The UFC’s return to Syndey, Australia is a big one for the middleweight division as the title will be on the line when two-time champion Israel Adesanya seeks his sixth career title defense against Sean Strickland. It was always a guarantee that one of Australasia’s biggest stars would be atop the billing, and if it couldn’t be “The Great” Volkanovski, he knew Adesanya could carry the torch as he has in years past.
Strickland wasn’t the original opponent in mind for Adesanya’s impending title defense. At UFC 290 when Volkanovski last successfully defended his featherweight strap against Yair Rodriguez in July, Dricus Du Plessis scored a massive upset TKO against Robert Whittaker. The win solidified the South African as the clear No. 1 contender but unfortunately, a nagging foot injury prevented him from making the relatively quick turnaround. Therefore, opening the door for Strickland to take a beating, believes Volkanovski.
“I’m not gonna take a heap away from Sean but stylistically and the level that ‘Izzy’ is at, there’s a reason why he’s such a favorite. Especially for this fight,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “Obviously, Sean Strickland supposedly has a wrestling and grappling background. He’s got a bit of an ego though, let’s be real. He’s like, ‘Ah, who cares about that s***. I’m just gonna go stand and bang.’ Wasn’t very well for him with the whole [Alex] Pereira thing but there’s a good chance he does that anyway. But you might see him know that this isn’t a battle he wants to go down that sort of road with Israel Adesanya. He should learn that pretty early.
“‘Izzy’s’ gonna really pick him apart, smash his legs with a variety of dexterity he has with his legs. Mixing it up at the leg, whether it goes to the body or up high, I can see so much damage happening.”
Volkanosvki and Adesanya are no strangers to each other, working closely as longtime teammates out of City Kickboxing (CKB) under the tutelage of head coach Eugene Bareman. As mentioned by Volkanovski, Strickland is notoriously durable despite suffering a knockout loss to Pereira last year — only the second of his 32-fight career. However, the 145-pound king is expecting a stoppage via strikes in Adesanya’s future but not in a conventional fashion.
“One thing that I’ve been thinking of and picturing in my head … a broken arm,” Volkanovski said. “Breaking Sean Strickland’s arm from a kick. I don’t know why, I’m just seeing it happen while he’s trying to block. Brings his hand up last minute and just snapping it. I’m actually picturing that.
“I’m gonna go obviously TKO. I think it’s gonna be a TKO mid rounds. Anywhere two-three, I think you could do it in the first but I’m picking round two, round three TKO stoppage and I think he really does put it on him. Sean Strickland’s gonna say some things and I think ‘Izzy’s’ gonna get the payback that he wants and it’s gonna be that type of fight where he really gets to hurt this guy. Sean’s tough, he’s gonna keep trying to come forward and I can just see him getting absolutely battered.”
Opportunity. Dana White, Israel Adesanya noncommittal about Dricus Du Plessis being next after UFC 293
The MMA Hour.
Adesanya vs. Strickland preview.
Fights that changed the game.
Holloway’s undeniable arc.
No Bets Barred. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew and Conner Burks discuss if Sean Strickland will pull off a miracle against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293.
The MSG itch.
Anyone else jonesin’ for that MSG energy? (See what I did there ) Ready to be back in NYC and I’m thrilled to share that you could win four tickets for you and three of your friends to witness the epic clash between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title in the… pic.twitter.com/MUSTdbvW2W
— Laura Sanko (@laura_sanko) September 6, 2023
Less than zero.
Only those who watched my last fight will understand the reference!
Só quem assistiu a minha última luta vai entender a referência! pic.twitter.com/zJKcNvXsv9
— Natalia Silva (@nataliasilvaufc) September 6, 2023
Absolutely breaks my heart to inform everyone that my nephew Joshy has unfortunately passed away. This is extremely hard, as you all can imagine. I wanna’ thank everyone for their love, prayers and support for joshy over the past year… pic.twitter.com/qsDSSm5eT7
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) September 7, 2023
Those top two fight announcements sure were unexpected yesterday. What a time.
Thanks for reading!