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Morning Report: Alex Pereira reacts to ‘really smart’ Sean Strickland win over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293

UFC 276 Ceremonial Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Alex Pereira is happy to give Sean Strickland his flowers after a wild upset victory this past weekend.

It’s officially Strickland’s world, and we’re all just living in it post-UFC 293. The outspoken Anaheim, Calif. native walked down the now-former two-time champion Israel Adesanya on relatively short notice in — what was on paper enemy territory in Sydney, Australia — and came out with his hand raised via a stunningly impressive one-sided unanimous decision.

Odds and performance-wise, Strickland’s crowning moment is one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as he closed at +350 as an underdog to Adesanya’s -770 favorite. Just one year prior, Strickland was on the cusp of earning his first career title shot until he ran face-first into the brick-like punches of Brazil’s Pereira. “Poatan” went on to become a champion off the win and eventually linked up with “Tarzan” along the way. However, he doesn’t want to take any credit for the win despite the history he has with both of the division’s most recent title holders.

“I spent a few days training with Sean Strickland, and I got to see how talented he is,” Pereira said on his YouTube channel. “His strategies, how tough he is, I got a better understanding of this from training than actually fighting him. It was totally different because anyone who trains, who fights, knows how it is. During practice, we have more room to play around and that’s what I was able to pick up from him and that’s why I was so sure he was gonna win.

“Let me clarify, I had nothing to do with [his win], okay? He won on his own. It’s totally his success because he’s such a dedicated guy with a unique style and he really showed us what he’s got in his fight with Adesanya. So, the credit is all his. I had nothing to do with it despite the days he spent training with me. We didn’t train a lot but we had some good talks that might have made a difference. Not only for this fight but for his career in general and mine, too.”

Pereira dropped the title to Adesanya in the pair’s instant rematch at UFC 287 this past April. Ultimately, Pereira doesn’t believe a similar situation should play out between Strickland and Adesanya and he suggests his rival should take some time to rest and recover. As of right now, that appears to be the plan as Adesanya kept his appearance brief in the fight’s aftermath.

A critique throughout the community coming out of the event has been that Adesanya may not have fought his best or had an off night. UFC President Dana White even mentioned in the event’s post-fight press conference how he felt “The Last Stylebender” looked slow in the octagon. Pereira doesn’t find that fair to the new champion and believes it’s all just a stark reminder that styles truly do make fights.

“Clearly, Sean came in and shut his game down,” Pereira said. “He was really smart. He was moving forward all the time with an amazing defense and let’s not forget the precise strikes. He walked less, circled, and landed the best attacks. You all saw the result.

“I want to congratulate Sean Strickland. He did an amazing job and I’m really happy for the change in the division’s champion. I think Sean’s time has come and it’s not likely that another [to take it away]. So, let’s brace ourselves for many more epic fights. Despite some people’s skepticism, ‘Oh, he fought with Alex and it wasn’t like that.’”


Reflection. UFC 293: 7 biggest takeaways from a night in Sydney that won’t soon be forgotten

Assessment. Teddy Atlas offers theory on Israel Adesanya’s UFC 293 fall to Sean Strickland

Former. Israel Adesanya makes brief post-fight statement before quickly exiting UFC 293 press conference

Wild. Sean Strickland downplays UFC 293 upset of Israel Adesanya: ‘I run my mouth a lot, and people forget I can fight

Winning. Sean O’Malley dismisses Merab Dvalishvili title shot: ‘I knocked out Merab on Aug. 19

Chaos.Good finally defeated evil’: Pros react to Sean Strickland’s win over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293

Upcoming. UFC 294 main card announced for Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira 2

Problematic. Dana White addresses homophobic slurs used by fighters at UFC 293: ‘We make mistakes’

Confidence. Israel Adesanya coach: With ‘minor adjustments,’ we can win Sean Strickland rematch tomorrow

Nope. Daniel Cormier: Israel Adesanya should not get immediate rematch after UFC 293 upset

Next. Dana White calls for rematch after Israel Adesanya looked ‘flat and slow’ at UFC 293


UFC 293 Post-Fight Show.

On To the Next One.

Noche UFC hype.

Bellator middleweight KOs.

First-round KOs.

Full fights.

Powerhouse Playback: Aldrich’s knees.

War Room: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2.

Borz fight camp.

Arnold’s life.



Bam Bam.

Tough gig.





Safety first.



No. 3.


Good company.

Coach of the year?

And new.

New sleeve.



Charlie Campbell (7-2) vs. Alex Reyes (13-3); Sept. 16, Sept. 16

Thanh Le (13-3) vs. Ilya Freymanov (12-2); ONE Fight Night 15, Oct. 6

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (15-7) vs. Diana Belbiţă (15-7); UFC Vegas 80, Oct. 7

Alex Morono (23-8) vs. Joaquin Buckley (16-6); UFC Vegas 80, Oct. 7

Mohammad Yahya (12-3) vs. Trevor Peek (8-1); UFC 294, Oct. 21

Anshul Jubli (7-0) vs. Mike Breeden (10-6); UFC 294, Oct. 21

Jared Gordon (19-6) vs. Mark O. Madsen (12-1); UFC 295, Nov. 11


Has it settled in that Strickland is a UFC champion yet? Nope. Definitely hasn’t. What a silly “sport.”

Thanks for reading!


Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 87% of 455 total votes answered “Anderson Silva” when asked, “Who is the middleweight GOAT?

Thursday: 88% of 422 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Does Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland end in a finish?” Strickland defeated Adesanya via unanimous decision in the UFC 293 main event.

Wednesday: 43% of 568 total votes answered “Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkov” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Strickland defeated Adesanya via unanimous decision in the UFC 293 main event and Volkov defeated Tai Tuivasa via a second-round submission (Ezekiel choke) in the UFC 293 co-main event.

Tuesday: 62% of 367 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Would a Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera rematch go to a decision?

Monday: 24% of 278 total votes answered “Leonard Garcia 1” when asked, “What was your favorite Korean Zombie fight?

Today’s exit poll:


How many times will Sean Strickland defend the UFC middleweight title?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    (212 votes)
  • 36%
    (217 votes)
  • 17%
    (103 votes)
  • 2%
    (15 votes)
  • 8%
    (54 votes)
601 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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