Unheralded MMA star Sean Strickland has completed one of the biggest upsets in UFC history by defeating two-time Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya to claim the Middleweight championship at UFC293.
Coming into the fight in Sydney, Adesanya was a clear favourite to storm to a comfortable victory, but Strickland set a marker in the first round, hurting Adesanya late in the Round to show his mettle.
Adesanya recovered briefly from a shocking first round performance and delivered his best performance of the night in the second round. He failed, however, to take Strickland down successfully as the challenger proved a tough nut to crack.
Strickland regained control in the third round and kept Adesanya under his control, with the last Stylebender struggling to touch him. Strickland was the one pressing the action, making the champion work going backwards, never giving him a square target to hit.
For the remaining rounds, Adesanya couldn’t find the target and Strickland just kept touching him, connecting with force in spurts and pressuring the entire way through. With about 30 seconds left of the fifth round, it became evident that Strickland was the winner of the fight. He avoided a KO from Adesanya and won the fight.
Strickland won via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the fight 49-46 in his favour as he recorded one of the biggest Championship upsets in UFC history.