Sean Strickland’s meteoric rise in the MMA world has been remarkable, as the American fighter has carved out a niche for himself as a distinctive and captivating force within the sport. Whether fans are drawn to his unapologetically unconventional approach or firmly oppose it, there’s no denying that his presence among the best middleweights in the game is undeniable. At UFC 293 in Sydney, Strickland is heading into his first UFC title fight against Israel Adesanya.
Before Saturday’s main event, let’s take a look back at five of his most memorable fights.
UFC Fight Night: Felder vs Dos Anjos (November 14, 2020) vs Brendan Allen
This was among the initial fights that significantly elevated Strickland’s status in the middleweight division.
This victory closely followed his triumph over Jack Marshman just two weeks earlier, and a dominant second-round TKO over Brendan Allen clearly signaled that Strickland was prepared for a substantial push and rightfully belonged in the 185-pound rankings.
UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Strickland (July 31, 2021) vs Uriah Hall
Sean Strickland is all about substance in the Octagon, as evidenced by the relentless work rate he employs against all opponents.
Strickland secured his fifth consecutive victory by dominating Uriah Hall in his first middleweight main event at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Unleashing relentless aggression and a constant rain of punches throughout all five rounds, Strickland was able to connect with a whopping 186 significant strikes throughout the fight before claiming a one-sided unanimous decision victory.
UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Strickland (February 5, 2022) vs Jack Hermansson
Strickland just cruised to victory with this one, managing to maintain control for most of the fight by relying on an overpowering jab that consistently snapped Hermansson’s head back. Playing it safe, he also stuck to the fundamentals, delivering rapid-fire punches throughout the entire bout while ensuring he evaded any significant counterattacks. Although Hermansson effectively dodged many of them in the opening round, Stricklands straight punches were again proven to be formidable weapons in his middleweight campaign.
Despite Hermansson’s last-ditch efforts towards the end of the fight, those Strickland straight punches continued to be compelling enough for two judges to award him the fight while one was in favor of Hermansson, even though it seemed that Strickland had done more than enough to secure the win after five rounds. Strickland ended the night by asking for his shot at a title fight.
Sean Strickland Fight Week Interview | UFC 293
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Sean Strickland Fight Week Interview | UFC 293
UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs Imavov (January 14, 2023) vs Nassourdine Imavov
With less than one week’s notice, Strickland had no problem showing up and cleaning house.
When Kelvin Gastelum withdrew from the fight just days before his scheduled match against Nassourdine Imavov, Strickland stepped in, delivering an impressive performance that put him back in the win column after a pair of losses to Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier.
This marked Imavov’s first UFC main event, but it became evident that Strickland proved too formidable over the five rounds. Strickland’s typical fighting style involved relentless forward movement followed by sharp jabs. In this fight, we also saw Strickland add a few more kicks and takedowns to his arsenal, but his primary strategy remained centered around aggressive boxing.
Ultimately, Imavov’s ineffective takedowns and combinations left the judges in Strickland’s favor with a unanimous decision.
UFC on ESPN: Strickland vs. Magomedov (July 1, 2023) vs Abus Magomedov
Starting the evening as the seventh-ranked middleweight contender in the UFC, Strickland had a lot at stake in a bout against the unranked Abus Magomedov.
After a competitive opening round that witnessed Strickland falling victim to a painful eye poke from his main event adversary, Strickland elevated his performance in the second round, finishing Magomedov four minutes and 20 seconds into the frame with a flurry of strikes on his grounded foe.
UFC 293: Adesanya vs Strickland took place live from Qudos Arena in Sydney, Australia on September 9, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!