Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland clash in the UFC middleweight title bout this September in Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. What we waited for the past year or more, will finally happen as Tarzan receives a chance to square off with the Last Stylebender. Adesanya regained his belt against Pereira, finally beating his nemesis, while Strickland had a rocky year behind him, but managed to recover. The two are also big stars outside the octagon, drawing attention everywhere, which additionally increases the hype before this event.
Israel Adesanya (24-2, -500) knocked out Pereira at the UFC 287, finally finding a way to end his negative streak against the Brazilian champ. Two blitzing hits, one short left, and one hard right hook demolished Poatan, and Izzy got back his title belt. And his revenge for the previous three defeats.
We don’t need to tell too much about this guy. He is Anderson Silva’s natural successor. Adesanya’s reflexes are the best in the division by far, his long and athletic frame allows him to have an advantage over other rivals, while his tactical discipline and his fighting IQ prevent him from making any mistakes.
He has defeated pretty much every notable name in the division. He was better than Robert Whittaker twice, Marvin Vettori twice, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, Jarred Canonier, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson, etc.
Sean Strickland (27-5, +350) was probably the first in line to challenge Adesany back in 2022, but Alex Pereira stepped into the picture. The Tarzan faced Poatan and suffered a terrible first-round KO, which sent the Brazilian into the title bout.
After that, we saw Strickland facing Jared Cannonier, against whom he lost via split decision, and back then, that was one pretty controversial result, because everyone believed he had done enough to earn the victory against the Killa Gorilla. Though, he bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Nassourdine Imamov and a TKO triumph against Abuspiyan Magomedov.
Strickland is an outstanding boxer, one who has a high output and very good cardio, which allows him to go forward and pressure his rival all the time. He isn’t good on the mat, but the takedown defense Tarzan presents is solid. Some of his wins in the past were against Nordine Taleb, Brendan Allen, Uriah Hall, and Jack Hermanson.
This is a favorable matchup for Izzy, because his rival can’t attack him on the ground like some of his previous opponents. Adesanya has a four-inch longer reach, which plays a major role in this case. He knows how to use it, and that was one of his main advantages in the past, the thing around he built pretty much all of his defensive strategies. Izzy doesn’t need to rush into anything because he collects points from a distance, while the rival can’t do anything and needs to be more and more aggressive as time goes by, exposing himself and giving the champ more opportunities for scoring points or even finishing the bout. It’s basically a spiral from which you don’t have an exit.
Pick: Adesanya wins
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.