Few people thought Sean Strickland had much of a chance to defeat Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, last night (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023). They weren’t considering the extreme amount of bad juju “The Last Stylebender” had courted leading into the pay-per-view (PPV) main event, though.
Strickland ended up defeating Adesanya with a solid and consistent gameplan, keeping tight defensively while popping Adesanya with endless jabs and even knocking the Middleweight champ down in the first round (watch highlights). The judges scored the fight 49-46 on all three scorecards, and now “Tarzan” has become one of the most unlikely champions.
For his part, Adesanya just didn’t look like the confident fighter we’re used to seeing in the cage. He spent the entire bout on the backfoot and never managed to get his offense going effectively. Was he injured? Burned out from a busy schedule? Was it just not his night?
Israel Adesanya found out that the UFC cover curse is real pic.twitter.com/DiCajm4nfs— Troydan (@Troydan) September 10, 2023
Fans were left to make up their own reasons for the flop, and many have decided to hone in on a twin set of infamous curses that have wreaked havoc on the sport in the past.
First off, there’s the Drake curse. The Toronto hip-hop superstar is a big sports bettor. And while his record isn’t the worst, he’s been on the losing side of enough big money bets on major fights that it’s become “a thing.” For UFC 293, “Drizzy” wagered $500,000 on Adesanya to knockout Strickland in a bet that would have won him an extra $420,000.
Instead, he’ll walk away with zero dollars.
This is the second time Drake has lost a significant sum on “The Last Stylebender.” He also lost a $2 million wager when Alex Pereira knocked Adesanya at UFC 281. He made a decent amount of that back, though: he stuck with his boy for the rematch, winning $1.84 million off a $400,000 bet that Adesanya would knockout Pereira at UFC 287.
Nevertheless, the Drake curse struck again at UFC 293, and we’ll see if “Champagne Papi” tries to recoup his losses for the inevitable rematch.
Then there’s the EA UFC cover curse, which has a much more consistent track record of ruin in its wake. Almost every single fighter featured on the cover of past EA UFC games has suffered a fall in their next fight.
Jon Jones failed a drug test, Ronda Rousey got knocked out, and Jorge Masvidal got knocked out. Conor McGregor lost to Nate Diaz after being on EA UFC 2’s cover, and then to Khabib Nurmagomedov after being on EA UFC 3’s cover. The only fighter to avoid the curse was ... Adesanya, who beat Paulo Costa after his EA UFC 4 cover stint.
Two EA UFC covers was apparently just too much to overcome, though.
Adesanya is on the front of EA UFC 5’s Deluxe Edition, and what happens? He loses to Strickland in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. We’re not ones to be too superstitious, but there’s enough bad luck tied to the EA UFC cover curse to make you go, “hmmm ...”
For complete UFC 293 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.