AMERICAN UFC star Sean Strickland pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history after defeating Israel Adesanya to claim the middleweight title at UFC 293 in Sydney.
The 32-year-old won by unanimous decision after dominating his opponent for five rounds.
Strickland dropped Adesanya in the first round and kept him on the back foot for the remainder of the fight.
The judges all scored the clash 49-46 in favour of the California-born star.
After being handed the belt, Strickland said: “What is this? What is this?
“Am I f***ing dreaming. Am I going to wake up? Someone hit me… I don’t cry much but I’m trying to keep my s*** together right now.”
He also credited the crowd at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney for helping him across the line.
The American added: “I’ve got to say, the fans in Australia, you guys motivated me. Not even joking around.
“When I’m walking in here and I heard you guys yelling. In that fourth round I heard you guys yelling it f***ing fuelled me.
“I want to thank you guys for this win. It motivated me. Thank you Australia.”
Spectators hailed the outcome as one of the biggest shocks in MMA history, with one person tweeting: “Feel very comfortable saying this seconds later: Matt Serra has company.
“That’s one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.”
UFC superstar Conor McGregor was also quick to congratulate the new middleweight champion.
He tweeted: “The ‘spar only’ method crowns the new ufc middleweight world champion.
“Well done Sean. Unlucky Izzy. Two quality operators as well as complete opposite characters facing off, where else would you get it. Incredible! What a sport. What a company! @ufc is King.”
Adesanya, 34, was originally due to face Dricus Du Plessis on Saturday following his win over Robert Whittaker in July.
However, Du Plessis had to pull out of the fight due to injury, meaning Strickland was handed a shot at the title.