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Elizeu Zaleski Points Out The Wrong Strategy Of Israel Adesanya

10 months ago By Sports Desk

Not many people picked Sean Strickland to beat Israel Adesanya before his surprising victory at UFC 293. But Elizeu Zaleski, the first man to knock him out in MMA, thought it was possible.

Zaleski, who stopped then-welterweight Strickland at UFC 224 in 2018, said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that Adesanya paid the price for choosing the one strategy that wouldn’t work against someone like Strickland.

“I saw a very simple game. Adesanya knocks people out with counterattacks, not by attacking. His attacks are to score points. It’s dangerous when he retreats, we saw it against [Alex Pereira] ‘Poatán’. And if you advance against Strickland, that’s exactly what he wants, that’s what he does best.

“[Adesanya] didn’t work with angles, he didn’t throw hooks. He just fought where [Strickland] is good. There were many ways [to win] and one thing she shouldn’t do, and that’s exactly what she did, she fought where [Strickland] is good.”

Israel Adesanya

Zaleski joked that “it’s always good to see your kids grow up and take over the world,” adding that “I cheer for the guys I fight because that ends up elevating me too. “I was rooting for him to win this fight and everything worked out well for him.”

The Brazilian fighter understands why some people would still have Strickland as the underdog in an eventual rematch with Adesanya despite his dominant win in Sydney, but said he would favour the American against many of the UFC’s top middleweights, such as Robert Whittaker. However, Zaleski added that the winner of Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev, who will be contested at UFC 294 on October 21, could emerge as a nightmare for Strickland. In the end, he said, Strickland’s potential for a long reign at the 185-pound class “depends on who he fights next.”

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