Sean Strickland stuns Israel Adesanya in UFC 293 boilover

America’s Sean Strickland shocked Israel Adesanya to win the middleweight title bout at UFC 293.

America’s Sean Strickland shocked Israel Adesanya to win the middleweight title bout at UFC 293. Photo: AAP

Australia has established itself as the upset kingdom of the UFC after Sean Strickland caused one of the biggest boilovers in the organisation’s history, winning the middleweight title with a unanimous points win over Israel Adesanya.

Fifth-ranked Strickland won 49-46, four rounds to one, on all three scorecards in the main event on UFC 293 in front of a capacity crowd of 18,168 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

The result was every bit as unexpected as Holly Holm’s upset win over Ronda Rousey in Melbourne almost eight years ago.

“If you think about Australia, the two biggest (UFC) upsets ever in the men’s and women’s division have happened in Australia,” UFC boss Dana White said.

“Israel looked like he was in slow motion. He looked like he couldn’t get off, he looked like he was really stiff tonight.”

Asked if Adesanya underestimated him, Strickland said: “Apparently so.”

Strickland floored Adesanya in the final 30 seconds of round one and followed up with some ground and pound.

Adesanya used movement and kicks to try to keep Strickland at bay, but the challenger showed admirable patience, backing up the champion and landing good punches in the last three rounds.

Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya was strangely passive and showed little urgency over the last couple of rounds, drawing boos from many in the crowd.

Adesanya fronted the media for just under 50 seconds before handing over to his trainer Eugene Bareman

“I had a different plan for this but again life throws curve balls at you,” Adesanya said.

“I lost tonight to the better man.”

Bareman said Strickland’s style caused difficulty for his charge and they couldn’t make the necessary adjustments.

“He (Adesanya) had an off night, he couldn’t see the same things we were seeing, we couldn’t make a connection in the corner. It was a frustrating night,” Bareman said.

Australia’s UFC No.6-ranked heavyweight Tai Tuivasa suffered a third successive defeat, with a second round Ezekiel choke submission loss to the much taller Russian, seventh-ranked Alexander Volkov.

Australians Tyson Pedro and Justin Tafa delighted the sellout local crowd with impressive first round stoppages .

After an accidental eye poke ended his first fight with former NFL player Austen Lane inside 30 seconds in June, Brisbane heavyweight Tafa took just 1:22 to demolish the American.

Pedro dismantled Sweden’s Anton Turkalj with some heavy right hands, with the fight stopped after 2:12.

Australians had mixed results In the preliminary bouts with NSW Central Coast lightweight Jamie Mullarkey scoring a unanimous decision victory over Canadian John Makdessi.

Melbourne’ featherweight Jack Jenkins submitted to American Chepe Mariscal after dislocating an elbow.


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