanding mass of Aussie and Kiwi fight fans. While some overseas fans and punters have been complaining about the lack of star power past the main event, we Kiwis have plenty to be excited about. Nine Oceanic fighters will compete, and five of them fight out of or represent New Zealand specifically.

In the main event, Nigerian-born Kiwi champion Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya (24-2) (wins-losses) defends his middleweight belt against Sean "Tarzan" Strickland (27-5).

Israel Adesanya's last fight was a beautifully violent return to form as he dismantled Pereira on the feet, before he landed a brutal punch combination to knock his Brazilian rival unconscious, and, ultimately, running scared to light-heavyweight. Now back on top, the UFC has been scrambling to find Adesanya some worthy competition with a fighting chance. Streaking South African contender Dricus du Plessis was the answer. But an injury forced du Plessis to pull out, and Sean Strickland has stepped up on short notice to challenge the champ.

Sean Strickland's "Tarzan" nickname perfectly encapsulates his fighting style and personality. He's the middleweight division's wildman. Equal parts brash and dangerous, Strickland's cockiness comes from a place of genuine martial arts skill. Always marching forward, always throwing punches, always talking shit. Sean Strickland is certifiably cracked. And that's exactly what makes him dangerous.

So how will this one go?
Adesanya's striking is so far ahead of Strickland's that it's like Adesnaya's playing chess while Strickland's playing checkers. Strickland's best shot at beating the champ would be to secure an early takedown to eliminate the lethal danger Adesanya possesses on the feet. Unfortunately for him, Adesanya's takedown defence is much better than Strickland's takedown offence. Of course, there's always a puncher's chance for a brawler like Strickland to land something clean and finish the fight, but Adesanya has destroyed much better grapplers and much better strikers alike. I have Adesanya with an easy, spectacle knockout in the first round.

Across this Oceanic card, there are four other Kiwi fights:

Napier's Shane "Maraenui" Young faces Brazillian Gabriel "Fly" Miranda at featherweight; Zimbambwe-born, Auckland-trained Blood Diamond faces American Charles Radtke at welterweight; Auckland's Carlos "Black Jag" Ulberg faces South Korean Da Woon Jung at light-heavyweight; and Auckland's Justin "Bad Man" Tafa faces American Austen Lane at heavyweight.

This card's great for MMA fans, but it's unmissable if you're a Kiwi MMA fan. As far as I can count, the only two Kiwi fighters missing are Kai "Don't Blink" Kara-France and Dan "The Hangman" Hooker. In fact - despite UFC 293 coming from an rena in Sydney - there's actually more Kiwi representation than Australian.

UFC 293 is this Sunday, with the early prelims from 10am and the main card from 2pm. Enjoy!

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