Morning Report: Israel Adesanya was ready to ‘kill or be killed’ vs. Sean Strickland until coach said ‘let’s be tactical’

Israel Adesanya wanted to pull the trigger in his last fight.

The journey to UFC 293 in September felt eerily similar to the looming UFC 300 this coming April. Sure, there’s a bigger time gap between now and the “super show,” but the MMA world was waiting longer than expected, wondering, “What the hell are they going to do with UFC 293’s main event?”

It always had to be Adesanya with the event announced for Sydney, Australia with the then-middleweight champion’s return guaranteed … without an opponent, and before Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis fought at UFC 290 in July. Du Plessis won, was injured, and in came Sean Strickland almost seemingly out of the blue. “Tarzan” came up big in what was his first UFC title fight, though, and performed a defensive masterclass on Adesanya to win a unanimous decision and claim the 185-pound throne. In hindsight, “The Last Stylebender” wishes he upped his aggression at the behest of his longtime coach Eugene Bareman.

“I never lost hope,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “I went back to the corner, round three or round four, whatever it was, I was like, ‘Right, we go this round, we must go this round.’ Even like, when I asked Eugene in the fifth round, I said ‘Should I just go?’ and he’s like, ‘No, let’s be tactical.’ I wanted to kind of be like, ‘F*** it, let’s go.’ Like, if I die, I die, like, go out on your shield. Kill or be killed.

”He was like, ‘Let’s be tactical.’ It got to the point where I realized this fight’s getting away from me. It got to a point where I felt like, ‘Damn. It’s too far gone.’ Like when someone’s in a race in the 100 meters, he was too far ahead and I just couldn’t catch up. I was trying my best to try and finish him in the early rounds. Regardless, I never lost hope, that’s the thing.”

Despite Adesanya’s sense of urgency, he only won the second round on all three judges’ scorecards against Strickland. Aside from that, however, it was the Strickland show as the American won all other rounds.

Strickland’s first title defense as the champion is nearly upon us with his matchup against Di Plessis set to take place at UFC 297 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada next Saturday. Adesanya, on the other hand, remains patient about his return after he was dealt losses in two of his last three fights (24-3 overall), two of which came opposite his longtime rival Alex Pereira.

“I’m taking my time,” Adesanya said. “I have patience. Patience and the long run. Look at the Pereira fight. I never looked for — okay, after the second [kickboxing] fight in Brazil, he knocked me out. I was like, ‘Cool. That’s that.’ Then he chased me to UFC. It’s part of the story. Get to Madison Square Garden, beats me in almost the exact same fashion. I’m like, ‘Damn. The last round again.’ And I wanted the rematch because I knew in my heart I could beat him.

“So, when I got to that point in Miami [for UFC 287], I just knew this is it. I have to beat this guy. And again, that took seven years, I think, to get to that point. Patience.”

Drama. Ian Machado Garry responds to Sean Strickland, details UFC PI run-in

Boxing. Francis Ngannou on fighting Anthony Joshua: ‘I’ve heard that he doesn’t have a chin. I’m going to find out

History. Demetrious Johnson responds to rumors Joe Rogan helped facilitate trade from UFC to ONE Championship

Prediction. Eddie Hearn expects Anthony Joshua to pick Francis Ngannou apart ‘and knock him out

Immortal. Matt Brown teases potential return at UFC 300: ‘I’m there to fight and try to smash a f****** elbow through somebody’s forehead’

Odds. Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira open as surprising underdogs in new UFC fights

The MMA Hour.

Top Finishes: Slams.

Free fight.

Aoki > Folayang.


The War Room: Ankalaev vs. Walker 2.

Reaction. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, Alexander K. Lee, and Jed Meshew discuss Dana White’s announcements of Dustin Poirier’s return, new UFC 300 clash.

Mr. Gibson.


He must be stopped.





This is all getting annoying.


Relationships are tough.


Just fight him then.

Super, indeed.

Toshiomi Kazama (10-4) vs. Charalampos Grigoriou (8-3); UFC Vegas 87, March 16

Christian Rodriguez (10-1) vs. Isaac Dulgarian (6-0); UFC Vegas 87, March 16

Dominick Reyes (12-4) vs. Carlos Ulberg (10-1); UFC Atlantic City, March 30

I don’t think it would have been the worst idea from Adesanya, especially at the end of the fight. Not sure it would have made a difference, but I’ll always advocate for going for broke when you’re clearly down on the cards.

Thanks for reading!


Who wins this weekend?

  • 0%

    Magomed Ankalaev and Matheus Nicolau

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Johnny Walker and Matheus Nicolau

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Magomed Ankalaev and Manel Kape

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Johnny Walker and Manel Kape

    (0 votes)

0 votes total

Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Source link

You May Also Like