The UFC takes its show on the road to Sydney, Australia for UFC 293. In the main event, Israel Adesanya risks his middleweight championship belt against Sean Strickland. Also on the main card are four other fights, most of which feature relatively unknown commodities that could result in surprise outcomes. We’ll preview all five bouts below, with odds from Tipico Sportsbook.
Israel Adesanya (-650) vs. Sean Strickland (+475)
Adesanya has been the standard of the middleweight division for nearly four years. He lost the belt from November 2022 to April 2023 after a loss to Alex Pereria. but Adesanya got revenge in a rematch to regain the championship, which he’ll now put at risk again.
Adesanya is 24-2, and there’s little question how he wins — 16 have come via KO or TKO, while the remaining eight have been decisions. He will stay on his feet and rely on his kickboxing background.
Adesanya was originally going to face Dricus Du Plessis, but Du Plessis declined the fight due to a murky injury issue, which throws his UFC future into doubt, but that’s a story for another day.
Strickland has won eight of his last 10 UFC fights dating back to 2018, five by decision. His problem in this matchup is he’s giving up a lot of size. If the fight goes the distance, it’s unlikely to go in Strickland’s favor. If there’s a knockout, it’s also likely to be in Adesanya’s favor.
The Pick: Adesanya
Tai Tuivasa (+210) vs. Alexander Volkov (-260)
Based on the odds, this heavyweight matchup projects to be one of more well-matched bouts of the night.
Tuivasa gets to fight on his home soil. One glance at his history makes his preferred fighting style extremely obvious, as 13 of his 14 wins and three of his five losses as a professional fighter have come via knockout. It’s a race of attrition for Tuivasa, as either he or his opponent is very likely to be hitting the canvas at some point.
To over-simplify things, Volkov is a more well-rounded version of his opponent. He’s shown the ability to both knock out and outlast his UFC opponents. The one red flag is he’s only won five of eight fights since 2020, though Tuivasa faces the same issue.
Perhaps the home turf evens the playing field, but on paper Volkov holds the advantage.
The Pick: Volkov
Manel Kape (-390) vs. Felipe Dos Santos (+310)
This flyweight matchup is more interesting. Kape has five UFC fights under his belt, and after two losses to begin his tenure, he’s reeled off three consecutive wins – two by KO and one by decision. While not evident from his UFC sample, he does have several victories by submission from other circuits on his resume.
Dos Santos is a relative unknown. He’s set for his UFC debut but has dominated in Brazil and more recently the Legacy Fighting Alliance. Like Kape, he has wins of all varieties on his resume.
Kape is more of a known quantity and is the favorite as a result, but taking a flier on the unknown could be an intriguing option.
The Pick: Dos Santos
Justin Tafa (-220) vs. Austen Lane (+175)
The further we get down the card the more interesting the fights become. Tafa is another fighter on his own turf and his profile is also dominated by KOs and TKOs. He has a mediocre history in UFC, going just 3-3.
The story on Lane is a bit more intriguing. He began his athletic career as a football player and was drafted by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He made his professional fighting debut in 2017 and has steadily climbed the ladder in prestige, before earning a chance in UFC by winning a matchup in Dana White’s Contender Series.
The final interesting note on this matchup is that this duo was set to square off in late June, but an accidental eye poke ended the bout only 29 seconds into the fight. This is another fairly even battle on paper, so take the value.
The Pick: Lane
Tyson Pedro (-105) vs. Anton Turkalj (-115)
In what has become a theme, we have two relative unknowns in this matchup. Pedro made his UFC debut in 2016 but has gone 5-4 since. That’s not exactly a shining record, but it is superior to Turkalj, who has only two fights in the circuit on his resume and has lost both. Side with the guy we know can win at this level.
The Pick: Pedro
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