UFC 293 results and post-fight analysis: Sean Strickland dethrones Israel Adesanya

Here's what we learned after watching UFC 293 on Saturday night.

By: Jack Wannan | 2 weeks ago
UFC 293 results and post-fight analysis: Sean Strickland dethrones Israel Adesanya
USA Today / IMAGO / Jasmin Frank

We learned lots of new things when the octagon came to the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Saturday night for UFC 293. We saw that Sean Strickland can pull off a massive performance against Israel Adesanya and shock the MMA world. We were reminded that nearly 50 fights deep in his pro career, Alexander Volkov is still not one to mess with. We saw some City Kickboxing talents shine, and heard an unbelievably early-arriving Australia crowd cheer them on.

Here’s all the top takeaways from UFC 293!

Sean Strickland pulls off shocking victory against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293

Sean Strickland is your new UFC Middleweight Champion. If Sean O’Malley getting the bantamweight title victory last month wasn’t a shocking moment, Strickland becoming the new champ at 185 pounds had to be that for you.

Strickland pressured Adesanya for all five rounds, keeping the two-time champ on the outside of the octagon and connecting with right hands. Adesanya had a real scare early in the fight, getting dropped by a clean right cross from Strickland. While Adesanya returned to his feet, he continued to consume the relentless pace of punches from Strickland.

Adesanya remained on his back foot for the rest of the UFC 293 main event. For the entire 25 minutes of competition, it felt like we were waiting for Adesanya to finally start letting go with his shots. But we kept waiting. And waiting. And then, eventually it was all but too late for the “Stylebender.”

Strickland came into this fight as a huge underdog. Sports bookies had him in the +600 range, and fans thought similarly. Tapology saw just 10 percent of their fanbase pick Strickland for the fight. Every single reader pick for Bloody Elbow sided with Adesanya. This UFC 293 result came as a shock to a majority of people, honestly.

This is not the first time we have seen Adesanya freeze up in a big fight. His first-ever appearance as a champion back in 2020 against Yoel Romero will forever be remembered as an infamous fight. But this one was a really concerning one – one that has marked the end of his second reign as UFC Middleweight Champion. One that sets him back for the second time within a year, which he has never dealt with in MMA before. One that will be remembered as a historic upset in UFC history.

Volkov clubs, subs Tuivasa at UFC 293 co-main event

Alexander Volkov had nothing short of a dominant performance in the UFC 293 co-main event, handing Tai Tuivasa his third consecutive defeat, no less with the rare Ezekiel Choke.

Volkov’s ability to evade the hectic flurries of punches from Tuivasa gave the Australia fan-favorite not much of a chance through three rounds. The tall Volkov kept Tuivasa out of reach for most of the fight, connecting with tons of shots to his head in the first and second rounds. Kicks to the lead leg of Volkov caused him some trouble, but it never threatened to give Tuivasa a fight-ending sequence. Volkov went to the ground late in the second frame, eventually going for a choke after wailing away with some punches from full mount.

Volkov now has three consecutive wins in the heavyweight division. However, it’s hard to say if this win adds much to his momentum. It surely was a strong showing for Volkov, but Tuivasa is now winless since early 2022 and was finished in his two most recent fights as well.

Kape gets a win, Dos Santos impresses

The “Starboy” is back. Manel Kape moved his UFC winning streak to four consecutive appearances on Saturday, handing promotional newcomer Felipe dos Santos his first pro loss in a back-and-forth unanimous decision result.

Kape was in a safe control of the fight through all three rounds, piecing dos Santos up with sharp strikes, but never doing enough to secure a finish. Kape earned a knockdown early and connected with enough strong blows later in the bout to take at least two of three rounds.

While it was a solid win for Kape, it was certainly also a showcase of a new UFC name that can hang with some of the better fighters in the flyweight division in dos Santos. Despite this being his first fight in the promotion and a short notice one as well, dos Santos gave Kape a hard fight and was able to hang in it until the end. He was no easy out for Kape, he took a round on two scorecards against a ranked opponent. All things considered, dos Santos exceeded expectations.

This was not the type of matchup you want for Kape. Unfortunately though, he hasn’t had many options. Kape had three different fights fall through earlier this year and before Saturday, he hadn’t fought since last year.

Unfortunately, Kape took a whole lot of attention away from his win in his post-fight interview, calling fellow flyweight Kai Kara-France’s team a homophobic slur. What’s worse, he wasn’t even the first fighter to use that slur on the mic that night. When it’s one fighter, it’s a bad look on just them. When it’s more than one person on just this card alone, it also highlights a more concerning trend in the sport – it shows that there’s a culture within it that allows talk like this. This is no shock for most of us, but it’s just some food for thought for those who haven’t considered it.

City Kickboxing goes three for six at UFC 293

City Kickboxing had a night of ups and downs. On the prelims, Shane Young’s losing streak continued with a quick, 59-second submission loss to Gabriel Miranda. Blood Diamond failed to scored his first UFC win in his third showing for the promotion, dropping a decision to Charles Radtke – who didn’t have much of a notable performance either. Oh yeah, and then Israel Adesanya dropped his belt. But it’s worth highlighting the talents from the gym that did leave the venue with a win.

Most notable was Tyson Pedro, who disposed of Anton Turkalj in the first round with explosive striking skills. The quick performance put him back into the win column and marked his third win since making a comeback in 2022.

Pedro had a tough challenge ahead of him when he returned last year. He was ending a more than three-year absence from the cage, an amount of time outside of action that many don’t successfully return from. But with his win on Saturday, Pedro showed that he still has momentum and is still growing. “I’m still a beginner at City Kickboxing,” he added afterward, further cementing that fact.

Also successful in the cage was Carlos Ulberg and UFC newcomer Kevin Jousset. Ulberg controlled opponent Da Woon Jung on the feet, then took his exhausted opponent to the canvas for a shot-clock rear naked choke submission, which was only noticed when referees looked at replays of the choke after the fight concluded.

Jousset opened the night, appearing at the bright and early local Sydney hour of 8 a.m. to pick up first-round submission over seven-fight Bellator alum Kiefer Crosbie.

UFC 293 honorable mentions

That’s about all regarding the show. But before we hit the road… Some honorable mentions from UFC 293.

Justin Tafa had a quick win that brought his home country to their feet when he overcame Austen Lane, flooring him with a left hook in the second minute of their bout. This showed that Tafa has tons of power in his hands, if he didn’t already prove that in his fight against Parker Porter, or Harry Hunsucker, or Juan Adams, or… You get the point!

Nasrat Haqparast proved that you folks are being to nice to him out here… He out-struck promotional newcomer Landon Quinones for three rounds to earn a comfortable unanimous decision win. This was too easy of a matchup for Haqparast, and he showed it.

And a mention has to go to the crowd at the Qudos Bank Arena, which arrived quite early and showed life despite UFC 293 literally starting on early Sunday morning. I’m usually grumpy when my alarm goes off at 8 a.m. At that time, these folks were not only in a lively mood, but they got dressed and showed up to an arena!

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About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for MMA-Prospects.com and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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