LAS VEGAS — Israel Adesanya peeked into a proverbial crystal ball at Thursday’s UFC 276 press conference. Behind him on the podium were Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira, two middleweights on this weekend’s undercard.
The winner of this fight will likely be next in line for Adesanya’s middleweight title – and “The Last Stylebender” spent more time verbally going back and forth with Strickland and Pereira than his actual next opponent.
Before Adesanya can open the door to his next challenge, he must successfully defend his UFC middleweight title against Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 headliner at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. And the hard-hitting Cannonier isn’t one to look past, even though Adesanya is a -490 favorite according to Caesars.
Adesanya is one of the best fighters in the world. ESPN ranks him #3 in the world on its pound-for-pound list. At middleweight, Adesanya is #1 and Cannonier is #3.
Adesanya (22-1) is unbeaten at 185 pounds, a perfect 11-0 in the UFC in this weight class. The Nigerian-born New Zealander claimed a unanimous decision win over rival Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 in February. Adesanya, 32, has four successful middleweight title defenses to his name after unifying the belt with Whittaker in 2019. His only Pro-MMA loss was in weight gain for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March 2021.
Cannonier (15-5) has won two in a row and five of his last six. The Arizona native defeated Derek Brunson at UFC 271 in the second round. The 38-year-old Cannonier has finished fights in three different weight classes: heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight. His only middleweight loss came in 2020 against Whittaker.
In the co-main event at UFC 276, Alexander Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title in a trilogy bout against former champion Max Holloway. Volkanovski and Holloway are among the best featherweight fighters in UFC history. ESPN has Volkanovski ranked 4th in the world pound-for-pound rankings and Holloway ranked 6th on that list.
Volkanovski (24-1) has won 11 straight UFC fights and 21 in a row overall. The Australian native has three successful title defenses after winning the belt from Holloway in 2019. Volkanovski, 33, has beaten Holloway twice, most recently a narrow win at UFC 251 in July 2020.
Holloway (23-6) has won back-to-back losses against Volkanovski. Holloway, 30, held a version of the UFC featherweight title from 2016 to 2018 with three successful title defenses.
Also on the card, Strickland and Pereira will meet in a likely middleweight title eliminator. Strickland is one of the most prolific trash talkers in the division, while Pereira is 2-0 in kickboxing against Adesanya, including a KO win. Also, former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler takes on Bryan Barberena, and top bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley takes on veteran Pedro Munhoz in O’Malley’s toughest test yet.
Watch Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi recap the action in Las Vegas or watch the fights live on ESPN+ PPV.
Running fight: Middleweight: Uriah Hall (18-10, 10-8 UFC, +270) vs. Andre Muniz (22-4, 4-0 UFC, -340)
UFC 276 Results
Women’s Flyweight: Maycee Barber (11-2, 6-2 UFC) def. Jessica Eye (15-11 1 NC, 5-10 1 NC UFC) by unanimous decision
After a two-fight losing streak, Barber’s has now won three straight in the Octagon. After making her debut in the UFC in 2013, Eye announced her retirement during her post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. More from ESPN soon.
Women’s Bantamweight: Yulia Stoliarenko (10-7-2, 1-3 UFC) def. Jessica-Rose Clark (11-8, 4-4 UFC) by submission (Watch on ESPN+)
Stoliarenko of Lithuania earned her first win in four attempts in the Octagon when she quickly finished off Clark via the first-round armbar. The target came just 42 seconds into the fight. Stoliarenko is known for an evil armbar, and she wasted no time in finding him against Clark, as she defeated them instantly. Clark knocked quickly, but not fast enough. The armbar was applied so aggressively that Clark’s left elbow appeared to be dislocated before referee Chris Tognoni could intervene.
It’s Stoliarenko’s first win since March 2020. Clark 4-4 on aggregate in the UFC.
still to come:
Middleweight Championship: Israel Adesanya (c) (22-1, 11-1 UFC, -490) vs. Jared Cannonier (15-5, 8-5 UFC, +370)
Men’s Featherweight Championship: Alexander Volkanovski (c) (24-1, 11-0 UFC, -210) vs. Max Holloway (23-6, 19-6 UFC, +175)
Middleweight: Sean Strickland (25-3, 12-3 UFC, -120) vs. Alex Pereira (5-1, 2-0 UFC, +100)
Welterweight: Robbie Lawler (29-15, 14-9 UFC, -120) vs. Bryan Barberena (17-8, 8-6 UFC, +100)
Men’s Bantamweight: Pedro Munhoz (19-7 1 NC, 9-7 1 NC UFC, +250) vs. Sean O’Malley (15-1, 7-1 UFC, -310)
Lightweight: Brad Riddell (10-2, 4-1 UFC, +125) vs. Jalin Turner (12-5, 5-2 UFC, -150)
Welterweight: Jim Miller (34-16, 23-16 UFC, -190) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-16 2 NC, 23-13 1 NC UFC, +160)
Welterweight: Ian Garry (9-0, 2-0 UFC, -175) vs. Gabe Green (11-3, 2-1 UFC, +150)
Middleweight: Brad Tavares (19-7, 14-6 UFC, +130) vs. Dricus du Plessis (16-2, 2-0 UFC, -155)
(c) = Defending Champion
https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/34179506/ufc-276-israel-adesanya-vs-jared-cannonier-live-results-analysis UFC 276 — Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier, live results and analysis