After a long hiatus, the Ultimate Fighting Club (UFC) finally returned to Sydney, Australia for the 293rd Pay Per View UFC event, also known as UFC 293. This event, like almost every UFC PPV (Pay-Per-View), was full of highly entertaining and unpredictable fights all throughout the night. All in all, it was a good night for Australia as the majority of the main card winners were from the host country. The Australian fans brought amazing energy that certainly inspired the fighters. This UFC event featured many memorable moments to unpack, while also providing material for a technical breakdown of the UFC’s most recent event.
It is important to start off this breakdown by highlighting the amazing broadcasting performance by Laura Sanko, who became the first woman ever in the commentator's booth for a UFC Pay-Per-View in 2021. As we all know, the era of Joe Rogan as a UFC commentator is slowly and sadly coming to an end, and Laura Senko will certainly pick up where he left off. As a MMA practitioner herself, Sanko gave amazing technical analysis as well as some pretty funny moments all throughout the night.
Manel Kape vs. Felipe Dos Santos
In the Featherweight division, the fight was my favorite fight on the card by far. Dos Santos was able to hold his own in his UFC debut despite having very short notice beforehand. Although Kape ultimately came out on top with the victory, most eyes are more focused on Dos Santos and his future in the UFC. Dos Santos is a member of the very famous ‘Chute Boxe’ gym in Brazil as well as being a training partner and close friend of the great Charles ‘Du Bronx’ Oliveira. With such high-caliber training partners, Dos Santos showed glimmers of Oliveira’s style in this three round fight. Even when dropped, Dos Santos held bottom guard just like Oliveria used to, inviting Kape into a dangerous guard. One interesting thing about this fight was how creative both fighters were as strikers, specifically Dos Santos. Spinning elbows, spinning kicks, and a very frequent front kick were all parts of Dos Santos’s repertoire. In true Featherweight fashion, both fighters were extremely quick, technical, and could change direction on the dime. Dos Santos’ loss can be chalked up to two things: The first being inexperience, and the second being the blatant difference in power. Dos Santos had a really high hit volume all throughout the fight, making contact as much as he pleased; however, whenever Kape touched Dos Santos, it was almost always an extremely powerful blow. This, along with the fact that Kape is an extremely good striker with a ton of experience in the cage, is probably a good reason for Dos Santos’s loss. However, at the age of only 22, one can expect Dos Santos to become a top 10 contender in the upcoming years.
Tyson Pedro vs. Anton Turkalj
This was my first time watching either of these two fighters, and Tyson Pedro’s striking ability was a huge stand out of this fight. Pedro is an up-and-comer in the UFC and is slowly rising the ranks to become a contender. At Light Heavyweight, Pedro seems pretty quick for his size and was able to get the job done via TKO in round one. It was a textbook combination in striking that sealed the deal for Pedro. Using his jab followed by his cross, Pedro was able to stun Turkalj in the first round, to which Turkalj quickly recovered. Pedro stayed very composed and never tried to rush the finish. After 30 seconds, Pedro timed a left hook followed by a cross to end Turkalj’s night. You can't go wrong with a well-timed 1-2 followed by a 3-2. It was a great fight for Pedro.
Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov
Many fans originally thought that Tuivasa would win this fight. However, they were proved wrong. Volkov was able to seal the deal in round two with an Ezekiel choke. If you are wondering what that is, you are not alone. This submission had only been done successfully twice in the UFC before Saturday, and due to the fact that this specific choke is relatively simple to do and very popular at many Jiu-Jitsu gyms across the world, including mine, you can expect to see this move being performed more often in the higher weight divisions. Nice job Volkov.
Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland
Coming into this fight I had a very good feeling about Sean Strickland. After seeing his fight against Abus Magomedov, I realized just how effective Strickland’s style was. Strickland fights in a very awkward manner, but it is this awkward striking that throws many of his opponents off guard. Although I believed that Strickland would win, it was a generally unpopular opinion. Israel “Izzy” Adesanya has fought the best of the best over and over and over again and has proven himself to be one of the best Middleweights ever. But in this fight, there was something off with Adesanya. Strickland fights vertically, he never leans forward and his head never really comes off of the centerline. With that being said, Strickland put on a defensive masterclass against Adesanya, consistently blocking Adesanya’s strikes with his arms instead of relying on his nonexistent head movement. Sean was not only great defensively, but his offense was also very hard to deal with for Adesanya. There was a big moment in the fight where Strickland dropped Adesanya with the classic 1-2. Sean immediately pounced on Izzy, raining down heavy ground hits. Much to my surprise, the fight was not stopped and Adesanya was saved by the bell. Sean continued to dominate on the feet for the next four rounds, doing enough to complete a crazy upset and crown himself as the Middleweight Champion of the world. No one could have expected Sean to complete such an upset against one of the greatest strikers the UFC has ever seen, but that is yet another reason why I love Mixed Martial Arts, no matter how much someone is projected to win, you just never know. Congratulations to Sean Strickland, and all of the other victorious fighters who helped to deliver another exciting weekend of UFC. Here’s to more of this in the future.