Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, is gunning for his fifth consecutive 185-pound title defense against one of his most dangerous opponents to date, Jared Cannonier, tonight (Sat., July 2, 2022) in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 276, which is taking place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Adesanya has had his eye on Cannonier for some time now, eager to test his striking skills against the gritty, hard-hitting former Light (Heavyweight). And with wins over former champions Robert Whittaker (twice) and Anderson Silva, as well as Marvin Vettori (twice) and Paulo Costa, the list of worthy challengers has shrunk considerably since “The Last Stylebender” arrived on UFC’s scene.
The elephant in the room, of course, is Alex Pereira, who holds two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing (see the knockout here) and is seemingly up next after toppling Sean Strickland earlier this evening (recap here).
But, let’s not put the cart before the horse: Cannonier is a brick-fisted, worthy challenger who has the ability to turn UFC’s grand plans upside-down with one punch. Only time will tell, and the good news is that UFC 276’s PPV main event starts now!
Live updates will began to flow below the moment the two fighters made their way to the Octagon ...
Cannonier, the challenger, was the first to make the cage walk. Then it was time for the
The Undertaker champion to head to the Octagon — in the only way he knows how — and get squared up:
Both fighters refused to touch gloves, with Cannonier bulked up and ready to rock after waiting for that lengthy walkout. Izzy with a low kick to start the action as Cannonier tries to back him up against the cage. Another low kick from Izzy, with Cannonier missing on a looping right. Inside low kick from Cannonier, then a front kick as Izzy tried to line him up. Outside calf kick from Izzy, then a shovel uppercut off his back foot. Both fighters trade kicks, with Izzy using his length to score early with jabs and low kicks. One minute to go in the round and Cannonier appears to be a bit frustrated, unable to get anything going offensively besides about 10 leg kicks. Front kick from Izzy, then a fast right hand at the buzzer. Good round for the champ, but not much action overall.
Cannonier whiffed on an early low kick as Izzy tried to line him up early for an attack. Izzy with a head kick that was partially blocked, continuing to feint like crazy, leading to a hard straight left hand that snapped Cannonier’s head backward sharply. Cannonier put his head down and tried to charge in after about two minutes, but still couldn’t really get anything going. They trade low kicks, with Izzy scoring with a shot the the belly, followed by a crisp combination upstairs. Cannonier faked a takedown, then uncorked a right hook that grazed Izzy’s nose. Izzy fired back with a hard head kick, which was blocked, then a hard right hand. Cannonier landed a hard jab then was rewarded with a pretty bad eye poke, requiring referee Herb Dean to pause the action briefly. Both fighters fist pumped on the restart, with Izzy picking up right where he left off. Nice leg kick from Izzy, which he followed with a flurry to the head. They exchanged some words as they both headed to their corners. Izzy up two headed into the third round more than likely.
Izzy started with a heavy low kick and Cannonier responded with a hard counter. Izzy floated a lazy jab and Cannonier ducked under and grabbed a single-leg, but he could not complete his first takedown attempt. Inside leg kick from Izzy, with Cannonier whiffing on a monster right hook moments later. Cannonier finally got inside on a takedown, mushing Izzy up against the fence and getting in some dirty boxing before he was able to spin out. Izzy uncorked a question mark kick, but it didn’t do much. Nice hard jab from Cannonier, then another, just missing with a combination immediately afterward. Overhand right from Cannonier, which he used to once again press Izzy up agains the fence. Cannonier drilling Izzy with knees in the clinch, content to just sit there and score some points before the round concluded — his best round thus far.
Championship rounds are underway, with Cannonier likely down on the scorecards by at least two frames if not more. Izzyu with a hard calf kick, then a blistering jab straight down the pike. Hard kick to the midsection from Izzy, with Cannonier now trying to fight off his back foot. Solid right hand from Cannonier, but he’s chasing the champion around the cage at this point just to touch him. Cannonier finally caught him and mushed him back into the fence, but the position was short-lived. Nice right hand from Cannonier on the restart that got Izzy on his horse. Low kick from Cannonier, but he whiffed on the follow up hook upstairs. Cannonier once again was able to tie up, but he couldn’t do much with the position once again.
Cannonier’s corner basically told him he needed a finish to achieve his dream ... and they weren’t wrong — good advice. But, easier said than done against a superior technician like Adesanya sitting on a comfortable lead. He landed an early body kick, but Izzy was nowhere to be found for a secondary shot. Stiff jab from Izzy snapped Cannonier’s head back, followed by a lead elbow. Nice straight left from Cannonier, then a right hook as he dipped under a cross. Hard inside elbow from Izzy as Cannonier tried to close the distance, then midway through the round, he wants again got a tie up along the fence. But, once again, couldn’t do anything with the position. He attempted a single-leg, but Izzy wasn’t having it, stinging Cannonier with a jab on the break. Cannonier responded with two nice punches, but Izzy was quick to tie him up. Izzy was on the offensive late, but neither man could close the show with a finish.
Final result: Adesanya def. Cannonier via unanimous decision (49-46x2, 50-45) — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS!
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