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UFC 293 Takeaways: Strickland Wins a Shocker

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Credit: UFC Europe

UFC 293 appeared to be a highly predictable event, with Israel Adesanya, widely regarded as one of the greatest middleweights in history, facing off against Sean Strickland. Strickland, known more for his controversial opinions than his elite fighting skills despite a solid UFC career, surprised everyone by going head-to-head with Adesanya for five rounds and securing a unanimous decision victory.

For Strickland, this win came as a complete shock. Even he couldn’t believe he had emerged victorious. One might assume that Strickland relied on luck or grappling to defeat Adesanya, who is considered the superior striker. However, that wasn’t the case. Strickland dominated Adesanya with his striking, even knocking him down. Throughout the fight, Strickland appeared to be the more seasoned and experienced fighter, handling Adesanya with confidence.

Strickland’s unexpected victory adds to a trend of surprising outcomes in the past year in the UFC. It all began at UFC 278 when Leon Edwards, a massive underdog, knocked out the highly decorated welterweight champion Kamaru Usman with his now-famous “headshot” kick. In their rematch, Edwards proved his win was no fluke by dominating the fight, despite pundits favoring Usman. At UFC 285, Valentina Shevchenko lost her belt to Alexa Grasso, shocking the MMA world. Shevchenko, previously seen as unbeatable, tapped out to Grasso, who had boldly claimed Shevchenko had weaknesses in her game. Alex Pereira, with minimal experience, achieved a TKO victory over Israel Adesanya, only to be knocked out in their subsequent rematch. Most recently, Sean O’Malley knocked out Aljamain Sterling, who had dominated the bantamweight division and was considered one of the greatest bantamweight fighters in the UFC.

Therefore, Strickland’s victory should come as no surprise, as the past year has demonstrated that in the UFC, no one is immune to unexpected outcomes. As the sport continues to evolve, predicting fight results becomes increasingly challenging. Nonetheless, this unpredictability is part of the sport’s allure. While on paper Strickland appeared to be a significant underdog against Adesanya, in reality, he dominated the entire fight. Fortunately, the outcomes of fights are not determined on paper and are instead decided in the octagon where anything can happen. Strickland made the impossible happen and he is now the middleweight champion of the world.

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