Sean Strickland upset Israel Adesanya to win the Middleweight championship at UFC 293 last night (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023), overwhelming “The Last Stylebender” for five rounds to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. Strickland also banked a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his mind-blowing upset win (watch highlights).
During UFC 293’s post-fight press conference, company president, Dana White, revealed that an immediate rematch would be interesting ... and could be next.
“I think you do the rematch, absolutely,” White told the media. “The rematch is interesting. That could be the thing, too. When you think about you’re going into the [Alex] Pereira fight, such a big fight, and you’ve been in there with this guy so many times, and then you overlook Strickland. You come in and I don’t know. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but Israel does, and I’m looking forward to hearing it.”
Unfortunately, no one got to hear “the answers” from Adesanya because he left the post-fight press conference and let his coach talk for him (read all about that here).
White did admit he thought Adesanya looked slow and off during UFC 293’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event.
“Israel looked like he was in slow motion,” White said. “He looked like he couldn’t get off. He looked like he was really stiff tonight. He looked very slow. Only Israel knows what’s going on.... There are one million things that could go wrong. Some days, you wake up, and you’re just not there.
“He looked bone-dry tonight, standing up really tall,” White continued. “He looked very slow. He looked like he couldn’t get off at all. Even in the fifth round, when everybody knew he needed a knockout to win the fight, there was no sense of urgency to try to finish the fight. So, I don’t know if he’s hurt or if tonight’s the night.”
UFC has a habit for booking immediate championship rematches after the defending champion loses — look no further than Noche UFC next weekend.
Adesanya has lost two of his last three fights and probably needs to reset. He has been a very active champion. Strickland, too, is frequently booked, garnering the nickname “Mr. Apex” for his frequent fights inside the promotion’s Las Vegas-based facility.
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For complete UFC 293 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.