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Israel Adesanya rates Sean Strickland’s threat level: ‘Skills-wise, I’ll give him a three’

Adesanya has been downplaying Strickland’s skills endlessly coming into their UFC 293 fight on September 9th. Will it backfire on him?

Israel Adesanya has been destroying Sean Strickland in interviews leading up to their UFC 293 fight in Sydney, Australia.

Adesanya called out Strickland for a title fight after Dricus Du Plessis was unwilling to face the New Zealand fighter on short notice. According to Izzy, it took a lot of convincing for the UFC to go along with the September 9th middleweight title fight, and that’s because they didn’t want Strickland embarrassing them with his controversial opinions and ‘clown persona.’

Strickland is ranked No. 5 at 185 pounds, and is the next best challenger after Du Plessis that Adesanya hasn’t beaten yet. That hasn’t stopped “The Last Stylebender” from burying the American contender and downplaying his skills. In a recent interview with CombatTV, Adesanya was asked what kind of threat Strickland represented.

“Threat meter, Strickland? To be honest, skills wise, I’ll give him a three,” Adesanya said. “But a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain is a dangerous man. So that’s why I take him seriously and that’s why I’ve put the work in this camp. I’ve been grinding. Even right now I’m a little bit tired. But I say skill-wise, not even close ... I’m going to show him that I’m the dangerous man.”

Adesanya is a -600 favorite to win at UFC 293 and growing, while Strickland is a +450 dog. While those are pretty wide odds, they pale in comparison to another infamous UFC Australia main event between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. Rousey was -1500 to win over +1200 Holm, and we saw how that turned out: Holly flattened Ronda with a headkick in R2, ending “Rowdy’s” reign of terror in mixed martial arts.

In hindsight, Rousey’s stand-up skills left something to be desired, and it’s unsurprising that a former pro boxing champion like Holm ended up being the one to expose that weakness. If Adesanya has a weakness, it’s on the ground ... and Sean Strickland has been implying he won’t take the fight down.

“Sometimes you get up there and you look at another man and I think to myself, ‘I want to f—ing stand and bang with this guy,’” Strickland said. “So I probably should wrestle ... but that’s probably not going to happen.”

That didn’t work out so great when he fought Alex Pereira, but at least it proved that Strickland isn’t all talk when it comes to stuff like this. For better or worse.

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 293: “Adesanya vs. Strickalnd” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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