Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya puts his belt on the line as a heavy favorite in the main event Saturday at UFC 293: Adesanya vs. Strickland. Now a two-time strap holder after reclaiming the title from Alex Pereira with a second round KO at UFC 287 in April, Adesanya defends his second title for the first time against ranked challenger Sean Strickland with odds of +431 at UFC betting sites.
A long time resident of the weight class, Strickland gets his first title fight following consecutive victories over Massourdine Imavov and Abusupiyan Magomedov. Those opponents were a welcomed relief after Strickland lost to Jared Cannonier and Pereira in 2022. Those setbacks were the only two in his last 10 bouts. Still Strickland is a big underdog at +431 on the UFC betting line.
The co-main event features a heavyweight tussle between ranked contenders Tai Tuivasa and Alexander Volkov. A return to Australia might just be what Tuivasa needs to snap out a two-fight drought. Tuivasa made his UFC debut in Sydney in 2017 scoring a first KO of Rashad Coulter. He was 8-3 inside the Octagon before suffering successive losses to Ciryl Gane and Sergei Pavlovich. Following first round stoppage wins over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Romanov you could say Volkov is in the best form of his career.
Bet on UFC online at BetRivers Sportsbook with odds on every fight on the ticket. The action takes place on Saturday, September 9, 2023 from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The main card is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN pay-per-view.
UFC 293: Adesanya vs. Strickland Main Card Odds
Sean Strickland +431 vs. Israel Adesanya -650
Tai Tuivasa +194 vs. Alexander Volkov -250
Felipe dos Santos +277 vs. Manel Kape -375
Austen Lane +165 vs. Justin Tafa -210
Anton Turkalj -116 vs. Tyson Pedro -114
A fixture at the top of the middleweight class for years now, Adesanya (24-2, 16 KOs, 0 SUBs) snapped back from a rare loss to reclaim the belt for a second time. Last November Adesanya lost for the first time as a middleweight surrendering the belt he owned since beating Robert Whitaker in a unification bout in late 2019. After five successful title defenses, Adesanya was stopped by Pereira in the fifth round at UFC 281.
The championship rematch saw Adesanya toss a vicious combo dropping Pereira in the second round. The start of the fight looked familiar to the first outing with Adesanya backed against the net with thundering leg kicks. However, the second time Adesanya was able to counter and Pereira had no response. Champions are able to make adjustments and withstand some vicious blows, which is exactly what “Stylebender” did.
On the cusp of breaking into the top of the contender list, Strickland (27-5, 11 KOs, 4 SUBs) has come up short previously. However, it’s safe to say he’s fighting the best he has in some time. He was stopped by former champ Pereira in the first round at UFC 276 and went the distance against top contender Jared Cannonier last December. He needed wins to get back in contention and got them over Imavov and Magomedov.
Both fighters like to go toe to toe launching and absorbing strikes. It’s highly doubtful we see a submission win by either fighter since Adesanya has never recorded one and Strickland’s last SUB was 18 fights ago. Strickland can absorb blows, which is something that should worry Stylebender. With a volume of punches, Adesanya would rather wear opponents down using his height and reach advantage. We saw that work for him last time out when Pereira had no answer. And that was with Adesanya against the cage and looking to be in trouble.
When it comes to throwing down on this fight I’m not backing the champ on the moneyline at his current price. Like we’ve seen in a number of UFC fights, getting more specific with a round or method of victory can actually put the odds in your favor. That is unless you want to back the underdog, in which case a straight up wager on Strickland has a nice payout. Strickland can present a problem for the champ, but Adesanya is better defending against significant strikes and he uses his reach to his advantage.
UFC Prediction: Israel Adesanya / (T)KO
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