Middleweight Gold at Stake in UFC 293 Main Event
This Saturday, MMA’s top promotion, the UFC, heads to the Southern Hemisphere for another pay-per-view spectacular. Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney is the site for UFC 293. Main card action begins at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on ESPN+ pay-per-view inside the United States.
For international audiences, UFC 293 is accessible through ufc.com/ppv. Preorder today to ensure that you don’t miss a single punch on Saturday night.
Absent of any postponed or cancelled fights between now and Saturday night, UFC 293 features a 12-fight itinerary. As is customary with most UFC flagship events, a championship fight serves as the focus of the headlining bout of the evening.
Middleweight Championship Up for Grabs in UFC 293 Main Event
The UFC 293 main event is no exception. At the top of Saturday’s lineup is the battle for the UFC Middleweight Championship.
Incumbent titleholder Israel Adesanya (24-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC) puts his belt at risk for the first time since regaining the championship when he battles challenger and No. 5 contender Sean Strickland (27-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC). As with all championship bouts, the UFC 293 main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close out the show.
Three days until throw down for the title 🏆@Stylebender vs @SStricklandMMA this Saturday at #UFC293!
[ Live on ESPN+ PPV: https://t.co/X3HkEdBRxJ ] pic.twitter.com/jaIZ9zaZm8
— UFC (@ufc) September 6, 2023
UFC 293 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the UFC 293 main event this Saturday night, champion Israel Adesanya stands as the taller man at 6-foot-4, compared to the 6-foot-1 frame of challenger Sean Strickland. In addition, “The Last Stylebender” owns a four-inch reach (80 inches to 76 inches) and a three-inch leg reach (44 1/2 inches to 41 1/2 inches) over his adversary.
As of Thursday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Israel Adesanya installed as a -700 favorite on the money line, with Sean Strickland countering as a +460 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.
Adesanya Begins Second Defense of Championship with UFC 293 Main Event
Israel Adesanya enters the UFC 293 main event having posted a record of 4-1 in his last five fights. Most recently, he took the championship back from Alex Pereira (8-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) with a second-round knockout due to a counter right punch during UFC 287‘s main event in April, a rematch of their fight last November in UFC 281.
Despite the hype surrounding a championship fight, the titlist found time this week for momentary sips of tranquility, something he revealed in a recent interview with UFC.com.
“When I got to the park, straight away, I was like ‘I’ve got to take my feet and take my shoes off, just to like, ground myself and just feel the circadian rhythm and the charges of whatnot,” Adesanya began. “I jumped in the water, and just, yeah, paid my respects to the O.G.s, to the land, to the people, to the spirits. People don’t really believe in all that stuff, but I do. I feel like it’s important to wipe your feet before you come to someone’s house.”
Now that he’s found himself at peace in his home country, can Adesanya channel that energy gained into a successful title defense in front of his fans? Tune into the UFC 293 main event to find out if he can win this important “home game.”
Strickland Teasing Ground Game?
In the other corner, Sean Strickland has gone 3-2 in his last five fights At present, “Tarzan” is on a two-fight winning streak.
Back on July 1, he defeated Abus Magomedov (25-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) during the UFC on ESPN 48 main event from the UFC Apex by way of second-round knockout (punches). Recently, the challenger appeared as a guest of Shakiel Mahjouri. Among the topics discussed was the possibility of Strickland taking Adesanya to the ground on Saturday night.
As is to be expected from a contender in a championship fight, he kept his cards close to his vest.
“I don’t know what I’m going to (expletive deleted) do,” Strickland responded. “I’m just going to roll and see what happens. I train to wrestle, but does that happen? I don’t know. I can’t tell the future.”
These are very smart comments made by Sean Strickland. Any experienced fighter, particularly and especially one aiming for a championship, should know not to give away crucial tidbits of his gameplan during fight week so as to not tip off his opponent.
Will he stick to his gameplan or will Adesanya’s tactics force him to abandon his original plan of attack? Only time will tell.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC 293 main event looks to favor Sean Strickland, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Israel Adesanya, the former GLORY Kickboxing Middleweight Champion with a purple belt in BJJ.
Watch Out For Adesanya’s Right Hands
Throughout his combat sports career, Israel Adesanya has been known to be brutal when throwing the knockout punch. His recent fight vs. Pereira was a textbook example of that.
During the second round of a scheduled five, “The Last Stylebender” stalked “Poatan” and threw some feint leg kicks to keep him honest. The former champion landed some body shots to try and wobble Adesanya, with the two men exchanging punches as the round progressed.
Adesanya moved in closely on Pereira to smell blood in the water, scoring with a left-handed punch. Later on in the round, upon absorbing some shots from Pereira, Adesanya unloaded with a right-handed counterpunch to drop him.
If Adesanya finds himself in danger on Saturday night in the UFC 293 main event, look for him to counterpunch. With a successful counterattack, he’ll hear “…And new” after the fight.
Strickland Can Write a Quick End to the Story
In the other corner, Sean Strickland can get the job done in a hurry, like he did against Brendan Allen in 2020. Round two of the fight began with Allen driving Strickland to the cage fence, with the contest quickly becoming a boxing match.
Strickland scored with combinations and a jab to stun Allen. At that point, he went in for the kill, landing a barrage of punches against the cage fence, leading Herb Dean to call off the bout for a standing TKO.
If Strickland goes to the jab with regularity on Saturday night, he’ll be flying back to America as the new middleweight championship.
Although there’s a gap between Adesanya and Strickland in the rankings ahead of the UFC 293 main event on Saturday, this appears to be a highly-interesting bout on paper. At the core, this one is going to be predicated on whichever fighter gets out to a fast start.
If one of these contestants grabs the momentum early, his opponent will have a difficult time catching up.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by Unanimous Decision.