Israel Adesanya last competed in Australia in 2019, unifying the UFC middleweight titles with a victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. Now, almost four years later, he returns to defend his belt at UFC 293 this weekend vs. Sean Strickland.
UFC 293: Israel Adesanya Back Among The Australian Faithful
For the first time in nearly four years, Israel Adesanya is set to compete in Australia.
Adesanya headlines UFC 293 this weekend, defending his middleweight championship against Sean Strickland. The card takes place Sunday from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Back in 2019, Adesanya moved to 18-0 with a second round knockout of Robert Whittaker from Melbourne, Australia. On that night, he unified the middleweight titles after claiming the interim belt earlier that year vs. Kelvin Gastelum.
It has been quite the ride for “The Last Stylebender” since, losing the belt and his first career bout before reclaiming the prize.
Israel Adesanya Has Looked The Part At Middleweight
After defending his title twice over Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa, Adesanya stepped up, challenging-then light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz for the title in 2021. He was downed, suffering his first loss in 21 bouts, by decision.
But Adesanya regrouped and returned with vengeance.
He defended his titles against vs. Marvin Vettori, Whittaker and Jared Cannonier, sweeping all three fights. But in 2021, he was stopped by rival Alex Pereira in the fifth round from Madison Square Garden at UFC 281.
How did he take that loss? By regrouping and returning once more.
Back in April, Adesanya became a two-time middleweight champion, knocking out Pereira in the second round to secure the title around his waist again.
Australia has been good to Adesanya, as he downed Anderson Silva in 2019 in the country and competed there several times before signing with the UFC.
Different Challenge In Sean Strickland
This was not the scheduled opponent for Adesanya, as Strickland took the place of Dricus du Plessis on the heels of back-to-back wins. He stopped Abusupiyan Magomedov in July and downed Nassourdine Imavov in January by decision.
Strickland suffered a split decision loss to Cannonier last year and was also finished by Pereira after stringing together a six-fight win streak that included a pair of finishes.
UFC 293 Embedded Featuring Israel Adesanya