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Strickland was better – Adesanya



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The 32-year-old Strickland (28-5) won a five-round decision unanimously with all three judges scoring it 49-46.

Speaking at the press conference after the fight, Adesanya admitted he lost to the better fighter.

“I had a different plan in mind, but sometimes life doesn’t go the way you want it to. Win or lose, I didn’t plan to say much tonight. But the truth is, I lost to the better fighter,” he said.

Adesanya then decided not to answer any more questions and asked his trainer, Eugene Bareman, to handle the interviews.

On the other hand, Strickland was very emotional after the fight saying, “I can’t believe this is real. I feel like I’m dreaming. I don’t cry often, but right now, I’m trying to hold back my tears. I’ve sacrificed a lot for this sport, and I thought I’d be leaving the ring with some bruises and cuts. I’m a bit surprised that didn’t happen.”

Adesanya had strong support from the fans at Qudos Bank Arena and was expected to defeat Strickland, however, the American landed more significant punches during the fight, and Adesanya struggled to find a way to hurt him.

In the first round, Strickland delivered a clean, powerful punch that knocked Adesanya down. He followed it up with a flurry of strikes, ending the round in his favor.

Adesanya improved in the second and third rounds, using kicks and right-hand punches effectively. However, he left himself open to Strickland’s attacks on his body and head.

As the fight progressed, Adesanya became more defensive, and he couldn’t make a strong impact on Strickland’s defense. Strickland sensed an opportunity and unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks in the final minute, securing the victory and the middleweight title.

Reflecting on his victory, Strickland said, “You don’t fight that guy with that many highlight-reel knockouts. The majority of my friends, he’s beaten pretty easily. I was even kind of doubting myself at times but I’ve got to say, the fans in Australia, you guys motivated me.”