UFC 293 blew the roof off Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, this past weekend (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023), leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Tai Tuivasa, who was choked out by Alexander Volkov (see it again here).
And Anton Turkalj, who suffered his third straight loss inside the Octagon after getting stopped by Tyson Pedro via knockout (video here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into the fight, “The Last Stylebender” was a huge betting favorite over Strickland, who took the fight after Dricus Du Plessis “fumbled the bag.” Furthermore, Adesanya was riding high because he was just five months removed from his knockout win over long-time rival, Alex Pereira, his first victory over “Poatan” in four combat matches.
But, what fight fans saw on Saturday was surprising and confusing. Simply put, Adesanya failed to pop off any offense whatsoever. To make matters worse, his defense wasn’t all that great, either. But, all the credit has to go to Strickland, who put it on his foe, walked him down and knocked him down in the first round.
And if he had another 15-20 seconds, he may have earned a finish.
Instead, Strickland out-classed the now-former champion in the striking department for five rounds, refusing to go the grappling route to beat the former kickboxer at his own game. And he did just that, tagging “Izzy” repeatedly while shutting down his entire gameplan en route to a surprising unanimous decision win.
Afterward, Adesanya made a brief appearance at UFC 293’s post-fight presser, but he did issue another statement the next day on social media, while showing off some fresh wounds.
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) September 10, 2023
I hate loosing, but I love living. What a life‼️ pic.twitter.com/PQ6R0YwZ56
“It’s not that bad,” Adesanya said. “Nothing broken — just a little touched up. We are gravy, baby. We are still thriving, It’s all good. I hate losing, but I love living. And I am still thriving.
“Going to hang out with the family, first, and I will address the people,” he concluded. “But right now, I got to put me first,” he said with a smile.
UFC president, Dana White, made it crystal clear that he wouldn’t mind seeing an instant rematch, but that would leave Du Plessis out in the cold. Adesanya’s team is confident it will make the proper adjustments to get the belt back, but there are those who don’t think “The Last Stylebender” deserves another immediate chance to get his belt back.
I would like to see Adesanya take some time before he makes his next move. Let’s not forget the fact that he has been one of the most active fighters in the game since making his UFC debut in Feb. 2018, fighting a whopping 16 times, which averages to about three times per year.
A long rest to regroup and rebuild might not be such a bad idea.
In the meantime, the Middleweight division will play itself out and allow Strickland to set his sights on a new challenge for his first title defense. Remember, Strickland is also a very active fighter, and I just don’t see him sitting on the title for six months or so. I also can’t envision the promotion trying to sell fight fans the immediate rematch so quickly since the first fight wasn’t close at all.
For complete UFC 293 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.