Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of UFC 293 from the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The card was headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya, attempting to mount the first title defense of his second UFC middleweight title reign against Sean Strickland. After closing out 2022 with a pair of losses to Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier, Strickland got back on track in 2023 with decisive wins against Nassourdine Imavov and Abus Magomedov. With Adesanya already holding wins over the vast majority of the top-ranked middleweight contenders, it was decided that Strickland would challenge Adesanya for the title next, given that Strickland was the highest-ranked contender that Adesanya had yet to defeat (with the exception of Dricus Du Plessis, who would have faced Adesanya on this card if not for an undisclosed injury). In the co-main event, fan favorite Tai Tuivasa faced Alexander Volkov in a heavyweight matchup. The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Laura Sanko, and Daniel Cormier.
- Kevin Jousset def. Kiefer Crosbie by rear naked choke at 4:49 of Round
- Gabriel Miranda def. Shane Young by rear naked choke at 0:59 of Round 1
- Charles Radtke def. Blood Diamond by unanimous decision (29-27 all)
- Nasrat Haqparast def. Landon Quinones by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Jamie Mullarkey def. John Makdessi by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Chepe Mariscal def. Jack Jenkins by verbal submission at 3:19 of Round 2
- Carlos Ulberg def. Da Woon Jung by rear-naked choke at 4:49 of Round 3
- Tyson Pedro def. Anton Turkalj by KO at 2:12 of Round 1
- Justin Tafa def. Austen Lane by TKO at 1:22 of Round 1
- Manel Kape def. Felipe dos Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Alexander Volkov def. Tai Tuivasa by Ezekiel choke at 4:37 of Round 2
- Sean Strickland def. Israel Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46 all) to win the UFC Middleweight Championship
KEVIN JOUSSET (8-2, 170.5) VS KIEFER CROSBIE (10-3, 170.85) – WELTERWEIGHT
Crosbie found success attacking the body of Jousset early in the fight, often throwing them mid-combination as he threw heavy combinations through Jousset’s guard. Jousset responded with a number of leg kicks, working his jab as well in order to back Corsbie off of him. The leg kicks quickly began to add up for Jousset, allowing him to press forward as Crosbie’s movement slowed, but Crosbie began swinging wildly to back Jousset off of him. Jousset took Crosbie down at the end of the round and locked in a rear naked choke in seconds, forcing Crosbie to submit.
WINNER: Kevin Jousset by rear naked choke at 4:49 of Round 1
Crosbie was the aggressor in the opening minutes, finding a great deal of success by throwing his strikes in combination, right through Jousset’s guard. As the round progressed, however, Jousset was able to slow Crosbie’s attack with leg kicks and soon started going on the attack himself, utilizing his jab to great effect. Ultimately, Jousset was able to take the fight to the ground and quickly secured the submission, securing the first-round finish in his UFC debut. This marked the first submission win of Jousset’s career, and he called out Ian Garry after his win.
SHANE YOUNG (13-7, 149.75) VS GABRIEL MIRANDA (16-6, 144.95) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Young missed weight by 3.75lbs, and was fined 30% of his purse as a result.
Young began the fight with a strong right hand but was taken down just moments later. Miranda started working from the back of Young, and he locked in a rear naked choke in seconds, choking Young unconscious.
WINNER: Gabriel Miranda by rear naked choke at 0:59 of Round 1
Young missed weight by a drastic amount, but Miranda opted to face Young regardless, and his gamble paid off, and he finished Shane Young in less than a minute here. Young pressed forward to begin the bout, but Miranda wasted little time in taking the fight to the ground, where he immediately locked in the rear naked choke that finished the fight. There is not much to break down from such a quick fight, but this was certainly an impressive finish, and Miranda is now 1-1 in the UFC following this win.
BLOOD DIAMOND (3-2, 170.25) VS CHARLES RADTKE (7-3, 170.3) – WELTERWEIGHT
Radtke pressed Diamond up against the cage after a wild start to the fight on the feet, with both fighters throwing some heavy strikes. Blood Diamond successfully defended Radtke’s attempts to bring the fight to the ground, but the fighters spent a considerable portion of the round wrestling up against the cage. With two minutes remaining in the round, the fighters separated, but Radtke changed levels and took Diamond down with a double leg. Diamond quickly returned to his feet, but was held up against the cage until the final seconds of the round. 10-9 Radtke.
