Newly-crowned middleweight champion Sean Strickland shocked the world by dethroning former 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya in the UFC 293 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last weekend in Sydney, an upset that is being ranked among the most epic of all time.
But not everyone was caught off guard.
That’s because coaches and sparring parters who’ve previously trained with Strickland, like UFC middleweight Caio Borralho, saw a clear path to victory for “Tarzan.” In fact, the Brazilian posted his official prediction on YouTube just a few days before the fight.
“If you see the beginning of Strickland’s fight against [Alex Pereira], Strickland walking forward, marching, and he actually starts to land some jabs,” Borralho said. “This walking forward that he does makes it so difficult to fight against him. I know that because I trained with him and it was hard. He doesn’t stop coming forward.”
“He’s got an awkward way to dodge the strikes,” Borralho continued. “And this, for a guy who likes to be more precise like Izzy, he won’t find Strickland with precision. This can mess with Adesanya’s head during the fight. So I’m going with Strickland in this fight. I think he is going to put a lot of pressure walking forward. Adesanya will try to hit him with some single punches but with no success. I think Strickland will pressure, pressure, pressure and maybe get a TKO in the third or fourth round, or maybe even win by points.”
Strickland dropped Adesanya in the opening frame and nearly finished him, but “The Last Stylebender” was able to recover and finish the fight. In the end, “Tarzan” won comfortably on the judges’ scorecards and sent Adesanya to his second loss within the last 10 months.
As for Borralho, he returns against Nursulton Ruziboev at UFC Sao Paulo in November.