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Matt Brown struggling to get excited about UFC 293’s main event: ‘The odds are lucky to be -600’

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UFC 287: Pereira v Adesanya 2 Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It’s highly doubtful UFC 293 will go down as one of the biggest pay-per-view cards in 2023.

Despite a return to Australia, which has continuously served as a top drawing spot for the promotion, the upcoming card on Saturday lacks a lot of star power beyond the main event where UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his title against Sean Strickland. Even that fight doesn’t exactly jump off the page after Adesanya was originally expected to clash with top-ranked rival Dricus Du Plessis, but the South African suffered an injury that prevented him from competing in September.

In stepped Strickland, who boasts just a 2-2 record in his past four fights, with his latest win coming against an opponent in Abus Magomedov, who has only two total bouts on his entire UFC resume. As a result, Adesanya is an overwhelming 6-to-1 favorite to win, according to Draft Kings, which takes away some of the anticipation that usually surrounds a main event of this magnitude.

“I don’t see a ton [of hype],” UFC welterweight Matt Brown said about the fight on the latest episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer. “He’s a -600 favorite, I looked at the odds today. I don’t think there’s a ton of hype behind this. I don’t think anyone was really begging to see Strickland to go fight Adesanya.”

Because upsets happen so frequently in MMA, Brown can’t completely discount Strickland even if it doesn’t seem like his chances are great to beat Adesanya.

Brown believes the best path to victory for Strickland really comes down to varying his attacks to keep the reigning UFC middleweight champion guessing. If he fails to do that, Brown doesn’t see Strickland finding much success, especially during a five round fight with an experienced veteran like Adesanya.

“I recognize I’m reaching,” Brown said. “I’m trying to find a way to make this fight interesting. When you talk about Adesanya rematching [Alex] Pereira, part of what we felt in the air a little bit was Adesanya is a smart, cerebral fighter. He’s a ninja. He can adjust his s***. He can figure things out and find ways to do things. He game plans, he strategizes, he does all those things. Sean Strickland does not or has not.

“Maybe what I’m reaching for here is [Sean Strickland] strategizes a little different. We know he has a good ground game. Maybe he’s got something we haven’t seen before. We’re all expecting the same Sean Strickland we’ve seen in however many 10 or 15 fights. I’m saying I think he has the ability — whether he’s got the brains I don’t know — but I think he’s got the ability to maybe pull some new tricks out of his sleeve. I recognize I’m reaching.”

Strickland shares two common opponents with Adesanya — Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier — and the always outspoken middleweight contender lost to both. Those setbacks don’t define how Strickland might be able to surprise Adesanya, although Brown concedes it just seems unlikely.

That’s why the fighter with the second most knockouts in UFC history just doesn’t expect the UFC 293 main event to set the world on fire outside of Adesanya potentially pulling off a spectacular finish.

“Maybe I’m trying to reach just to make it interesting,” Brown said. “This f****** sport, it’s f****** ridiculous. Adesanya’s proven he’s a f****** dog. The odds are lucky to be -600. I’d probably put it closer to -800 to -1000. He’s going to walk through Strickland most likely. It’s probably not going to be overly exciting.”

Brown admits he’s been wrong in the past and perhaps Strickland will shock the world. But he just doesn’t expect that to happen, which deflates a lot of the potential interest in the fight.

“I’m stretching. I know that,” Brown said. “I’m trying to find a way to be interested in this fight because I agree with you. On paper, in all theory and all hypothetical scenarios I see is Izzy making a pretty easy night out of this, getting a big payday, having a great party in Sydney, Australia and going home with maybe a couple busted up knuckles is the worst injury he’s got to deal with.”

Listen to new episodes of The Fighter vs. The Writer every Tuesday with audio only versions of the podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Stitcher

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