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UFC

Adesanya beats Cannonier on autopilot at UFC 276

Israel Adesanya retained the middleweight belt against Jared Cannonier in a relatively straightforward duel, while Volkanovski cleared up any doubts by crushing Holloway.

Update:
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Israel Adesanya (L) of Nigeria punches Jared Cannonier in their middleweight title bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP
== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
Carmen MandatoAFP

The two stars of UFC 276 were highly anticipated, and perhaps that anticipation was more than what we ended up witnessing. Both Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski won on autopilot. They didn’t take any risks, but then again they didn’t need to because they were far superior. Adesanya perhaps had a slower pace, which could have detracted from the show.

Adesanya holds UFC middleweight

The Nigerian retained the UFC Middleweight Championship by winning on a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) over Jared Cannonier. Easy work and places something else on the horizon. It seemed that it could be difficult to find a rival, but the UFC has sold the future very well. Alex Pereira, who had just knocked out Sean Strickland on the same night, saw him glued to the cage. He knocked him out in kickboxing and a rematch is surely imminent. The paths of both seem clear.

“One thing I was looking forward to was facing Jared as an opponent,” Adesanya said after, “but the second thing I was looking forward to was John Crouch versus Eugene Bareman,” he said post-fight. Two great coaches, two great teams, and I’ll tell you one thing, they had an excellent game plan. It was really hard to get my follow-ups going because they had a good game plan.

“We know who’s next, that Poatan [Pereira]. Trust me. The first time, I told you, it was an error on my part spamming right hands and that was in kickboxing. Like I said at the press conference, next time I put you on skates.”

As for the bout against Cannonnier, Adesanya didn’t suffer. In the first three rounds he saw how his opponent did not attack too much and he had enough to control with the jab, put up an imaginary wall and hit from a distance. The first and second were a walk in the park, while in the third Cannonnier was a bit more courageous. Same as in the fourth, although Adesanya emerged once again on top. Could he have knocked out the Nigerian? Maybe, but the champion knew that he did not need to risk his legacy by winning well. He did it seamlessly and the question is already in everyone’s head. Have they found the middleweight champion’s Kryptonite?

Volkanovski clears doubts

Alexander Volkanovski banged on the table to settle any debate. Right now he’s much better than Max Holloway. After two close fights, in the final part of the trilogy the featherweight champion swept Hollo away. Triple 50-45 on the cards: he won all the rounds. It was a smooth ride. Despite being smaller, Volkanovski had mastered time and distance, so he threw the blows and saw that they were going to land with a very high degree of success. In addition, he counter-punched and moved with great mastery.

Holloway could never go the distance, he always took the punishment from Volkanovski, who bordered on perfection. The Hawaiian is tough, so the champion settled for a clear victory on points. Volkanovski pressed, but Max resisted without hesitation. A punishing for the former champion, who right now is far off Volkanovski’s level and after falling in the trilogy, the title opportunity will take a while to arrive.

On the other hand, the Australian pointed to his future. He would like to get on the light. After cleaning up the division, it should be his next stop.