Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will fight Sean Strickland in the main event of UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia on September 9th.
Adesanya had originally been lined up to fight Dricus du Plessis, who earned a title shot when he defeated former champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 a month ago. However, despite the two even having a face-off in the Octagon after that fight, du Plessis has apparently since withdrew from the match-up due to what Adesanya has claimed was “a sore foot.”
At that stage Adesanya called out Strickland, who is coming off back-to-back victories over Nassourdine Imavov and Abus Magomedov so far this year. Strickland was on-board with the idea if the price was right, and though at one stage he suggested the UFC might be looking elsewhere, he does now get the opportunity.
Some may suggest that Strickland hasn’t fully earned the shot given that he lost two fights in a row last year against Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier, but he had won six fights in a row prior to that.
It leaves Strickland currently ranked No.5 in the 185lb ranks, and with Adesanya having already beaten everybody else the rest of the top 7 fighters in the division other than du Plessis, it means that at least he’s facing a new challenge in September, even if he is likely to be installed as a big favorite.
Adesanya vs. Strickland fronts a UFC 293 card that currently also features the likes of Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov and Kai Kara-France vs. Manel Kape.