Radtke began the second round with a pair of one-twos, but he was kicked low as he stepped in for another attack, leading to a slight pause in the action. When the fight resumed, Radtke rocked Diamond badly with a pair of left hooks, and he flurried forward to finish the fight. Radtke was throwing wildly, dropping Diamond at one point, but Diamond was able to weather the storm, and he wrapped Radtke up against the cage in order to buy himself time to recover. Eventually, the fighters were separated due to inactivity, but Radtke brought Diamond right back to the cage after the fighters were separated, holding him there until the final seconds of the round. 20-18 Radtke.
Diamond pressed forward to start the final round, tagging Radtke with a hard elbow before wrapping him up in the clinch against the cage, where Radtke quickly took dominant position. An inadvertent low blow from Diamond resulted in the fighters being separated while Radtke was given time to recover. The earlier elbow from Diamond had caused significant swelling above the right eye of Radtke, but it was not impacting his vision, and when the fight resumed, Radtke brought the fight right back to the cage. Diamond caught Radtke with yet another accidental low blow, and this time, referee Herb Dean opted to take a point from Diamond. The fighters wrestled up against the cage for the remainder of the fight, and this one went the distance. 29-27 Radtke.
WINNER: Charles Radtke by unanimous decision (29-27 all)
The crowd was not pleased by the decision, and Radtke did not react well to the boos, dropping a homophobic slur just seconds into his post-fight interview, which resulted in Daniel Cormier quickly ending the interview. It was a sour note to end what was a solid performance from Radtke, who was clearly the more well-rounded fighter here, utilizing his grappling ability to neutralize Diamond’s offense throughout the bout, holding him up against the cage for a sizable portion of each round. This was far from the most entertaining fight, but I agreed with the judges’ scorecards, and Radtke picked up the win here in his UFC debut, although his tasteless post-fight interview overshadowed his performance.
NASRAT HAQPARAST (14-5, 155.85) VS LANDON QUINONES (7-1-1, 155.75) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Haqparast pressured forward throughout the first round, throwing heavy hooks right through the guard of Quinones. Quinones did his best to block Haqparast’s shots and attempted to throw his strikes down the middle whenever he created separation, but Haqparast continued to press forward, and his heavier combinations of hooks were winning him this round. Quinones opened up a cut beneath the right eye of Haqparast, and he was starting to slow Haqparast down with his consistent attack to the lead leg, but I still thought that Haqparast did enough offensively to take this opening round on the scorecards. 10-9 Haqparast.
Haqparast ate another heavy leg kick at the start of the second round, and instantly shot for a takedown as a result. Quinones defended the attempt, and the fighters brawled against the cage momentarily, before Haqparast unsuccessfully shot for another takedown. Haqparast’s movement was compromised, so instead of utilizing constant forward movement as he did in the previous round, Haqparast held his ground, throwing lengthy combinations with significant power. A left hook seemed to hurt Quinones, but if he was stunned, Quinones recovered quickly and went right back to attacking that lead leg of Haqparast to slow his attack. This was a very close round, but once again, I gave the slightest of edges to Haqparast, based largely on the power in which he was landing. 20-18 Haqparast.
The fighters touched gloves to start the final round. A left hand from Haqparast seemed to hurt Quinones, but once again, he recovered quickly. The output of Quinones was still impressive by this final round, but his fatigue was evident by his body language, and the body shots from Haqparast were not helping that matter, as Haqparast would continuously attack the body whenever Quinones’s guard was high. The fighters threw down for the entirety of this third round, just as they did the prior two, and once again, I thought that Haqparast’s power was the difference maker, and I scored the round in his favor. 30-27 Haqparast.
