UFC 276 went down last night (Sat., July 2, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring two title fights that highlighted a stellar pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the main event, Israel Adesanya retained his Middleweight title by defeating Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (see it here). In the co-headlining act, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway a third time to hold on to his Featherweight strap (watch highlights).
Winner: Israel Adesanya
Who He Should Face Next: Alex Pereira
It’s funny, Pereria wasn’t even ranked coming into his fight against Sean Strickland, and now he could very well compete for a world title in just his fourth UFC fight. That’s because “The Last Stylebender” called for the fight after “Poatan” iced Strickland in the first round. And the fact that the rivalry has a story already built-in because of their kickboxing history in which Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya — one of them a vicious knockout — the title fight pretty much sells itself.
Winner: Alexander Volkanovski
Who He Should Face Next: Josh Emmett ... Lightweight title fight?
After “The Great” put “Blessed” in his rear-view mirror for good, the Australian-born champion called for a chance to obtain "champ-champ" status by moving up to Lightweight to challenge for that strap. While he does have Dana White and UFC’s blessing — and it makes sense — the 155-pound championship picture is a bit murky at the moment. It’s all but signed, but a fight between former champion, Charles Oliveira, and Islam Makhachev is expected to go down later this year for the vacant strap, which means Volkanovski will have to wait quite a bit if he wants a shot at Lightweight gold. The next man up at 145 pounds is Josh Emmett, but as impressive of a roll he has been on, it’s not exactly a fight that interests Volkanovski (as far as name recognition goes). That said, if we are going via process of elimination, Emmett — ranked No. 4 — is likely next for “The Great.”
Winner: Bryan Barberena
Who He Should Face Next: Michael Chiesa
Bryan Barberena picked up his third straight win — his longest UFC streak — after stopping Robbie Lawler via strikes in round two. I usually hate it when we match up a streaking fighter against one in a slump, but I am rolling with a fight against Michael Chiesa for the simple fact that “Maverick” is ranked No. 11 at the moment and Barberena is simply trying to break into the Top 15. Chiesa is on a two-fight losing streak, but a win over him would likely vault “Bam Bam” into the rankings.
Not Winners: Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz
Who They Should Face Next: Each other
And, of course, as a result of the inadvertent eye poke that rendered Pedro Munhoz unable to continue in his fight against Sean O’Malley, the next logical step to take is book the rematch. We have to wait until Munhoz’s eye gets better, but that’s something that I’m willing to bet O’Malley won’t do. That’s because in his delusional mind he thinks he defeated Munhoz, when he lost the first round. I get it, it’s his shtick to say he has yet to lose (he has) and say he won a fight (which he didn’t), but it’s actually pretty lame.
For complete UFC 276 results and coverage click here.