Sean Strickland is set to take on Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 for the middleweight title. The fight will take place at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney this weekend. This will be Adesanya’s first title defense after winning the title back from Alex Pereira at UFC 287 in March 2023. Strickland, who is primarily known for his striking, will go in with the mindset of going toe-to-toe with arguably the best middleweight the UFC has ever produced.
Unsurprisingly, Strickland has been working on his grappling extensively ahead of his fight this weekend. This is to exploit Izzy’s so-called weakness, or rather the weakest part of his game, which is the ground game. Many fans are aware that Izzy wins most of his fights on his feet. He did the same to Pereira in March, as he knocked the former middleweight champion out cold in the second round of their fight.
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Many experts, including the coaches on Strickland’s camp, must have taken this into account, and as such demanded Strickland to take Izzy to the ground as much as possible. But in a press conference, Strickland, having confirmed that he’s been training grappling, mentioned the possibility of just going all out on boxing, in an attempt to KO his opponent.
“I’ve been wrestling my a*s off, but the problem is, once you get in there, your d*ck gets a little bit hard and next thing you know it turns into a boxing match,” said Strickland in response to a question about taking Adesanya to the ground.
Despite his verbal tirade, many believe Strickland will actually heed his coach’s advice and take Izzy down throughout the 5 rounds to tip the scales in his favor. This was further confirmed by recent photos of Strickland training wrestling against light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev. During their session, Strickland was able to take Ankalaev down on several occasions.
Israel Adesanya believes Sean Strickland’s unpredictability makes him dangerous
Israel Adesanya has been keen to take on Sean Strickland in an attempt to shut him up once and for all. This is due to Strickland’s incessant critique of the champion’s lifestyle, especially his love for anime. In the buildup to the fight, Strickland hasn’t held back his trash talking and has doubled down on it in typical fashion. Although this has provoked the champion, he is still wary of Strickland and even acknowledges his unpredictability as a threat.
“I think that makes him really dangerous, that’s what makes him dangerous. He doesn’t care. He knows I’m going to beat him, so he doesn’t care. He’s going to try and do his best to beat me by any means necessary.”
It looks like the champion is not underestimating Sean Strickland in the least bit and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. He also mentioned that he can wrestle as well if the fight demands it. Will Strickland be able to execute the game plan? Or will his ego get the better of him and he ends in a striking contest with the greatest striker in the middleweight division? I guess we’ll find out this weekend.