WINNER: Nasrat Haqparast by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
This was a very entertaining fight. Both fighters fought at a high pace for fifteen minutes, trading heavy strikes at a fairly even rate. Haqparast initiated the majority of the exchanges, pressuring forward with lengthy combinations, as Quinones did his best to limit Haqparast’s movement with leg kicks. It looked as though the leg kicks were slowing Haqparast down by the start of the second round, but he pushed through the pain, and Haqparast ultimately won every round of this fight with his forward pressure and numerous heavy hooks. It was a strong performance from Haqparast, who had not fought for just over a year going into this one, but I thought this was an equally impressive performance from Quinones, who made his UFC debut here on just a week’s notice.
JAMIE MULLARKEY (16-6, 155.35) VS JOHN MAKDESSI (18-8, 155.1) – LIGHTWEIGHT
The first round was a bit of an extended feeling out process, with Mullarkey attempting to work his jab to the head and body of Makdessi, as Makdessi looked to close the distance by doubling up his jab whenever he stepped forward. Mullarkey found success attacking the lead leg of Makdessi throughout the round, doing significant damage to Makdessi’s right leg. Makdessi caught Mullarkey with a solid right hand in the round’s final minute, which was arguably the biggest shot of the round for either man. 10-9 Mullarkey.
The second round played out in a similar fashion. The output was not overwhelming by either fighter, but that is not to say they were inactive either, with both fighters landing at a fairly consistent rate from distance. Mullarkey was doing a better job of striking in combination, and I thought he was landing the better shots as a result, but a straight right hand from Makdessi caught Mullarkey on his way in, late in the round, and Mullarkey was knocked down momentarily. While I thought that Mullarkey was narrowly winning the round before the knockdown, the shot from Makdessi was likely enough to earn him what was otherwise a close round. 19-19.
Mullarkey began the final round aggressively, much to the crowd’s delight. Makdessi was still looking to tag Mullarkey with shots down the middle, and he found some success catching Mullarkey on his way in. Mullarkey’s aggressiveness in this third round benefitted Makdessi’s counter-based offense, and Mullarkey was bleeding heavily from his nose as a result of all the shots that Makdessi landed down the middle throughout the round. Makdessi ended this final round strongly, and I scored the round in his favor. 29-28 Makdessi.
WINNER: Jamie Mullarkey by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I scored the bout for Makdessi, but this was a very competitive fight. Mullarkey initiated the majority of the exchanges, finding early success with his jab while managing the distance well. As the fight wore on, Makdessi began to find his range, stepping in and landing numerous heavy jabs and straight right hands, which eventually led to significant damage to the face of Mullarkey, who looked like a different human being by the end of the final round. I gave the second round to Makdessi based largely on the late knockdown, but it’s entirely fair to give that round to Mullarkey as well, given that he was ten seconds away from comfortably taking it, and did not seem to be in significant danger of being stopped following Makdessi’s big moment. Mullarkey improved to 5-4 in the UFC as a result of this win.
JACK JENKINS (12-2, 145.85) VS JOSE MARISCAL (14-6, 1 NC, 145.85) – FEATHERWEIGHT
It did not take long for Jenkins to start attacking the legs of Mariscal with his heavy kicks. The fighters traded quick strikes in the clinch, before breaking apart, where Jenkins landed a number of short hooks. Mariscal was finding his own offense by lunging in with lead right hooks, but Jenkins seemed to be getting the better of him on the feet, consistently finding success with his counters, catching Mariscal repeatedly as he pressed forward.
Mariscal switched up his strategy in the second round, wrestling Jenkins against the cage. Jenkins did a good job of defending Mariscal’s attempts to take the fight to the ground but was unable to create the separation that he was looking for, resulting in Mariscal racking up a solid amount of control time against the cage. Eventually, Mariscal threw Jenkins down to the ground, but Jenkins posted with Mariscal’s weight on top of him as the fighters went down, resulting in his elbow dislocating in a brutal fashion, and the fight being stopped.
