Former UFC title challenger Jared Cannonier put on one of the best performances in middleweight history on Saturday when he set a new division record for hits in a single fight against Marvin Vettori in Las Vegas.
Cannonier (17-6) hit 241 significant hits during the five-round event, beating the previous record of 186 set by Sean Strickland against Uriah Hall in July 2021. Despite all that offense, Cannonier couldn’t quite become the first man to sideline Vettori in the UFC, but he did get the dominant judges’ scores of 49-45, 49-45, and 48-46.
The 39-year-old middleweight said he’s taken a more aggressive approach since last year, when he was criticized for his underperformance in a failed title fight against Israel Adesanya at UFC 276.
“After the Adesanya fight, my goal was to improve my performance,” Cannonier said after the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Apex. “Most punches in middleweight history? I take this notch on my belt.”
The feat was made even more impressive by the fact that Vettori (19-6-1) shook Cannonier violently several times in the first round with his left hand. Visibly shaken by the gunfire, Cannonier recovered very quickly and maintained relative control for the remainder of the fight. In the second round he bled Vettori’s nose and in the third round he opened up a gash under his left eye. He ended the 25-minute fight at the top, throwing dangerous hammerfists out of Vettori’s cover.
Cannonier, who was the UFC’s No. 4 middleweight division until Saturday, has improved to 2-0 since losing to Adesanya.
“I want to have the title shot (next),” Cannonier said. “That’s why I’m here, to get the title. I know they already have a contender game planned.” [between Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis on July 8]but I’m ready to step in if something happens in this fight, or start a fight that will give me a title shot.
The total of 241 significant strikes, regardless of league, is the fourth all-time in UFC history. Former featherweight champion Max Holloway holds the all-time record of a total of 445 punches in a single bout.
Vettori falls to 2-3 in his last five appearances. He has alternated wins and losses, dating back to his own failed title shot against Adesanya in 2021. The 29-year-old Italian was gracious about the defeat and congratulated Cannonier on his victory.