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Another Nigerian battle in Australia as Israel Adesanya stakes middleweight title against Sean Strickland in Sydney

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Adesanya defeated Alex Pereira in April to become a two-time UFC middleweight champion.

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight title against Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia on 10 September.

Adesanya, 34, last fought in April, beating long-term rival Alex Pereira to regain the belt he had lost five months earlier.

The Nigerian-born New Zealander was set to fight Dricus du Plessis next but the South African is injured.

American Strickland, 32, will be competing in his first UFC title fight.

He stepped up a division on short notice to beat Nassourdine Imavov in January before knocking out Abusupiyan Magomedov in July.

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Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White has confirmed Conor McGregor’s next opponent will “definitely” be Michael Chandler.

Ireland’s McGregor tweeted last week calling for a bout with Justin Gaethje, who defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 291, casting doubt on the matchup with Chandler.

McGregor and Chandler have been opposing coaches on the UFC’s reality television series, The Ultimate Fighter, this year.

“I talked to Conor, either yesterday or the day before, and yeah, he’s ready to fight,” said White.

“Listen, get in shape and let’s figure this out.

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“[It’s] definitely Chandler. Conor likes to [mess] with everybody – especially his opponent, or possible opponents.”

-BBC

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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UFC

Adesanya loses UFC middleweight crown to underdog!

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American Sean Strickland celebrates defeating Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya to claim the middleweight title by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 293 in Sydney, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image via AP)

Underdog Sean Strickland pulled off a stunning upset to defeat Israel Adesanya and claim the UFC middleweight title at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, winning by unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards after an enthralling five-round battle.

American Strickland taunted Adesanya in the closing seconds of the final frame, confident of victory after 25 minutes of stalking his opponent, defending brilliantly and using his boxing to force Adesanya to fight off the back foot.

Adesanya, who has ruled the roost as middleweight champ for most of the last four years, failed to find a way to break Strickland down and the 34-year-old Nigerian was caught several times by stiff jabs from Strickland that slowed him down.

“Oh my God, literally never in a million years did I thought I’d be here,” Strickland said in an interview in the cage after UFC president Dana White wrapped the championship belt around his waist.

After giving him a hostile reception on his way to the octagon and cheering for Adesanya, who grew up in neighbouring New Zealand, throughout, the crowd hailed the new champion for his gutsy performance.

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“The majority of my friends he’s beaten pretty easily, so I was even kind of doubting myself, but I’ve gotta say to the fans, you guys motivated me,” Strickland said.

Strickland set the course for victory with a thunderous right hand at the end of the first round, almost securing a knockout, and though Adesanya managed to make it to the break, he never really got going again after that.

Known for his creative striking, the Nigerian-born Adesanya became increasingly desperate as the fight wore on and he won only one of the five rounds, with the three judges awarding the rest to Strickland on identical 49-46 scorecards.

-Reuters

 

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CELEBRITY

Canadian rapper, Drake recovers millions he lost in Barca bet with perfect forecast on Nigerian fighter, Adesanya

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Canadian  award-winning rapper, Aubrey Drake Graham has won at least $1.8m betting on Nigerian UFC fighter Israel Adesanya to beat Alex Pereira in a middleweight title clash.

Drake placed a $400K bet on Adesanya to knock out the Brazilian. That was exactly what happened as the Lagos-born fighter shook off the pressure of losing thrice in a row to the same opponent to knock him out.

Recall that in October last year, Drake lost $800K betting on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid. The bet was a loser as Real Madrid won that game 3-1.

Drake disclosed his massive winnings on Instagram

In December, Drake again bet $1m on Argentina to beat France and win the World Cup. But he lost the bet as the game ended in a draw before going to extra time and then penalties.

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With his winning on Adesanya, one can say Drake has recovered the millions he’s lost so far betting on Barca and Argentina. The question is will he ever stop?

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UFC

The king regains his crown as Adesanya stuns Pereira to reclaim UFC middleweight title!

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Apr 8, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Israel Adesanya (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Alex Pereira (red gloves) during UFC 287 at Miami-Dade Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya pulled off a stunning knockout win over Alex Pereira to reclaim the middleweight crown at UFC 287 at the Kaseya Centre on Saturday, downing the Brazilian in the second round to avenge his only UFC defeat at middleweight.

After a cagey opening frame that saw Pereira target Adesanya’s lead leg with brutal kicks, the fight burst into life in the second, with both men landing head kicks early and Adesanya’s crisp boxing beginning to tell.

With the second round winding down, Adesanya was backed up against the cage but he suddenly uncorked a huge right hand and followed it up with another to knock Pereira out cold and take back the belt he lost to the Brazilian in November.

Adesanya followed Pereira down to the mat but referee Dan Mirgliotta waved the fight off, returning the Nigerian-born New Zealander to the top of the middleweight pile, a weight class he has dominated for the last four years.

“I played possum a bit … look at me, I am here, he is here, that last one (punch) had everything. That last hammer fist was from the gods,” Adesanya said in a post-fight interview in the cage.

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The 33-year-old told the fans in attendance that he hoped they would have the chance to feel the same joy that he was feeling in that moment.

“If you stay down, you will never ever get that resolve. Fortify your mind and feel this level of happiness as you rise,” said Adesanya, who had never beaten Pereira in MMA or kickboxing in three previous meetings.

In the co-main event, local favourite Jorge Masvidal announced his retirement in the cage after losing a unanimous decision to Brazil’s Gilbert Burns.

-Reuters

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