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Adesanya v Strickland
It's a unanimous decision to Strickland and Adesanya has a long conversation with him afterwards, then raises his hand. They've kissed and made up.
Fifth round - Replays show Strickland connecting with his left repeatedly. He knows he's on the verge of something big here.
Trainer Eugene Bareman tells Adesanya to take some risks.
Strickland connects with a swinging right punch to the head. Adesanya knows he's behind now...
Strickland is on the front foot and jabbing hard. Adesanya is swaying away, but catches one.
One minute left and he needs something big. Strickland has him backpedalling.
He's got nothing and Strickland starts to celebrate as the final siren goes.
Fourth round - Adesanya dances and jabs, then tries a head kick. Strickland connects with a combination and then chases Adesanya to the cage. The champ looks rattled.
Adesanya catches Strickland with a left jab, but Strickland comes back with another powerful combination. Adesanya throws a right to the head.
The champ hasn't found a way through his challenger, who is taking the fight to him. That may be another round to Strickland and Adesanya may need something big in the final round to keep his crown.
Third round - Adesanya stands between rounds, Strickland is warned about being "snake-charmed" by the champ.
Adesanya sets up a swinging left kick, but it glances off. He connects with a left cross and is mixing his attack.
Strickland has stopped throwing, but he avoids a whirling kick from Adesanya. That right hand is his biggest weapon, but he throws a combination that connects.
Strickland's trainer wanted to see some grappling late in this round, but so far nothing. Adesanya catches a couple of punches, but avoids a couple more.
Maybe Strickland in that round, but his trainer wants him to throw more.
Second round - Can Adesanya recover from that flurry? He's fighting from behind now, but connects with a left head kick.
Adesanya connects with a left, but no damage. Left kick to the body. Left kick to the head blocked.
Strickland picking his time and place. Left, right from Adesanya. Swinging right from Adesanya connects with the head.
Maybe Adesanya takes that round.
First round - no glove touch to start this fight, no love lost here. Adesanya switching stance already, misses with a swinging kick.
Strickland blocks a head kick. Adesanya fakes and kicks to the leg. Strickland catches an attempted kick and backs him up.
Adesanya connects with kicks to the lead leg of Strickland, who lands a right punch. Strickland connects with a right cross that fells Adesanya, then pins him against the cage, raining blows.
The fight continues and the round ends. Adesanya stunned, round to Strickland.
3:57pm - "It's time."
3:53pm - The stadium goes dark and Adesanya begins his walkout, cap on backward and prancing like it's a done deal. Relaxed.
He's still dancing inside the Octagon, awaiting introductions. He's three inches taller than Strickland with a reach advantage.
3:51pm - Strickland strides to the cage and he looks like he means business - a real contrast to the loudmouth from the media conference. This is the biggest fight of his life.
3:35pm - Tuivasa is told to attack Volkov's lead leg and he does just that. He's chopping the tall timber down with each kick.
He kicks and loses balance, falling to the mat, and Volkov falls on him to wrestle. Tuivasa is back on his feet, but Volkov catches a kick, and has him on his back for the ground and pound.
Volkov just lies on Tuivasa and applies a front choke - Tuivasa has to tap out.
3:34pm - Volkov stands 15cm taller than Tuivasa and uses that height to his advantage, connecting with long jabs and kicks. Tuivasa is bleeding from the nose early and doesn't really connect with anything, as he charges in.
Volkov takes Tuivasa down, then hits him with an elbow, as the Aussie stands and recovers. As the first round ends, Volkon in complete command.
3:11pm - do Santos eats some hard punches and bleeds from the nose, but he keeps coming, catching Kape with a knee that seems to daze him. do Santos loves a reverse wheelkick, but hasn't connected with one yet.
The fight ends with dos Santos on his back and Kape pounding - he will take the unanimous decision win, but got more than he bargained for, that's for sure. Two of the judges score it 29-28.
Unsurprisingly, Kape calls out Kai Kara-France for his next fight. They were meant to fight this time, before the Kiwi suffered a concussion in training.
Now, Tai Tuivasa v Alexander Vokov in the heavyweight division... then Adesanya v Strickland.
3:06pm - Kape takes the fight to dos Santos with his speed and power. So far, the newbie has taken everything Kape has thrown at him, but as the fight goes on, the more experience man is slowly taking over.
3pm - dos Santos surprises Kape early, but is taken to the ground twice, before stumbling a third time. The rookie finishes the opening round strongly, twice catching Kape kicks before they can land.
