In the aftermath of the upset at UFC 287, Dana White has shared his insights on the Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland bout. White speculates that Adesanya’s lackluster performance may have been influenced by weight-cutting issues.
The UFC middleweight title clash headlined by Sean Strickland was a colossal surprise for fans and pundits alike. It was widely believed that this would be Adesanya’s easiest match during his title reign. However, Strickland, a 32-year-old California native, defied expectations and executed one of the most significant upsets in UFC history.
Many had reservations about Strickland’s worthiness for the title shot, given his previous victories against lower-ranked and unranked opponents, coupled with losses to Jared Cannonier and a knockout by Alex Pereira, the same fighter Adesanya had triumphed over. This led to widespread skepticism about the balance of the match. Yet, Strickland proved his doubters wrong by dominating Adesanya for the entirety of the five rounds.
Strickland displayed a unique defensive strategy, catching everyone’s attention when he knocked Adesanya down with a powerful right hand and subsequently delivering a barrage of serious head punches while controlling Adesanya’s back.
The fight remained competitive throughout the five rounds, but it was evident that Strickland had outperformed Adesanya. The judges’ unanimous decision confirmed Strickland as the victor.
This outcome is undoubtedly a disappointment for Adesanya, who had recently regained his title from Alex Pereira in April. Adesanya’s record now stands at 1-2 in his most recent matches.
As the spotlight shifts to Strickland, who exhibited intense emotions during the event, many are left wondering about Adesanya’s performance and his future in the sport. Dana White, during the post-fight press conference, expressed his thoughts on the surprising turn of events and suggested that something was amiss with Adesanya’s performance.
White remarked, “Israel looked like he was in slow motion. He looked like he couldn’t get off. He looked like he was really stiff tonight. He looked very slow. Only Israel knows what’s going on. I’m very curious to see what he says at this press conference tonight.”
Additionally, White speculated that Adesanya might have been affected by the process of cutting weight. He emphasized that numerous factors could have contributed to Adesanya’s subpar performance, highlighting the unpredictability of such situations in combat sports.
As the MMA world grapples with the repercussions of this unexpected outcome, questions linger about Adesanya’s future and whether he can reclaim his dominant form in the octagon.