Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has been penciled in for the UFC 293 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner, expected to go down on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.
That’s working under the assumption that Dricus Du Plessis will be medically cleared to compete in the wake of his technical knockout victory over Robert Whittaker on the UFC 290 main card last weekend in Las Vegas.
The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag opened Adesanya as the -330 (10/30) betting favorite against +270 (27/10) for the underdog Du Plessis. Expect those numbers to fluctuate — in both directions — as we get closer to fight night.
Expect more ugly trash talk, as well.
“Adesanya lost his mind [at UFC 290] in front of you and it was real and it didn’t have anything to do with money and it did not have anything to do with fame,” former UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. ”He lost his mind tonight on a poor up-and-comer, who does not have a beautiful contract, who is not world-known, who is not a face that is going to go down as an icon of his industry. The big man picked on the little man and he couldn’t control himself. It was real. And it was real because Izzy hasn’t let that other stuff in. He hasn’t let those distractions in.”
“He’s that same hungry guy,” Sonnen continued. “For Izzy, it’s still about the competition. It’s a very interesting mindset that takes an extreme discipline. I have never seen anybody come through this sport that has controlled their career more than Israel Adesanya. Nobody has called their shot and I do mean nobody. Du Plessis wasn’t ranked high enough to get the fight with Izzy, which is what tonight in the Whittaker fight was about. And now the ranking of Du Plessis who will come Tuesday morning be the No. 1 contender, is right in line with what Izzy says. And that’s the competitor, never looking for the easy way.”
Adesanya (24-2) is coming off a knockout victory over longtime rival Alex Pereira in the UFC 287 headliner last April. As for Du Plessis (20-2), he’s racked up eight straight wins, six under the UFC banner, with five of those six victories ending inside the distance.
Hopefully “Stillknocks” will be ready in time for UFC 293 “Down Under.”