Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya defended his middleweight championship with a unanimous victory over Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier. This was one of two championship fights that headlined a stacked card for International Fight Week. The card included Adesanya’s teammate Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski, who defended his featherweight championship against Max “Blessed” Holloway.
For the 14th year, UFC 276 was held in Las Vegas at the T-mobile Arena and was the biggest card of the year. This would be the sixth time Adesanya would be headlining a UFC pay-per-view since 2018. Adesanya showed on Saturday night that he is still the best 185-pound fighter on the planet. Adesanya arrived in the octagon with a classic and memorable walkout to WWE’s “Undertaker” theme song, paying homage to former star pro wrestler. The fight itself, however, was less than spectacular. Adesanya’s level of skill in the realm of striking was precise throughout the fight, keeping Cannonier at distance with long jabs and lightning-fast kicks to the body and the calf. Cannonier landed nothing of real significance to Adesanya, and because of this, the crowd booed due to a lack of exciting action. The judges scored the fight 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45, with Cannonier only being given the third round on the judge’s scorecards.
Adesanya in anticipation of this fight said that he would make Cannonier look easy. He said he would make his performance similar to the UFC legend Anderson Silva and his fight against Forest Griffen, who ended up getting knocked down three times in one round before eventually getting knocked out by a jab. Afterward, Adesanya admitted that he had an off night, saying “On my worst day I can kill the best man. I call that suicide. I had an off night tonight.” Adesanya also credited the gameplan of Cannonier and his coaches, admitting that it was hard to get the follow-up shots going.
Adesanya has separated himself as the middleweight king and is now No.3 on the pound-for-pound list for the best fighter in the world. He has a record of 23-1 and is 12-0 in the middleweight division. The 32-year-old Nigerian is now the fourth fighter in UFC history to win 12 fights in one weight class. Although he did it methodically, he makes no apologies for his approach. “I’m not going to risk my brain, risk my health,” Adesanya said. “I mean, I do that. But I’m not going to do it stupidly, just for the entertainment of some drunk folks.” Adesanya’s mind for fighting has made him one of the most dominant champions in UFC history.