ISRAEL Adesanya lost his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title to Sean Strickland in the early hours of today in Sydney, Australia.
The flamboyant Nigerian, 34, lost to the American via a unanimous decision in what has been described as the biggest upset ever in the UFC middleweight category.
Massive underdog Strickland dominated most of the five rounds and the American won 49-46 on each of the three judges’ scorecards.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Sean Strickland closed as a 5-1 underdog, making his victory the largest title fight upset in UFC middleweight history.
Adesanya has now fought 16 times in the last five years, setting a record for the most fights by a UFC champion in history.
Out of his last 16 UFC matches, the Nigerian-New Zealander has participated in 11 title bouts.
Adesanya suffered a knockdown in the opening round but he survived the onslaught to make it through all five rounds.
Unfortunately, he was never in his usual flow and Strickland attacked him with the perfect game plan to earn the victory and claim the UFC middleweight title.
Afterwards, Adesanya paid homage to Strickland for his victory.
“I had a different plan for this but again life throws curveballs at you,” Adesanya said in his post-fight interview.
“Win or lose, I wasn’t going to say much anyway but right now, I lost tonight to the better man on the night. I just want to go and be with people who care about me — my team and they’re waiting for me so I’m going to do that.
“I want to go chill, have some breakfast, build my family and till next time.”
Strickland, a 32-year-old with five previous losses on his record, was stunned to have inflicted a third UFC defeat on the champion.
“Am I f****** dreaming?” he said following the win. “Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be here. Izzy’s a bad motherf*****. He’s beat the majority of my friends and even I was kind of doubting myself at times.
“I worked my ass off. I give up so many brain cells to the MMA gods everyday. This is the first time I’m at a loss for words.”