In a rather awkward coming together of the two on the stage ahead of this weekend’s UFC 293 middleweight title fight, defending champion, Israel Adesanya, and challenger, Sean Strickland shared a rather strange face-off, in brief fashion to boot after a heated press conference.
Adesanya, the current undisputed middleweight champion and two-time division gold holder, makes his return to Sydney, Australia – attempting to defend his title against surging challenger, Strickland.
Making is first walk inside the Octagon in a championship fight, Strickland rides a two-fight winning run over Nassourdine Imavov, and Abusupiyan Magomedov into the title affair.
And sharing the stage alongside other main card fighters this morning at the Qudos Bank Arena, Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland chirpped at each other throughout the press event.
Throwing a heap of barbs toward City Kickboxing mainstay, Adesanya amid his apparent allegiance with China during his kickboxing career, Strickland predicted the Nigerian-Kiwi would swear his allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) if he wins this weekend.
Defending his teammate Kai Kara-France on stage after flyweight contender, Manel Kape fired a Monster energy water bottle in his direction into the crowd, Adesanya and the Portuguese striker shared a war-of-words on stage, with Adesanya vowing to “bury” Kape if he continued to target Kara-France, referring to him as a “midget”.
Furthermore, Strickland poked fun at the apparent inappropriate touching of Adesanya’s dog by the undisputed middleweight champion, leading to a massive reception from the attending crowd at this morning’s press event – in his bid to get under the skin of the titleholder.
Sean Strickland accuses Israel Adesanya of race-baiting in the past
Criticizing prior actions from Adesanya, outspoken Covina native, Strickland claimed once he won middleweight gold, he would not be wearing a dog collar, and would not paint his nails – akin to Adesanya, whilst also accusing him of race-baiting South African contender, Dricus du Plessis during their July staredown after his UFC 290 win.
Once the verbals were set aside, however, Strickland and Adesanya shared the stage for a rather awkward more than tense staredown, with the defending champion briefly clutching his title before handing it back to a UFC official, and then complimenting Strickland’s choice of hat he wore to the event.