Despite earning a fairly one-sided decision with 49-46 unanimous scorecards, as well as a near knockout finish in the opening round, the Irish welterweight contends that Strickland didn’t do anything that really impressed him. Instead, Machado Garry points to Adesanya’s disappearing act over five rounds, in which he failed to execute his typical routine with the precise and devastating striking that’s helped him win eight title fights over his UFC career.
“I feel like Izzy lost the fight more than Sean Strickland won the fight,” Machado Garry said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I feel like there was a certain point in that fight where Izzy was afraid to lose more than he wanted to win. That is essentially meant that his efficiency, his output, his shot selection wasn’t as elite as it normally is and it gave Sean Strickland the opportunity for his awkwardness to have success, his constant pressure to have success.
“I feel like if you run that fight back, there’s no way Sean Strickland gets his hand raised again. That’s my opinion, but at the end of the day, Sean Strickland got his hand raised and I can never shoot a man for reaching his dream.”
When expanding on his thoughts about the fight, Machado Garry stated that nothing Strickland did was truly extraordinary. On the flip side, he said Adesanya just failed to pull the trigger over and over again, which then allowed Strickland to execute his game plan by marching forward and sticking a jab in the ex-champ’s face for the better part of five rounds.
“The truth is when you watch the fight back, what did Sean do that was elite?” Machado Garry said. “He threw a jab and threw f*** all kicks. So there was no wrestling involved, there was no kicks involved. There was a couple of punches every now and again and just constant pressure.”
Adesanya’s puzzling performance even left Dana White scratching his head. The UFC president said in Saturday’s post-fight conference that “The Last Stylebender” looked as if he was in “slow motion” throughout all five rounds against Strickland.
“I feel like if Izzy had the output that he usually does or the efficiency that he usually does [he would have won],” Machado Garry said.
“I can’t knock Sean for having a part of that awkwardness and that lack of efficiency from Izzy. Obviously his awkwardness played into the fight, but I just feel like Izzy wasn’t picking the shots he normally would. I think if they run that back, Izzy dominates.”
While he’s currently competing at 170 pounds, Machado Garry has teased interest in potentially exploring fights at middleweight in the future, so he’s already broken down how he would approach a fight with Strickland.
That’s at least part of the reason why he so heavily favors Adesanya in a rematch, because Machado Garry believes what happened this past Saturday night with Strickland was more of an anomaly than what would normally happen if those two clashed again.
“I know there’s no way on Earth that I wouldn’t have gone in there and picked him apart, and I know Izzy’s brain,” Machado Garry said. “I know the way it works.
“It’s output, it’s efficiency, and it’s shot selection. I feel like whatever it was, I think Izzy was just afraid of losing more than he [had] a will and a want to win.”