2:39pm - Lane catches Tafa with a poke to the eye, forcing a timeout and a warning. Tafa walks straight into his opponent and lands a swinging left to the chin that puts him on the deck, then rains puches, until the ref steps in.
Another early finish gives Tafa the TKO win. He wants the $50k bonus.
Next, Manel Kape - the man who took on Kai Kara-France and Israel Adesanya at the media conference - faces debutant Felipe dos Santos in a flyweight contest.
2:26pm - Well that was quick. Pedro fells Turkalj with a flurry of blows midway through the opening round and it's all over. His left does most of the damage, but it's a right that finally puts him down.
Now, heavyweights Justin Tafa v Austen Lane. Tafa is a former NRL player for Melbourne Storm, while Lane is a former NFL player, standing 1.98m tall and 15cm over his opponent - a real clash of the codes.
2:17pm - Now onto the main card, with Tyson Pedro facing Anton Turkalj in a light-heavyweight contest.
1:39pm - Carlos Ulberg v Da Woon Jung
Some tense moments in that third round, but Ulberg is barely breathing hard at the end, just missing an early finish. Some suggestion Jung may have tapped out, but maybe not.
Yep, he taps with his left hand with 11 seconds left on the clock, so that's a win by submission (rear-naked choke) to Ulberg.
"Anything is possible," shrieks Ulberg, who calls out Dominick Reyes for his next fight. This win may see him ranked next week.
Third round - Ulberg looks fresh and is handling his opponent with ease. Throwing some right kicks, but not really connecting. Jung swinging left and right, but Ulberg swerves out of the way. Jung connects with a right, then tries to take Ulberg down. Ulberg has Jung on the cage and connects with a knee to the body. Jung takes Ulberg down, but the Kiwi is back on his feet. Ulberg's jab has disappeared and he's grappling. He has Jung on the ground and throws three left punches to the face. More punches to Jung's face and then has him in a submission hold, as the final siren sounds. Surely a points win to Ulberg.
Second round - Ulberg takes the centre of the Octagon and connects with a kick to the body. Using his left jab to keep Jung at distance and set up his attack. Big swinging kick from Ulberg, but Jung ducks under. Ulberg connects with his jab and Jung is bleeding under the right eye. Another left jab. Four more jabs. Jung still kicking, but having to eat some damage up high. Three more jabs from Ulberg. Blood now streaming down Jung's face. Another round to Ulberg, who is just dismantling his opponent.
First round - Both fighters feeling each other out, nothing landing yet, Jung has the centre of the Octagon, kicking to the legs. Ulberg jabs high. Jung continues to kick at the legs, Ulberg jabbing with his left, then catches Jung with a swinging right that knocks him to the ground. Jung springs back to his feet before any realy damage can be done. Swinging left from Ulberg fails to connect, but he will take that round. He's opened a little cut on Jung's nose.
1:21pm - Jack Jenkins seems to be on top of his featherweight contest against Chepe Mariscal, but after he's pinned to the cage for much of the second round, his opponent slams him to the ground, where he lies motionless for several seconds.
Mariscal climbs on top to rain blows, but the referee has none of that and awards the contest to Mariscal.
Next up, Ulberg v Woon Jung
1:04pm - Jamie Mullarkey scores a close points decision over John Makdessi, despite blood pouring from his nose and face. Makdessi seems to have inflicted the most damage on his opponent and MMA Junkie has him winning all three rounds... but the judges see differently.
Makdessi is incredulous.
One more fight before Kiwi Carlos 'Black Jag' Ulberg faces Da Woon Jung.
12:32pm - Nasrat Haqparast beats Landon Quinones in an entertaining points decision. Although Haqparast finishes with cuts around his right eye, he is busiest and hits harder than his opponent, who lands a nice elbow near the end, but simply doesn't have the same power.
Next up, Mullarkey v Makdessi in a lightweight fight.
12:08pm - Blood Diamond also suffers a points loss to Charlie Radtke, who has a big lump above his eye. Diamond is hurt badly in the second round, but survives, only to draw a couple of low-blow cautions in the third that cost him a point.
We're now on the preliminary card, where Haqparast faces Quinones in a lightweight contest.
11:58am - Greetings fight fans, you join our live coverage of UFC 294 to mixed news from the City Kickboxing contingent on the early card, where French rookie Kevin Jousset has defeated welterweight opponent Kiefer Crosbie in the first round with a submission, but Shane Young's weekend just got worse.
After missing his featherweight limit by three pounds at the weigh-in and forced to fight as a catchweight, Young is handled inside the first minute by Gabriel Miranda and loses to a perfectly executed rear-naked choke.
Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of UFC 293, featuring Kiwi Israel Adesanya defending his middleweight crown against American Sean Strickland, at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena.
The Nigerian-born champion is coming off perhaps the greatest win of his career, toppling Brazilian nemesis Alex Pereira to regain his belt in April, but Strickland is not the opponent he hoped to face.
After dispatching Pereira, Adesanya set his sights on South African Dricus du Plessis, who duly defeated former champion Robert Whittaker to move to the front of the line, only to concede his chance, through injury.
Strickland is the fifth-ranked challenger, with a 14-5 UFC record and a performance-of-the-night win over Abusupiyan Magomedov in July. He talks a good fight and has goaded Adesanya on the sidelines, but this is the biggest fight of his career and victory would be a massive upset.
Auckland's City Kickboxing gym has three other fighters - Frenchman welterweight Kevin Jousset, featherweight Shane Young and light-heavyweight Carlos Ulberg - on the extended card, although Young has weighed in over the limit and will fight as a catchweight in a non-title bout.
Flyweight Kai Kara-France was also scheduled to fight, but had to withdraw, after suffering a concussion in training last month.
Join us at noon for the start of the preliminary card.
Israel Adesanya (champion) v Sean Strickland - middleweight
Tai Tuivasa v Alexander Volkov - heavyweight
Manel Kape v Felipe dos Santos - flyweight
Justin Tafa v Austen Lane - heavyweight
Tyson Pedro v Anton Turkalj - light-heavyweight
Carlos Ulberg v Jung Da-un - light-heavyweight
Jack Jenkins v Chepe Mariscal - featherweight
Jamie Mullarkey v John Makdessi - lightweight
Nasrat Haqparast v Landon Quiñones - lightweight
Mike Mathetha v Charlie Radtke - welterweight
Shane Young v Gabriel Miranda - catchweight
Kevin Jousset v Kiefer Crosbie - welterweight
Kiwi Adesanya defends City Kickboxing teammate against rival's taunts
Kiwi middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has prepped for his next title defence by standing up for City Kickboxing teammate Kai Kara-France at the official UFC 293 media conference at Sydney.
After regaining his crown from Brazilian Alex Pereira last November, the Nigerian-born fighter will face a challenge from American Sean Strickland on Sunday, regarded by many as his easiest opponent during his title tenure.
Adesanya, 34, had hoped to face South African Dricus du Plessis, who earned a shot at the belt with victory over former champion Robert Whittaker, but withdrew from the expected match-up with injury.
With a 14-5 UFC record, Strickland, 32, has done his best to bait his rival in the build-up to their fight, but at the official media conference, Adesanya has found a more worthy opponent in a fighter many kilograms lighter.
The UFC 293 card features other fighters from the CKB stable, but one missing is flyweight Kara-France, who was due to take on Angolan Manel Kape, but withdrew, after suffering concussion in training.
Currently ranked 10th in the division, Kape sees the fifth-ranked Kiwi as a steppingstone to bigger things, but has become frustrated with opponents dropping out of fights. This year, Alex Perez (seventh) and Deiveson Figueiredo (second) have also withdrawn from scheduled meetings.
His verbal attacks on Kara-France in the audience riled Adesanya more than anything Strickland had to offer from the stage.
"Unfortunately, Kai Kara-France is a b***h," declared Kape, with Adesanya sitting two seats away on the top table. "He's in front of me and you are f***ing guilty, because this kid's going to pay.
"You had three weeks to fight me... you have the courage to come here. Stand up, m****f***er."
Adesanya leapt to his feet to defend his mate's hounour. At 1.93m (6ft 4in), he towered above Kape's 1.73m (5ft 8in) and brought that to bear in the confrontation.
"Show some f***ing respect," he responded. "Look at this little midget trying to f*** with me.
"I would f***ing bury you."
Feeling neglected on the other end of the table, Strickland stepped in: "Calm down, that's not the fight... leave the little man alone."
Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland square off at UFC 293. Photo credit: Getty Images
Kape will face UFC newcomer Felipe dos Santos on Sunday, a bout that is unlikely to help his promotion up the flyweight rankings.
He has taken another crack at Kara-France, when asked who his next opponent might be.
"I just believe next fight, I'll fight for the title, but after that, I want that man Kai Kara-France," he continued. "I want this man.
"You run away from me. Your coach said that you guys should be in through the injuries.
"You guys have to have the mentality of the champion, so you have to [fight through] the injuries.
"What happened to you? That's the question."
Other City Kickboxing fighters in action are Caros Ulberg, Shane Young, Blood Diamond and French debutant Kevin Jousset.