Sean O’Malley of Helena had his UFC 276 fight declared a no contest.
Los Angeles Israel Adesanya defeated Jared Cannonier by majority decision to defend his middleweight championship in the main event of UFC 276 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. His performance was professional but unspectacular.
The judges gave the contest scores of 49–46, 49–46, and 50–45.
Throughout the fight, Adesanya’s better striking was clear to see. Adesanya kept Cannonier at a distance and dismantled him with body and leg kicks and punches while Cannonier managed to land nothing particularly noteworthy.
The absence of exciting action made the crowd restless, especially during the fourth round, which was characterised by booing and supporters waving lit-up cellphones. But Adesanya, a former champion kickboxer, was not forced into anything approximating a firefight by Cannonier. Adesanya, on the other hand, was satisfied to successfully hit blows with his length from a distance so great that Cannonier was unable to block them.
In all, Adesanya out-struck Cannonier 163 to 141, including a 116 to 90 advantage in critical strikes. The third round was awarded to Cannonier by judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo, but that is it. According to referee Sal D’Amato, Adesanya won all five rounds.
Adesanya praised Cannonier’s coach, John Crouch, saying, “They had a fantastic game plan.” “It was incredibly difficult to start my follow-ups.”
Adesanya was No. 3 on ESPN’s pound-for-pound ranking as the match began. Adesanya was ranked first at middleweight, followed by Cannonier at No. 3.
Alex Pereira, who defeated Sean Strickland on Saturday’s undercard, may be Adesanya’s next opponent. Pereira has defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing, once by way of knockout.
Adesanya addressed Pereira, saying, “The first time I told you it was an error on my behalf spamming the right hand.” This happened in kickboxing.
The following time I punch you, you’ll be wearing skates and will be frozen like Elsa. That’s all I’ll say.
Pereira criticised Adesanya for his performance in the post-fight press conference, calling it unsatisfactory for the audience.
“I hope he fights better than that when we fight,” Pereira remarked.
Adesanya acknowledged having a “bad night,” discovering it during the fight.
He said, “Perhaps when I couldn’t find my power shots. “My leg kicks, initiators, punches, and kicks were effective. But I was unable to locate my power.
Adesanya (23-1) has a 12-0 record in the UFC at 185 pounds, where he is unbeaten. The New Zealander, who is of Nigerian descent, had just defeated Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision at UFC 271, back in February.
After Whittaker and the 32-year-old Adesanya united the middleweight championship in 2019, Adesanya successfully defended it five times. Adesanya’s lone professional MMA defeat came in a weight-up match against Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 276 in March 2021. Since the loss, “The Last Stylebender” has won three consecutive.
Adesanya joins Kamaru Usman, Anderson Silva, and former middleweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as the fourth fighter in UFC 276 history to win 12 matches in a single weight division.
Coming in, Cannonier (15-6) has won five of his previous six fights and two in a row. The Arizonan had just defeated Derek Brunson in the second round of UFC 271. The 38-year-old Cannonier has won matches in the heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight weight classes. Prior to this past Saturday, Whittaker was the only middleweight to defeat him.
Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of WWE, as well as his daughter Stephanie, the interim CEO, and her husband, former WWE wrestler and current executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque, were there for the main event. The former NFL punter Pat McAfee and WWE CEO Nick Khan were also present in the cage.
They witnessed Adesanya’s exit in character as WWE icon The Undertaker, but they missed the most thrilling battle. Cannonier struggled to get close enough to Adesanya for blows or takedowns because of Adesanya’s ability to keep her at a distance. In the third, fourth, and fifth rounds, Cannonier attempted clinch work and takedowns but had little to no success.
Adesanya declared, “I’m not going to endanger my brain or my health.” “I actually do that. However, I won’t act foolishly only for the amusement of a few inebriated people.”