WINNER: Jose Mariscal by verbal submission (arm injury) at 3:19 of Round 2
Jenkins looked solid throughout the first round, mixing up his striking well to get the better of Mariscal on the feet. Towards the end of the first round and into the second, Mariscal changed strategies, opting to grapple with Jenkins against the cage, which led to considerable success as he was able to land a number of short strikes while keeping Jenkins trapped with his back to the cage. The fight-ending injury was quite brutal, and the fight was thankfully called immediately, but it was certainly an unfortunate one for Jenkins, who took his first UFC loss as a result, after an impressive 2-0 start in the promotion. Jose Mariscal improved to 2-0 in the promotion as a result of this win.
CARLOS ULBERG (8-1, 204.7) VS DA-UN JUNG (15-4-1, 205.3) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
The fighters traded leg kicks throughout the opening minutes of the fight, as both men attempted to gauge their opponent’s timing. A short combination of straight punches from Ulberg resulted in a knockdown, which was the most significant moment of the round by a wide margin. Jung recovered and continued to press forward, attacking the lead leg of Ulberg, but this was a fairly clear round for Ulberg after the knockdown. 10-9 Ulberg.
Jung continued to attack the lead leg of Ulberg in the second round. Ulberg worked his jab in response while circling Jung, and I thought that his strikes to the head of Jung were doing more damage than the leg kicks that Jung was offering in response. On occasion, Jung would swing heavy hooks toward Ulberg, but Ulberg was able to avoid the majority of Jung’s big shots, and would land with power whenever he stepped in with his own attacks. 20-18 Ulberg.
Jung went on the attack in the final round, perhaps with the knowledge that he was in need of a finish. Ulberg’s movement continued to trouble Jung, and his jab was lighting Jung up on the feet, landing it with ease. Jung took the fight to the ground with two minutes remaining in the bout, but Ulberg popped right back to his feet and secured a takedown of his own with time running out in the round. Ulberg landed strong ground and pound from Jung’s back, and he sunk a rear naked choke in with time running out in the round, forcing Jung to submit.
WINNER: Carlos Ulberg by rear naked choke at 4:49 of Round 3
Initially, referee Herb Dean missed the tap from Jung and the fight went on until the final horn sounded, but upon further review, Jung clearly submitted from the rear naked choke, and the result was overturned to a submission win for Ulberg. I thought this was a very strong performance from Ulberg, who out-struck Jung on the feet with ease throughout the fight, before securing the late finish on the ground. He has now won five consecutive fights after dropping his UFC debut, and he has finished his last four opponents as well. After his win, Ulberg called out former UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Dominick Reyes.
TYSON PEDRO (9-4, 205.45) VS ANTON TURKALJ (8-2, 205.35) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Turkalj began the fight with a heavy leg kick, and he continued to throw them as he pressed forward, putting Tyson Pedro on the backfoot. Pedro responded with a wide right hand that hurt Turkalj, and he just swarmed Turkalj with strikes, eventually overwhelming and dropping him with another right hand. Pedro wasted no time in following Turkalj to the ground and finished the fight with a heavy ground-and-pound shot.
WINNER: Tyson Pedro by KO at 2:12 of Round 1
Turkalj seemed to be getting the better of the action on the fight early, chipping away at the lead leg of Pedro, but Pedro quickly turned the tables with a heavy right hand that hurt Turkalj, and from that point onward, it was one-way traffic for Pedro until he eventually secured the finish. It was a strong knockout victory for Pedro, who is now 3-1 since he returned from his three-year absence due to knee injuries following his loss to Shogun Rua in 2018. All three of those wins since his return have come by way of first-round knockout.
JUSTIN TAFA (6-3, 1 NC, 265.2) VS AUSTEN LANE (12-3, 1 NC, 242.3) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Tafa and Lane fought earlier this year, but the bout was called off in twenty-nine seconds after Tafa was left unable to continue following an accidental eye poke.
In comical fashion, Lane accidentally poked Tafa in the eye less than thirty seconds into the bout, but this time, Tafa was able to continue fighting after a pause in the action. When the fight resumed, the fighters started swinging wildly, and a left hand from Tafa dropped Lane hard. Tafa followed Lane to the ground, and quickly finished the fight with ground-and-pound strikes.
