Showing aggression and a punishing style on the feet over all three rounds, Strickland walked down Krzysztof Jotko repeatedly to do as much damage as possible to earn a unanimous decision victory. The scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 with Strickland getting the job done yet again.
Following the fight, Strickland admitted it wasn’t his most polished performance but he also paid homage to Jotko for making it tough to hit him all night long.
“The way he fights, it’s just so hard to connect,” Strickland said. “The way he was backing up, it made it way too hard to put some hands on him. Sometimes I can come out like an arrogant bastard but he has my respect.”
In his first fight back in nearly a year, Jotko seemed loose on his feet while tossing out a nice overhand left that connected early but Strickland ate the punches and just kept marching forward. As time passed, Strickland was closing the distance and unloading with harder shots including a right hook that was chipping away at the Polish middleweight.
One particular punch slipped through the defense and put Jotko on wobbly legs for a moment but Strickland was careful not to overextend himself to stay patient with the damage he was inflicting.
As the second round got started, Jotko was more active with his hands but still stuck on his back foot with Strickland walking him down and popping him with that slick lead jab. Jotko did his best to fire back but Strickland was still able to land in target with far more regularity.
The stoic look on Strickland’s face never changed as he started to mix in a few kicks to go along with the power behind his fists as Jotko got a little more desperate as the fight was obviously slipping away from him.
Strickland was still throwing with force behind all of his strikes as time expired as the veteran middleweight earned his fourth win in a row overall.
While he wasn’t ready to call anybody out after his win, Strickland should start looking at ranked competition in the near future, especially with the way he’s been looking in his past few wins at 185 pounds.
“I just like being a UFC fighter,” Strickland said. “Every day I wake up and I’m grateful. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as I’m in that octagon, I’m happy.”