UFC 293 was one of the most anticipated events of the year, as it featured a middleweight title clash between two of the best in the sport: Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland. The fight took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, on September 10th, 2023, and it delivered beyond doubt some shocking scenes that shook up the entire division.
Adesanya entered the fight as the two-time reigning middleweight champion, having defended his belt against Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori in dominant fashion. He was widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and rightly so as he boasted of an unbeaten record of 22-0 in MMA and 11-0 in the UFC. Adesanya is well known by all UFC fans for his flashy and precise striking, his high fight IQ, and his charismatic personality.
Strickland on the other hand, was a relatively unknown contender who has quietly climbed up the rankings with a six-fight winning streak. He has a record of 26-3 in MMA and 13-3 in the UFC, with 12 of his wins coming by knockout. He is a gritty and aggressive fighter who relies on his fine boxing skills, his pressure, and his insane endurance.
The fight was expected to be a striking showcase, with reigning champion Adesanya having the edge in speed, technique, and creativity, whilst Strickland had the advantage in power, volume, and toughness. However, what unfolded in the Octagon was a one-sided beatdown by Strickland, who stunned Adesanya with his relentless pace, his crisp combinations, and his tight defence.
It was a tough day at the office for former champion Adesanya, as Strickland outstruck him in every round. The scenes were astounding as Strickland landed more than twice as many significant strikes (184 to 89). He also scored two takedowns and controlled Adesanya on the ground for over six minutes. The badass American never let Adesanya get comfortable or find his rhythm, constantly walking him down and cutting off his angles. He also absorbed Adesanya’s best shots without flinching, while rocking him several times with his own punches.
After five interminable rounds of action, Strickland was declared the winner by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46), becoming the new UFC middleweight champion and handing Adesanya his first loss in MMA. It was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as Strickland was a +400 underdog according to most betting sites.
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The co-main event of UFC 293 featured a heavyweight bout between Alexander Volkov and Tai Tuivasa, two fighters who were looking to make a statement in the division. Volkov, a former Bellator champion who had won six of his eight fights in UFC, was out to prove a point. Standing at 6’7” and having amassed an impressive 22 knockout wins Volkov was bent on getting back to winning ways thanks to his reach (80 inches) and his technical striking.
Tuivisa was a former rugby player who had transitioned to MMA and made a name for himself with his knockout power and his entertaining personality. He had a record of 14-3 in MMA and 7-3 in the UFC, with all his wins equally coming by knockout. He is known for his heavy hands, sharp kicks, and epic post-fight celebration of drinking beer from a shoe (a.k.a “shoey”).
The fight was expected to be a standup war, with Volkov having the edge in range and accuracy, and Tuivasa having the advantage in power and speed. However, Volkov made a show with a dazzling display of grappling as he took Tuivasa down in the second round and submitted him with a perfectly executed “Ezekiel Choke”. It was Volkov’s first submission win in the UFC and only his third in his career. The towering Russian showed that he had improved his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills, as he easily took down local boy Tuivasa with a grapple that forced the latter to tap out at 4:37.
UFC is one of the most popular sports for betting, as it offers exciting action and unpredictable outcomes. You can bet on different aspects of a fight, such as who will win, how they will win, what round they will win, and more. You can also bet on the entire event, such as how many fights will end by knockout, submission, or decision.