WINNER: Justin Tafa by KO at 1:22 of Round 1
When the fight was momentarily stopped following the eye poke, I think everyone flashed back to the previous meeting between the two, but thankfully, Tafa seemed unaffected by this one, and the bout continued. It did not take long for Tafa to find a home for one of those heavy hands of his, and when he landed, Lane went down hard, ending this fight quickly. I do not imagine that we will be seeing a trilogy bout between these fighters anytime soon, and both men will now move on after spending a considerable portion of this year training for one another. Tafa has now gone unbeaten throughout his last four fights and has certainly turned things around after a 1-3 start to his run in the promotion.
MANEL KAPE (18-6, 126) VS FELIPE DOS SANTOS (7-0, 1 NC, 125.4) – FLYWEIGHT
Kape dropped Dos Santos in the opening minute of the match with a left hand, but Dos Santos quickly returned to his feet and returned fire, backing Kape off momentarily. Dos Santos caught a kick from Kape and took the fight to the ground, but Kape quickly took top position before allowing Dos Santos to return to his feet. A spinning elbow from Kape caught Dos Santos on his way in, but he took the shot well, and Dos Santos unsuccessfully attempted to take the fight to the ground. The fighters traded hard elbows and right hands to end the round. 10-9 Kape.
Dos Santos began the second round with a pair of solid right hands before Kape kicked the lead leg of Dos Santos out from under him. Kape found a home for a quick right hand, prompting Dos Santos to respond with one of his own. A counter left hook from Kape seemed to rock Dos Santos, but he recovered quickly and continued to press forward. The fighters traded heavy shots, with Kape seemingly getting the better of the exchange, ending the round strongly. 20-18 Kape.
Kape caught Dos Santos with a counter right hand to start the fight’s final round. Dos Santos knew that he was likely behind on the scorecards, and started flurrying forward wildly in an attempt to turn the fight into a brawl, it led to considerable success as he was tagging Kape repeatedly, but Kape was landing at an equal rate, and Kape just seemed to be packing more power into his punches, stopping Dos Santos in his tracks whenever Dos Santos attempted to extend his combinations. In the final seconds of the round, Kape took the fight to the ground, ending the bout in top position. 30-27 Kape.
WINNER: Manel Kape by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Kape was clearly the more skillful striker, and he had the edge in power as well, but Dos Santos was relentless with his forward pressure, and created offense for himself consistently throughout the bout, tagging Kape with strong straight punches. With that being said, Kape was consistently able to counter Dos Santos on his way in, showcasing remarkable hand speed and timing, and I thought he won every round of this fight, as competitive as it was. After his win, Kape called out Kai Kara France and used a homophobic slur in the process, which was becoming a disturbing theme on this card. Kape is now 4-2 in the UFC after this win, and he has won four consecutive fights.
TAI TUIVASA (14-5, 265.6) VS ALEXANDER VOLKOV (36-10, 262.9) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Volkov was countering Tuivasa well early in the fight, catching Tuivasa repeatedly with strong combinations as Tuivasa attempted to close the distance. Volkov’s bodywork in particular was impressive, and whenever he really dug into the body, Volkov was doing significant damage. As the round wore on, Tuivasa was getting closer to landing the big right hands he was looking for, as he was doing a better job of trapping Volkov against the cage, but a clash of heads dropped him momentarily, bringing a halt to the momentum that Tuivasa was building. Volkov ended the round with a lengthy combination that had Tuivasa shelling up on his feet, seemingly on the verge of being finished.
Tuivasa began attacking the lead leg of Volkov in the second round, attempting to limit Volkov’s movement. Volkov responded with a knee up the middle before landing a left hook, but Tuivasa took the shots well, remaining on his feet. A shot from Volkov caught Tuivasa off balance, and Volkov followed him to the ground, taking top position with three minutes to work. Tuivasa escaped to his feet and started pressing forward with wild hooks, but was quickly tripped back to the ground, where Volkov began to work from full mount. It was not long before Volkov caught Tuivasa with an Ezekial choke from mount, forcing Tuivasa to submit.
