“You know what I said? I said maybe, just maybe, crazy like a fox,” Atlas remarked on the post-show for Sunday’s pay-per-view extravaganza.
In a shocking turn of events, Sean Strickland defied the odds to conquer the UFC middleweight division with a unanimous decision victory over the two-time middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. Strickland had entered the contest as a substantial +600 underdog, but what truly left fans awestruck was his apparent ease in wresting the belt from “The Last Stylebender,” who found himself consistently outstruck en route to 49-46 scorecards favoring the challenger.
While Strickland’s pre-fight antics outside the cage were loud and boisterous, inside it, he demonstrated a methodical and effective approach that few had anticipated.
“We all knew that obviously Izzy was the more dynamic talent here, a different kind of striker, almost one in a millennium,” Atlas began. “Almost makes you think about Anderson Silva, guys like that, with that pure ability to make his own music, as I was saying yesterday. But this guy kind of pulled the plug out of the music, really cut off the music, and he did it in a simple, conventional, and basic way.
“Basic can be good sometimes. He did it with a jab – he set the table with the jab and feasted with the right hand all night long. And in terms of defense, he didn’t neglect that aspect. That was his offense – simple, not complex, but incredibly efficient and effective.
“But his defense? Just stepping out of range, controlling the distance, maintaining composure in an otherwise chaotic environment, and making slight adjustments in his positioning – not too far out, just enough to make Adesanya miss, and then closing the gap, ready to respond with that jab and take control. The most remarkable thing about his performance tonight was his consistency. Sometimes, steady beats flashy, fast, and electric. No music tonight. It was quiet.”
This loss marked Adesanya’s second defeat as a middleweight, leading to his relinquishing the UFC title for the second time in just a year. Strickland made a significant statement by cleanly dropping the champion in the first round, coming tantalizingly close to finishing the fight. Adesanya managed to recover but never quite managed to regain his footing in the match.
UFC President Dana White immediately called for a rematch between these middleweight warriors and expressed his bewilderment at Adesanya’s performance. For Atlas, the explanation was rather straightforward – a lack of fundamental skills.
“In the world of boxing and in my realm, we’d be saying [Adesanya] needed to place the left hand behind the right,” Atlas emphasized. “Because you can block many punches, but if you string enough of them together while your opponent is defensively occupied, you can break through. He didn’t manage to connect that extra punch, and, of course, I’m not undermining Strickland’s performance, but that made a difference. There’s also something to be said about Strickland – he doesn’t beat himself. That’s worth acknowledging. He’s evolved. I even mentioned it in my podcast and on Twitter during the week; he’s transformed. He’s shed the caveman persona. Now, he’s wielding a flashlight instead of a club.”
With this relatively simple tool, Strickland engineered one of the most significant title upsets in middleweight history, as the post-show broadcast aptly noted.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Strickland’s UFC 293 Win Analysis
What was the significance of Sean Strickland’s win at UFC 293 over Israel Adesanya?
Teddy Atlas provides insight into Strickland’s victory, highlighting the importance of fundamentals and simplicity in defeating a dynamic talent like Adesanya.
How did Sean Strickland approach the fight against Israel Adesanya?
Strickland employed a methodical and effective strategy, relying on a jab and right hand, with a strong focus on maintaining solid defense and controlling the range.
How did Israel Adesanya lose the UFC middleweight title?
Adesanya suffered his second middleweight loss by not effectively countering Strickland’s straightforward approach and by not capitalizing on defensive gaps.
Did Dana White call for a rematch between Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya?
Yes, UFC President Dana White called for an immediate rematch between the two middleweights following Strickland’s stunning victory.
What changes did Teddy Atlas notice in Sean Strickland’s fighting style?
Atlas observed that Strickland had evolved from his previous aggressive style into a more controlled and effective fighter, making use of fundamental techniques.
How did Sean Strickland pull off one of the biggest title upsets in middleweight history?
Strickland’s victory was attributed to his adherence to basic principles, solid defense, and consistency, which allowed him to overcome the odds and defeat Adesanya.