In a stunning upset, Sean Strickland knocked out Israel Adesanya in the first round of their middleweight title fight at UFC 276 on Saturday night in a fight which went down in Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. After the fight, the favour went to Strickland with a 49-46 scorecard.
The fight was expected to be close, but Strickland came out firing and caught Adesanya with a perfect right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas. Strickland followed up with a few more punches before the referee stopped the fight at 2:36 of the round. Iniattoialy Adensaya was to face Dricus du Plessis, who could not recover from injury on time. However, underdog Strickland seems to have filled the shoes perfectly.
The win was a major upset for Strickland, a +600 underdog going into the fight. It also snapped Adesanya’s five-fight winning streak, putting him in the mix for a title shot at 185 pounds.
Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland FULL FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS. pic.twitter.com/0Vq7AEqDP4
— CLIPS (@yourclipss) September 10, 2023
Strickland was emotional after the fight, saying that he had been doubted his entire career and that this win was for everyone who doubted him and his dedication to his loyal fans.
“You guys know, Izzy is a bad motherf***er, He’s beaten the majority of my friends pretty easily. I was doubting myself at times but the fans in Australia, you motivated me. … In the fourth round, when I heard you yelling, it motivated me, guys.” stated Strickland.
Adesanya was gracious in defeat, saying that Strickland was the better fighter on the night.
“Strickland came out and put it on me,” Adesanya said. “He caught me with a good shot and I wasn’t able to recover.”
The loss was a setback for Adesanya, who was looking to cement his status as the top middleweight in the world. However, he remains one of the most popular fighters in the UFC and will surely be back in title contention soon.