This weekend’s UFC 276 features two title fights with training partners Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski defending their gold. In the main event Adesanya meets Jared Cannonier. The co-main is a trilogy fight between Volkanovski and Max Holloway.
The champions got together on Adesanya’s YouTube channel to preview the rest of the card. One of the most intriguing match-ups outside the main and co-main is the middleweight clash between Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira.
Pereira has two wins over Adesanya in GLORY kickboxing, including one KO. It is believed that an impressive win for Pereira could fast-track the Brazilian into title contention.
When talking about his rival, and potential future opponent, Adesanya had something interesting to say about Pereira’s opponent.
“Sean Strickland. He’s a bad motherfucker,” remarked Adesanya (ht Sportskeeda). “Like, literally bad. Rotten apple. But I like the guy, he’s funny and he likes to talk shit as well. And his stand-up, I’ve seen him do more damage on YouTube in sparring than in his fights. Put it that way. I’ve seen his sparring footages and I would never spar with an idiot like that. I’ve hurt people in sparring before and I’m just like, ‘Shit, my bad’. Or I’ll pull back with the body shot or whatever but I’ve seen what he does… He’s got many screws loose, many screws loose.”
During his surge up the middleweight rankings Strickland has become increasingly noticeable online. The 31-year-old is a constant source of inflammatory, and sometimes bigoted, statements, which seem designed to shock and raise his profile more than anything else.
Strickland has also gone viral with various clips from his training camps. In those clips Strickland can be seen sparring extremely hard, to the point he risks hurting and injuring his training partners.
In January footage emerged of Strickland headkick KOing a sparring partner, much to the dismay of other individuals in the gym.
Last year, footage of Strickland’s wild exchanges with PFL champ Emiliano Sordi made the rounds. That year there was also an incident with well-known BJJ player Orlando Sanchez.
With Sanchez, Strickland can be seen lashing out and throwing strikes during a grappling session. Strickland argues in the video that his response was to Sanchez being too rough.
Strickland heads into this weekend’s event trying to extend his six fight winning streak. His recent victories have come over Jack Hermansson, Uriah Hall and Krzysztof Jotko. That run has seen him jump up to fourth in the UFC’s middleweight rankings.
Ahead of him in the rankings are Cannonier and two men who have two losses to Adesanya (Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori).
Given the state of the field at 185 lbs, it’s entirely possible that a win over the highly touted Pereira sets Strickland up for a title fight, perhaps against the man who just called him an ‘idiot’.
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