Sean Strickland defied the odds in every sense of the phrase at UFC 293 by scoring one of the biggest upsets in recent UFC history. The controversial middleweight fighter defeated Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision, winning multiple rounds and even scoring a clean knockdown.
Strickland’s win may shock many, but this former champion expected it all along.
Alex Pereira knew Sean Strickland could get the job done
If there’s one person who wasn’t surprised by the night’s outcome, it’s former champion Alex Pereira. “Poatan” did share the Octagon with Sean Strickland at UFC 276 in 2022 and even won via first-round knockout.
But the two got to know each other better when they trained together sometime after their fight, giving the Brazilian a new perspective.
“He surprised me. People say his style is kind of weird,” Pereira said of Strickland. “People say that about me, too. After training with him, I’m starting to get it. They are things that work.
“He taught us some things that I’ll practice for sure because I saw that they are very effective.”
During the UFC 291 presser in July, this was what Pereira had to say about Sean Strickland.
“Fighting Israel Adesanya is a hard fight, but he showed that he can be beaten,” he said. “We beat him, right? So, Sean Strickland [has] a chance — different gameplans —
“It’s hard, but if anybody has a chance against Adesanya [it would] be Sean Strickland, but It’s a hard fight.”
After the dust settled, Pereira took the chance to revel in his “I told you so” moment.
Will there be a rematch between Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira?
Pereira made a successful light heavyweight debut at UFC 291, defeating former champion Jan Blachowicz. Ahead of the bout, he admitted to feeling the effects of his weight cuts to 185. But he is willing to go through them again if needed.
“I’m always motivated, but now I feel it even more because when I was fighting those middleweight fights, it took a toll on my body; it was hard,” he said.
“I always made it, I can still make it, but my body needed a little break because it was five cuts in a year.”
UFC president Dana White, however, doesn’t see it happening.
“I don’t think so,” White told reporters during the post-fight scrum when asked about seeing Pereira back at middleweight. “I think he’ll stay at light heavyweight.
“I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I don’t see him cutting back down again. It’s a lot of weight to cut. The guy’s a monster.”
Sean Strickland’s current record
Sean Strickland capped off a three-fight win streak with the win over Adesanya. It is also his second consecutive Performance of the Night win as he improved to a record of 28-5.
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