Well-known MMA head coach Firas Zahabi believes Israel Adesanya could’ve made a simple adjustment against Sean Strickland at UFC 293.
Adesanya’s second run with the UFC middleweight title didn’t last long. In his first defense of the second reign, Adesanya was shockingly outclassed by Strickland. Going into the fight, Strickland was a huge underdog but he clearly didn’t get the memo. After “Izzy” was knocked down in the first round, he never truly got into a groove. Strickland beat him to the punch and avoided danger all the way until the final horn sounded. Strickland won the fight via unanimous decision.
Sean Strickland’s Plan Was Simple, Yet Effective
A new video has been posted on the official YouTube channel of Tristar Gym. Zahabi discussed the three keys to victory Strickland effectively used.
“Sean Strickland walked him down, outpointed him with a simple jab, a simple cross, and a simple front kick,” Zahabi said. “That’s it. Those were the three main tools of the entire night. He didn’t need more. The first right hand that he truly connected at the end of round one set the tone for the entire fight.”
What Did Israel Adesanya Do Wrong?
Zahabi continued, saying that Adesanya failed to switch things up when his strategy was being stifled by Strickland.
“Adesanya never recovered, he never changed strategy,” Zahabi said. “Now, in my opinion, Strickland lost round two. He won round one, obviously. He lost round two, in my opinion, then he won all the three rounds coming after that. Adesanya, after round three, had to call an audible. He didn’t, he went back to doing the exact same thing and that was perfect for Strickland.”
What Could’ve “Izzy” Done To Avoid The Upset
There is one key factor that Zahabi believes Adesanya missed on during his UFC 293 fight. He feels there was a chance for “The Last Stylebender” to exploit Strickland’s defense.
“I think Adesanya should’ve adapted, totally adapted,” Zahabi said. “Adesanya didn’t throw enough head kicks. If he threw a head kick, he would’ve eventually, in my opinion, connected because of Sean Strickland’s style of defense.”
Here’s is the full video of Firas Zahabi’s breakdown of Sean Strickland’s shocking win over Israel Adesanya: