Israel Adesanya is an overwhelming favorite to successfully defend his middleweight title against Sean Strickland at UFC 293 tomorrow night in Australia, and even Strickland’s own coach Eric Nicksick seems sceptical of his chances of delivering an historic upset.
“I think it’s a f****** horrible matchup,” Nicksick told MMA Fighting. “Adesanya’s a horrible matchup for a lot of guys.”
“Here’s the thing with Sean — there’s a lot of areas I think Adesanya will look to exploit, and there’s things that I see that we need to get better at, but what I love so much about Sean [is] his durability and his toughness.
“His ability to get into those deeper rounds and really drag on guys and make the fight gritty and turn the fight into his style of fight, where it gets ugly. He’s in your face, and he makes you fight.”
“Israel, he can do everything, let’s not get it twisted,” Nicksick continued. “Israel can make that fight anyway he wants to, but Israel is so clean, and he’s so good at his movement and his feint game. I think if you get in a position where you get snake charmed by Israel, and you kind of watch him in front of you, you’re going to get picked apart. I think the matchup is very intriguing, let’s put it like that.
“Israel is obviously the ‘A’ side, and there’s a lot of things we have to get better at for that fight, but I think Sean’s capable of doing those things and making it a gritty kind of knockdown, drag-out fight.”