Both men were hoping to inch a step closer to a title shot, or make a statement and get a title fight in their next outing. The fight went the distance with neither fighter displaying that they’re more deserving than the other higher ranked contenders in the division.
Strickland was able to get the win and extended his winning streak to six consecutive fights. He’ll move up in the rankings, but won’t likely be leapfrogging anyone to a championship bout.
Hermansson landed first in the opening round with a leg kick. Strickland utilized his jab and fended off a takedown attempt. Hermansson employed a heavy leg kick offense while Strickland stuck to his boxing.
Hermansson looked to get the fight to the ground in the early going of the second frame, but Strickland’s takedown defense proved too much. Strickland comminuted to land his jab and scored a knockdown in the final seconds of the round.
The replay showed that Hermansson was off balance and the punch didn’t land clean, but Strickland was clearly winning the striking exchanges.
Strickland stuck to his boxing strategy through the fourth and fifth rounds only deviating from the game plan in the final moments of the fight. He taunted Hermansson. “In the middle,” he shouted.
After five rounds of fighting, the judges scored the bout for Strickland by split decision. Although, he seemed to be in control in the entire fight and landed at a significantly higher percentage.
Despite putting on a boxing masterclass, Strickland wasn’t happy with his performance.
“I was being a pansy. I should have stayed in the pocket and throwing them like I did at the end, but maybe I let the pressure get to me,” Strickland said following the win. “I think I just let the win bonus get the better of me. I fought like a chump that fight. Sorry guys. I should have stayed in the pocket and thrown more. Lesson learned. It won’t happen again.”