WINNER: Alexander Volkov by Ezekial choke at 4:37 of Round 2
Tuivasa had his moments throughout this fight, but this was largely a dominant performance from Alexander Volkov. Volkov’s height advantage is always a significant challenge for his opponents to overcome, but the leg kicks from Tuivasa were an effective weapon to slow Volkov’s movement, allowing him to close the distance with some heavy swings. Still, Volkov was getting the better of Tuivasa on the feet, landing lengthy combinations to the head and body, leaving Tuivasa frozen in place multiple times throughout the first round as he attempted to defend himself. Eventually, Volkov brought the fight to the ground, where he held a significant advantage over Tuivasa, leading to the impressive Ezekial choke finish. Volkov has now won his three last fights, finishing all three of his ranked opponents throughout that stretch.
ISRAEL ADESANYA (24-2, 184.8) VS SEAN STRICKLAND (27-5, 184.9) – UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The fighters did not touch gloves to start the main event. Adesanya circled Strickland, picking him apart with kicks, as Strickland attempted to close the distance. A straight right hand from Strickland caught Adesanya with his back to the cage, and he shelled up momentarily as Strickland attempted to punch around Adesanya’s guard. A huge right hand from Strickland dropped Adesanya hard in the round’s final minute, and Adesanya was in deep trouble here, but he managed to survive Strickland’s late flurry, making it to the second round. 10-9 Strickland.
Adesanya continued to attack the lead leg of Strickland in the second round but was not landing many shots to the head of Strickland. Strickland’s unique guard seemed to be giving Adesanya trouble, but the leg kicks were being landed at will, as Adesanya circled the cage, mixing in the occasional shot to the body as well. Adesanya finally landed a big right hand to the head of Strickland, but Strickland just ate the shot and moved forward, looking to catch Adesanya as he did in the first round. 19-19.
Adesanya did not switch up his game plan by the third round, circling Strickland with leg kicks. Neither fighter was landing much in combination, but defensively, both fighters were doing a good job of avoiding the other’s bigger strikes. They exchanged right hands at one point, and Strickland caught him with a strong left hand moments later. Strickland caught Adesanya with a body shot before going up top with a left hook, ending the third round strongly. 29-28 Strickland.
Strickland caught Adesanya with a hard left hand early in the fourth round and pushed forward with a combination of strikes as Adesanya shelled up against the cage. Strickland was doing good work mixing up his attack to the head and body, and Adesanya was not offering much in response, getting backed into the cage repeatedly. While this was not the most action-packed round, I thought Strickland did the better work throughout, and this was a fairly clear round in his favor in my mind. 39-37 Strickland.
The fifth round played out much like the previous rounds of this fight, with Strickland walking Adesanya down, throwing out his short combinations effectively while taking very little damage in return. The crowd seemed to be actively booing Adesanya’s performance at times, and Adesanya was just not showing the urgency he needed to in order to win this fight. Strickland was landing the harder shots, and his forward pressure kept Adesanya on the backfoot until the fight’s conclusion. I thought that this was another round for Sean Strickland, and I scored this fight in his favour. 49-46 Strickland.
WINNER: Sean Strickland by unanimous decision (49-46 all) to win the UFC Middleweight Championship
This was a tremendous performance from Sean Strickland. His forward pressure kept Adesanya on the retreat throughout the entirety of the fight, and Adesanya never really got going offensively, only really finding consistent success with his kicks to Strickland’s leg. Strickland’s awkward guard prevented Adesanya from landing many strikes to the head of his opponent, while Strickland was consistently able to find his target by pressing forward with straight punches, catching Adesanya repeatedly with his back to the cage. This will go down as one of the bigger upsets in terms of title fights in UFC history, and Sean Strickland is now the UFC Middleweight Champion, ending Israel Adesanya’s second title reign before he could mount a single successful defense. It is tough to say who Strickland’s first title challenger will be coming out of this, but among your top contenders are Dricus Du Plessis, who was originally scheduled to fight for the title here, Jared Cannonier, who holds a recent victory over Strickland, and Adesanya, who is a big enough star that the UFC may opt to give him the immediate rematch. Regardless of who challenges Strickland for his title first, this result has opened the middleweight division back up, and there will be no shortage of challengers looking to get another shot at UFC gold now that Adesanya has been dethroned.