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UFC 293: The final faceoff


Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight crown on Sunday.
Photo: Jonty Dine

The talk is now over and all that’s left for Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland is to fight.

The pair squared off for the final time at the UFC 293 ceremonial weigh ins at Qudos Bank Arena ahead of their middleweight title fight in Sydney on Sunday.

The Last Stylebender has been relatively quiet during fight week, in stark contrast to his brash and outspoken opponent.

Adesanya has said he would prefer to do his talking in the cage on Sunday.

The Nigerian-Kiwi has surprisingly received a largely negative reception from the Australian locals, who have adopted Strickland as their own.

Though the middleweight king said he harbours no dislike for Strickland, the two have had some heated exchanges in the lead up to the bout.

The rivalry kicked off at UFC 276 press conference where Strickland attacked Adesanya’s fashion sense and love of anime.

Carlos Ulberg UFC 293 in Sydney.

Carlos Ulberg UFC 293 in Sydney.
Photo: Jonty Dine

This escalated to Strickland dubbing Adesanya the “Chinaman,” a reference to his time spent as a kickboxer in the country.

“When I represent your country more than Izzy does, It’s easy to support me, we are going to have a war, I’m going to lose some brain cells for you guys.”

Adesanya vows to make Strickland regret his words.

“He may have bitten off more than he can chew, he definitely did when he f***** with me.”

The event marks a significant moment for New Zealand MMA and City Kickboxing with six of its fighters making the walk to the Octagon.

Shane Young missed weight at UFC 293 in Sydney

Shane Young missed weight at UFC 293 in Sydney
Photo: Jonty Dine

Tyson Pedro, Shane Young, Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha, Carlos Ulberg, Kevin Jousset and Adesanya all call the Mount Eden gym home.

Following the weigh-ins, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UFC, a Q&A was hosted by Jon Annik featuring the BMF champion Justin Gaetje, and Kiwis Dan Hooker and Kai Kara France.

Hooker said the feeling in the gym has been special in the build up to the card.

“It’s just been full of energy, makes me itch to get back, but i’ll be back in there in no time.”

Kara France has garnered headlines without even featuring on the card due to his altercation at the press conference with Manel Kape.

Both Kara France and hooker spoke of a desire to bring the UFC back to New Zealand.

“I would love the UFC to come to Auckland, maybe Kape and I can go in Auckland?”

The City Kick Boxing members predicted a quick knockout for Adesanya and a clean sweep for the gym.

Kevin Jousset UFC 293 in Sydney

Kevin Jousset UFC 293 in Sydney
Photo: Jonty Dine

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