Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

FILE – Israel Adesanya reacts after knocking out Alex Pereira of their middleweight title match throughout the UFC 287 occasion on the Kaseya Heart on April 8, 2023, in downtown Miami. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald through AP, File)

SYDNEY — Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya can have some Southern Hemisphere help when he takes on American title challenger Sean Strickland in the primary occasion of UFC 293 on Sunday.

The combat at Sydney Olympic Park’s Qudos Financial institution Enviornment — throughout the Tasman Sea from Adesanya’s base in New Zealand — will give the middleweight champion a chance so as to add a submission, or faucet out, to his combat outcomes repertoire.

A submission sees an opponent verbally concede the match resulting from ache or to keep away from additional harm. Adesanya’s 26 skilled blended martial arts fights embody 16 wins by knockout and eight through determination (together with two losses), however none by submission.

“What do I need in my profession? Submission, I undoubtedly need a submission,” Adesanya instructed media this week. “It could be this combat. I do know he’s going to wrestle. He’d be dumb to not. I do know he’s going to try to combine it up. He’s doing this complete factor, ‘Man dance, man dance.’”

It’s the primary time since 2017 {that a} UFC combat has been held in Australia’s largest metropolis, and the second UFC card in Australia this 12 months.

In February in Perth, Western Australia, Islam Makhachev defied a sustained problem from Alexander Volkanovski to keep up his supremacy within the light-weight division.

Within the lead-up to the title bout — which is timed to coincide with Saturday evening within the profitable pay-per-view TV market in North America — the 32-year-old Strickland, with a report of 27-5, has claimed he’s completely happy to face and field with Adesanya, though he believes his greatest likelihood is by wrestling with the champ.

on this UFC handout, Sean Strickland poses on the size throughout the UFC Struggle Night time weigh-in at UFC APEX on December 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/AFP

Adesanya and Strickland don’t like one another a lot — each have traded barbs previously. At UFC 276 in Paradise, Nevada in 2022, they had been solely a brief distance away from one another, yelling, which began what has change into a wholesome rivalry.

Ought to Adesanya win on Sunday, there are just a few query marks as to who he’ll combat subsequent.

The 34-year-old Adesanya was set to tackle Dricus du Plessis after he beat Robert Whittaker in a No. 1 contender match, however the South African turned down the UFC 293 combat, citing extra restoration time wanted and permitting Strickland to earn the call-up.

Adesanya criticized du Plessis for not taking the possibility to combat for the title — “he (du Plessis) doesn’t name the pictures, I do.”


Exterior of the hexagon, the UFC combat made information within the New South Wales state legislature, the place the main authorities lawmaker was pressured to defend his state’s fee of about $10 million to assist make sure the UFC occasion got here to Sydney.

Strickland made sexist and misogynistic feedback throughout a media convention this week, echoing feedback he’s made beforehand.

Premier Chris Minns described the feedback as “completely appalling.” However he mentioned your complete sport couldn’t be tarnished by “obnoxious” feedback from one fighter.

“There’s tens of millions of those that love the game, that observe it and don’t maintain these views in any respect,” Minns mentioned Thursday.


The heavyweight bout between 30-year-old Sydney-born Tai Tuivasa and Russian Alexander Volkov, 34, can also be on the primary card and can precede the title combat. Tuivasa is 15-5 after having misplaced his final two fights and Volkov is 36-10.

Additionally on the primary card: Manel Kape vs. Felipe dos Santos; Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane; Tyson Pedro vs. Anton Turkalj.

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