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Who were the winners and losers at UFC 276?

There weren’t any surprises on the night, but there definitely was a lot of action as Israel Adesanya showed why he’s a UFC icon and Alexander Volkanovski put on a show.

Who were the winners and losers at UFC 276?
Stephen R. SylvanieUSA TODAY Sports

It was a night that saw the ‘Style Bender’ extend his unbeaten streak while the ever dangerous Alexander Volkanovski left no doubt as to just how good he is, but how did it all go down and who were the winners and losers? Let’s find out!

UFC 276 was worth the hype

For the 14th time this year the UFC returned to Las Vegas. The T-Mobile Arena was the venue for the first time since March and it didn’t disappoint with a 12-bout show that included five pay-per-view fights. The headliners were of course the two championship bouts which saw middleweight legend Israel ‘Style Bender’ Adesanya in his fifth title defense against No. 2 contender Jared Cannonier and featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski taking on the man he defeated to become champion, Max Holloway.

This was Adesanya’s sixth time headlining a UFC pay-per-view extravaganza since debuting back in 2018 and Volkanovski was making his seventh appearance on a pay-per-view card since he arrived on the fight scene in 2016. With that said, let’s get started with a look at just who the winners and losers were and how all the action went down!

Israel Adesanya is still unbeaten

Having successfully defended his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier, the championship reign of Israel Adesanya continues. The Style Bender won by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 276 and though some may have been surprised by the slower rhythm of the fight, it was without doubt another excellent performance from Adesanya.

With a record of 23–1 gave a glimpse of the confidence he’s riding from the moment he entered the arena. Wearing the Undertaker’s signature hat, holding the urn and playing his theme, the man of the moment couldn’t have planned his octagon entrance better given that WWE’s Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, and Pat McAfee were all sitting cageside. Indeed, they would have got a good look at the champion’s technique as he proceeded to put on a show. Where the fight itself is concerned, one could say that all rounds were competitive, but ultimately it was clear that Adesanya with his outside kicks and top tier takedown defense was always going to emerge victorious. For his part Cannonier (15-6) put in a solid effort, but Adesanya always seemed to be a step ahead.

Alexander Volkanovski silences the doubters

In the third fight of their trilogy - the last two were close - the Australian dominated Max Holloway completely. Volkanovski who boasts a recorded of 24-1 was dominant throughout against Holloway who now sits on a record of 23-6. Indeed, it was by unanimous decision that the featherweight champion won the fight. Volkanovski’s right hand was a factor in the opening round. Then there was his speed which was clearly a problem for Holloway for the majority of the first.

The second round provided what can be considered the key moment of the fight when Volkanovski opened up a nasty cut above Holloway’s left eye with yet another brutal right hand. Yet it should be said that it wasn’t just Volkanovski’s offense that was on show. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has some of the best defense in the sport and it was on show for all to see as Holloway constantly missed. In the end Volkanovski was always a step ahead and though Holloway tried a change of approach in the 5th, he was ultimately left with his face badly beaten and his right eye damaged.

It’s the big time now for Bryan Barberena

In what was undoubtedly the biggest victory of his career so far, Bryan Barberena defeated Robbie Lawler by TKO. Barberena (18-8) was constant as he put pressure on Lawler (29-16, 1 NC) throughout. True though it is that Lawler did do well in the initial stages with his jab, he was almost put down permanently by a step in elbow that preceded several fierce blows from Barberena. At 40 years of age Lawler came into the fight with just one win in his last five fights which critics may point to, but rest assured it was a solid win for Barberena who continues to progress in the welterweight division.

‘No Decision’ closes out O’Malley vs Munhoz bout

Though it will surely happen soon, it seems like Sean O’Malley will have to wait a little longer to announce his arrival in the top 10 of the bantamweight division. In what was an anticipated opening bout at UFC 276, O’Malley (15–1, 1 NC) was judged to have accidentally poked Pedro Munhoz in the eye which brought the fight to a ‘no-decision.’ It was just over three minutes into the second round when the eye poke occurred, leaving Munhoz (19–7, 2 NC) unable to continue. Needless to say fans were not pleased with the way the card opened, but one can imagine that it was even worse for O’Malley who was looking to move up and Munhoz who was searching for redemption after two consecutive losses.


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