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Israel Adesanya labels Sean Strickland ‘rotten apple’ — ‘I would never spar with an idiot like that’

Don’t expect Israel Adesanya to train with Sean Strickland any time soon.

This weekend (Sat., July 2, 2022) at UFC 276 in Las Vegas, Nevada, both Adesanya and Strickland will be in action. Adesanya will headline the pay-per-view (PPV) card, seeking a fifth Middleweight title defense when he battles Jared Cannonier. Strickland, on the other hand, looks to solidify his spot as the next man in line for whoever comes out as the winner of that bout, facing Alex Pereira just a few fights prior.

Despite being under the same management group, it’s obvious why the two may not be friendly with each other considering their statuses at 185 pounds. However, there’s more to it than that for Adesanya who has seen some of the videos of Strickland’s rather rough training sessions.

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TWO TITLES UP FOR GRABS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sat., Nov. 11, 2023, with a re-worked pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the ESPN+-streamed main event, former 205-pound roost-ruler, Jiri Prochazka, will lock horns with ex-Middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira, for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title. In UFC 295’s co-main event, top-ranked Heavyweight contenders, Sergei Pavlovich (No. 2) and Tom Aspinall (No. 4), will collide for the interim strap after division champion, Jon Jones, was injured with a torn pectoral muscle and forced to withdraw (video).

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“Sean Strickland. He’s a bad motherf—ker,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Like, literally bad. Rotten apple. But, I like the guy, he’s funny and he likes to talk s—t as well. And his stand up, I’ve seen him do more damage on YouTube in sparring than in his fights. Put it that way. I’ve seen his sparring footages and I would never spar with an idiot like that. I’ve hurt people in sparring before and I’m just like, ‘Oh, s—t, my bad.’ Or I’ll pull back with the body shot or whatever but I’ve seen what he does ... and he’s talking s—t, I’m just like, yo. Whatever floats your boat, yes.

“It’s funny coming from us, but I don’t like to hurt people,” he continued. “Even though that’s our job. I like to make sure they’re able to come back the next day and do their work and also to give me work. Because you need your teammates. He’s got many screws loose, many screws loose.”

Making the two Middleweight scraps all the more interesting is the history Adesanya has with Strickland’s opponent. Two of Adesanya’s five total kickboxing losses came against the Brazilian with the most recent being Adesanya’s last kickboxing match in March 2017 where he suffered a brutal third round knockout.

Against Strickland, and most in the division, Pereira is expected to have a striking advantage. While Strickland doesn’t particularly lean on his grappling all too often, the champion believes it could be a key to victory in this match up.

“He might [try and take it to the ground],” Adesanya said of Strickland versus Pereira. “He’ll have to in this fight. He might do it early on just to get him tired. If I’m going to pick, I feel like it’s that first round he has to worry about. That’s the most dangerous round with Pereira. If I’m thinking of Sean, I’m thinking his ego might get the better of him. If I’m going to bet money I’m gonna bet Pereira, but it’s a pick ‘em fight.” will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 276 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

For the rest of the UFC 276 fight card and PPV lineup click here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 276: “Adesanya vs. Cannonier” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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