After an electric fight night in Paris, France, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stays on the road and goes “Down Under” to Sydney, Australia, for its eleventh pay-per-view (PPV) card of the year. In the UFC 293 main event, which will take place inside Qudos Bank Arena, Israel Adesanya defends his Middleweight championship against No. 5-ranked Sean Strickland. In the PPV co-main event, fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with Alexander Volkov.
Let's be honest: UFC 293 is a pretty weak PPV; however, there should be several finishes to get the Australian crowd excited. So, before it all goes down tomorrow evening (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023), let's check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...
Sean, Be Thankful
UFC 293 was supposed to be headlined by Israel Adesanya vs. Dricus Du Plessis; however, when the South African wasn't healthy enough to compete, UFC had to pivot as soon as possible with just eight weeks to find an opponent. With Australia in desperation for a big main event, Strickland was chosen (by Adesanya), and because of that, Strickland will get the biggest payday of his career.
Middleweight G.O.A.T. Status Check
Adesanya competes in his tenth undisputed UFC title fight this weekend and will headline his eleventh PPV show. Obviously, "The Stylebender" is right behind Anderson Silva as UFC’s greatest Middleweight of all time, but if he keeps winning, he will overtake him in a few fights (Silva has 11 title wins, Adesanya boasts eight).
Israel Adesanya competes in his 10th Undisputed title fight in the UFC at 293 this weekend.— Andy Hickey MMA (@AndyHickeyMMA) September 6, 2023
He joins a very select group of fighters that have reached this milestone. Incredible achievement from Stylebender. pic.twitter.com/jPQGO7Xck1
Adesanya competes in his twelfth UFC main event, while Strickland competes in his sixth.
Going Back ‘Down Under’
It has been six years (2017) since UFC held a card in Sydney, Australia. The last time the promotion was there was UFC Fight Night 121, in which Fabricio Werdum defeated Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision. The event was the second-longest UFC event of all time at 3:04:18 (it also marked Tuivasa’s Octagon debut).
Two Straight Wins vs. Two Straight Losses
Speaking of Tuivasa, he faces Alexander Volkov in UFC 293’s PPV co-main event, but it doesn't make much sense because "Bam Bam" is coming off two straight knockout losses, while "Drago" is coming off two knockout wins. Also, is this really a PPV-worthy co-main event?
It is safe to say Ian McCall transferred his horrible luck to Manel Kape when they fought in Rizin back in 2017. Since being signed to UFC in 2020, Kape has had seven fights canceled because of his opponents withdrawing from fights. And a few of those bouts were scrapped last-minute during fight week as well. This time around, "Starboy" was scheduled to face No. 5-ranked Flyweight, Kai Kara France; however, “KKF” suffered a concussion and pulled out. Kape now faces newcomer Felipe dos Santos.
Contender Series Straight To PPV!
While we're on dos Santos, he was supposed to compete on season seven of Dana White's Contender Series last week against Luciano Pereira; however, Pereira suffered a botched weight cut, which canceled the fight. dos Santos got a contract anyway when he agreed to step in for Kara-France and fight Kape at UFC 293. It is pretty wild to think he was going to fight on a random Tuesday night in Las Vegas and now is fighting on a major UFC international PPV in Australia.
Running It Back?
The past few months have seen a few unnecessary rematches such as Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann and Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield. Well, UFC 293 has another one: Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane. The pair of Heavyweights fought at UFC Jacksonville, but the fight lasted 29 seconds due to a nasty eye poke, and the fight was ruled a “No Contest.” They run it back this weekend, and while the first fight was on Lane's home turf, he travels to Tafa's this time.
Welcome To UFC!
Five fighters are making their UFC debuts:
- dos Santos (7-0) fights Kape and holds a 71 percent finish rate.
- Landon Quinones (7-1-1) faces Nasrat Haqparast. Quinones competed on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31, but lost to Jason Knight via first round submission.
- Charlie Radtke (7-3) takes on “Blood Diamond” and is a former CFFC Welterweight champion with a 71 percent finish rate.
- Kevin Jousset (8-2) fights fellow newcomer Kiefer Crosbie (10-3).
City Kickboxing Goes To War
Six fighters from City Kickboxing (CKB), which is located in Auckland, New Zealand, are competing at UFC 293. The fighters include: Adesanya, Tyson Pedro, "Blood Diamond," Carlos Ulberg, Shane Young and Jousset (Tuivasa and Tafa also got some work at CKB before UFC 293).
Banger Of The Week
Several options exist for this week's “Banger of the Week,” but the one that jumps off the card is Jack Jenkins vs. Chepe Mariscal (and Dana White agrees).
Jenkins is undefeated (2-0) in UFC thus far and has looked pretty darn good. He has disgusting leg kicks and holds a 67 percent finish rate. Mariscal, meanwhile, turned heads in his UFC debut when he went to war with Trevor Peek on one week's notice ... in a higher weight class.
These two Featherweights will go to war on the "Prelims." Enjoy it while it lasts.
Three fighters desperately need a win at UFC 293 and could see themselves cut from the organization with a loss:
- Anton Turkalj is currently winless (0-2) in UFC, and while he has an epic nickname, that won't save him. He faces Pedro to open up the PPV main card.
- "Blood Diamond" is also winless (0-2) inside the Octagon and has looked like a fish out of water thus far. He faces UFC newcomer Charlie Radtke.
- Shane Young had a UFC record of 2-4 and has lost three straight. He faces Gabriel Miranda, who is looking for his first UFC win.
Winners And Losers
Thirteen fighters are coming off wins, while only nine fighters are coming off losses. Two are coming off a “No Contest” (Tafa & Lane).
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- Two Heavyweight fights
- One Light Heavyweight fight
- One Middleweight fight
- Two Welterweight fights
- Two Lightweight fights
- Two Featherweight fights
- One Flyweight fight
MMAmania.com 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 scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, followed by 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. For the updated and finalized UFC 293 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.