Strickland shocks Israel Adesanya to become UFC middleweight champion
Israel Adesanya lost his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 293 middleweight title to Sean Strickland following a shock loss in Sydney, Australia in the early hours of Sunday.
When the encounter was over, all three judges scored the fight 49-46 with Strickland crowned the new UFC middleweight champion.
It is the third defeat of Adesanya’s 27-fight UFC career, while Strickland, the American fighter, improved to 28 wins in 33 fights.
The Stylebender failed to complete a sixth defence of the title he regained against Alex Perreira at UFC 287 in April.
In a fight the Nigerian-New Zealander was mostly on the defence, Strickland dropped Adesanya to the floor in the first round with his superior boxing skills and never looked back, despite the five-time defending champion firing some big shots in the rounds that followed.
Strickland, however, continued his sustained attack and landed jabs that unsettled Adesanya all night on the way to securing an upset that shook up the middleweight division.
“Am I 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 his post-fight interview.
“He’s beat the majority of my friends and even I was kind of doubting myself at times.
“I worked my ass off. I give up so many brain cells to the MMA gods every day. This is the first time I’m at a loss for words.”
Victory over Adesanya is the biggest win of Strickland’s career.
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