UFC 293 main event gets surprise back up fighter 

Israel Adesanya is set to face Sean Strickland at UFC 293 tonight. But the promotion has a plan in case something goes sideways.

By: Tim Bissell | 3 weeks ago

UFC 293 is tonight

UFC 293 is happening tonight at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. The scheduled main event has Israel Adesanya defending his UFC middleweight title against Sean Strickland. Strickland is a replacement for Dricus Du Plessis, who was expected to face Adesanya after his blistering victory over Robert Whittaker earlier this year.

This will be Adesanya’s first UFC title defence since he reclaimed his belt from Alex Pereira, via second round KO, at UFC 287 in April. Prior to losing the title to his most fierce rival, Adesanya defended the belt on five occasions.

UFC 293's main eventer Israel Adesanya. IMAGO/USA TODAY/Rich Storry
UFC 293’s main eventer Israel Adesanya. IMAGO/USA TODAY/Rich Storry

Strickland made it into the main event after two straight wins over Abus Magomedov and Nassourdine Imavov (and by virtue of him being one of the only men in the top ten who hasn’t fought Adesanya yet).

Prior to his two fight-winning streak he lost back-to-back fights to Jared Cannonier and Alex Pereira.

Main event back-up fighter has been revealed

Just in case something goes sideways, the UFC has apparently got a plan in place to save the UFC 293 main event. MMA Junkie announced, via twitter, that former title challenger Jared Cannonier is in Sydney and has been drafted in as the replacement fighter should anything happen to Adesanya or Strickland.

The 39-year-old Cannonier lost to Adesanya, via unanimous decision, at UFC 276 in 2022. Since that loss he took a split decision over Strickland and a unanimous decision over Marvin Vettori.

Other notable wins for Cannonier include his TKOs over Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson and his KO of Derek Brunson.

Also at UFC 293

The remainder of the UFC 293 card is mostly a showcase for talent out of Australia and New Zealand (and the City Kickboxing gym).

The co-main event is Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov. There’s also Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane, Tyson Pedro vs. Anton Turkalj and Jamie Mullarkey vs. John Makdessi.

You know you can count on us for quick, consistent quality UFC 293 coverage. Bloody Elbow is an independent, reader supported publication. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our best work and learn how you can support the site.

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

Share this story

About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories