June 25, 2024

DALLAS, TEXAS - JULY 30: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria attends UFC 277 at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Israel Adesanya anticipates the crowning of a new middleweight champion at UFC 297 this upcoming weekend.

The main event on January 20 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto will feature Sean Strickland (28-5) defending his title against Dricus Du Plessis (20-2). Despite Adesanya’s respect for Strickland, whom he has lost to before, “The Last Stylebender” predicts that du Plessis will become the champion through a submission victory.

Adesanya expressed his prediction on his YouTube channel, stating, “I’m going to go with Dricus. Is it going to go the distance? I’m going to say no. Not that I don’t respect Sean or his skills; the guy beat me. Of course, I respect his skills. I’ll say [submission]. He’ll submit him.”

Originally, Adesanya was slated to defend his title against du Plessis at UFC 293 in September. However, due to an injury, Strickland stepped in as a replacement on short notice. In a surprising turn of events, “Tarzan” delivered an impressive defensive striking performance, securing a significant upset victory via decision.

Adesanya has created uncertainty about his return, initially suggesting a lengthy hiatus but later retracting that statement. While he hasn’t outlined a specific timeline for his comeback, reports indicate that the former champion will be in attendance at the Octagon-side when Strickland defends his title against du Plessis.

“Dricus is likely to initiate wrestling early on. He’ll engage in stand-up initially, employing his off-beat rhythm and other tactics. However, he might face jabs from Sean in the first round, compelling him to shift focus to grappling. Sean’s jab is underrated, a fact I never underestimated, but I realized it after our fight. During the fight, I had some personal issues distracting me, preventing me from figuring it out quickly. I was preoccupied with self-conscious concerns unrelated to him,” Adesanya explained.

Israel Adesanya Gives His Prediction for UFC 297 Main Event

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