In the electrifying world of UFC 293, where Sean Strickland pulled off a massive upset victory against the highly favored Israel Adesanya, it was a moment that left many stunned. However, for Elizeu Zaleski, the man who achieved the remarkable feat of knocking out Strickland in a previous MMA clash back at UFC 224 in 2018, this outcome wasn’t entirely unexpected.
Speaking on the latest episode of the MMA Hook’s Trocação Franca podcast, Zaleski dissected Adesanya’s strategy and explained why he believes it ultimately led to his downfall. In Zaleski’s eyes, Adesanya erred by employing a tactic that simply wouldn’t work against a fighter of Strickland’s caliber.
“I saw a very simple game,” Zaleski noted. “Adesanya knocks people out with counters, not by attacking. His attacks are meant to score points. He’s at his most dangerous when he’s retreating, as we saw in his fight against ‘Poatan’ [Alex Pereira]. And if you go forward against Strickland, that’s exactly what he wants, and that’s where he excels. Adesanya didn’t work with angles, he didn’t throw hooks. He essentially fought right where Strickland is at his best. There were many ways to win, and one thing he shouldn’t have done, he did – he fought where Strickland shines.”
Zaleski couldn’t resist adding a touch of humor to the conversation, quipping, “It’s always good to see your kids growing up and taking over the world,” alluding to Strickland’s rise in the UFC. He continued, “I cheer for the guys I fight because that ends up elevating me as well. I was rooting for him to win this fight, and it all worked well for him.”
The Brazilian fighter acknowledged that despite Strickland’s dominant victory in Sydney, some might still consider him the underdog in a potential rematch with Adesanya. However, Zaleski expressed his belief that Strickland would be a formidable opponent for many of the top middleweights in the UFC, including Robert Whittaker.
Yet, Zaleski also raised an intriguing point regarding the winner of the upcoming bout between Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 on Oct. 21. He suggested that this matchup could pose significant challenges for Strickland, stating that “the most dangerous opponent for Strickland is ‘Borrachinha,'” referring to the former title challenger Costa. Zaleski elaborated, “Strickland has great wrestling, good takedown defense, and effective attacks. ‘Borrachinha’s’ style, with its focus on angles and variations, presents a trickier puzzle. Chimaev, on the other hand, tends to rush forward and go for the legs. If you can neutralize that aspect, he doesn’t have much else in his arsenal.”
In conclusion, Elizeu Zaleski’s insights provide a fascinating perspective on Adesanya’s strategy and Strickland’s future prospects in the UFC’s middleweight division. As the MMA world continues to evolve, it will be intriguing to see how these fighters adapt and what challenges lie ahead in their paths to greatness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC Middleweight Analysis
Q: What did Elizeu Zaleski think about Israel Adesanya’s strategy against Sean Strickland?
A: Elizeu Zaleski believed that Israel Adesanya made a critical mistake by using a strategy that didn’t play to his strengths. He emphasized that Adesanya excels at countering and is most dangerous when retreating, but in the fight against Strickland, he didn’t work with angles and failed to capitalize on Strickland’s weaknesses.
Q: Why did Elizeu Zaleski support Sean Strickland in his fight against Israel Adesanya?
A: Zaleski humorously mentioned that he supports fighters he has faced because their success reflects positively on his own career. He was genuinely rooting for Strickland and was pleased with the outcome of the fight.
Q: Who does Elizeu Zaleski consider as a potential challenge for Sean Strickland in the middleweight division?
A: Zaleski pointed out that the winner of the Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev fight could pose a significant challenge for Sean Strickland in the middleweight division. He particularly highlighted Costa’s dangerous attacks involving angles and variations as a potential threat to Strickland.