Israel Adesanya easily defeated Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 to defend his middleweight belt. The champion punched through his fourth title defence during the five-round main event while scarcely losing steam.
The ‘Last Stylebender’ won the battle by a unanimous decision after receiving scores of 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45 from the judges. In his most recent contest, Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision which took place at UFC 271, in February.
In one of his most extravagant entrances, Adesanya brought an urn to the cage in tribute to WWE great The Undertaker.
And as Cannonier swung and failed with an overhand right in the opening rounds, the champion adopted a kick-heavy strategy.
By the third round, Cannonier’s right eye had already begun to swell, yet as the title fight neared its midpoint, the challenger began to fight more forcefully. Adesanya escaped the danger after he managed to pin him to the cage.
At the start of the fourth session, Adesanya, who was still in control, sent Cannonier another precise jab that made Cannonier’s head jerk back.
Midway through the round, the challenger managed to land a single right hand, but after that, his hits were few and far between as the crowd started to get restless once more.
To the dismay of the 19,000 spectators inside the T-Mobile Arena, Adesanya chose to coast through the final five minutes. Cannonier however had gone slower and couldn’t help losing out his title chance.
Before Cannonier’s loss to Adesanya, he had won five of his six fights, and his victory over Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson had earned him a step at the crown.
“He had an excellent gameplan; it was really hard to get my follow-ups going, my second phases going,” said Adesanya after his win, before calling out bitter rival Alex Pereira who holds two wins over the champion, although in the kickboxing ranks.
“You know who’s next,” continued Adesanya. “The first time, I told you, was an error on my part. Next time I put you on skates, you’re going to be frozen like Elsa. I’ll leave it at that.”
The victory over Cannonier further solidifies Adesanya’s reputation as one of the finest fighters to ever enter the Octagon; he now has twelve straight victories as a middleweight in the UFC, one more than Anderson Silva’s record.