The T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Las Vegas, Nevada, will be packed to the rafters on July 2nd because the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be in town. UFC 276 sees a packed fight card highlighted by the UFC Middleweight Championship bout between current champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Jared Cannonier.
The fight will be Adesanya’s fifth UFC Middleweight title defense, and everything points towards him leaving Las Vegas with his belt in tow. Adesanya is an overwhelming favorite going into this fight, and it is extremely difficult to see any result other than an Adesanya victory.
Cannonier is a solid fighter and deserved his title shot, but the 38 year-old from Dallas, Texas, is not in the same league as the reigning champion.
Adesanya is a Beast of a Fighter
Adesanya is an absolute beast of a fighter, one who has held the UFC Middleweight belt since he won it and unified it by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October 2019. “The Last Stylebender” has since successfully defended his crown by defeating Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, and most recently, in February 2022, Robert Whittaker again.
Only one man has managed to prevent Adesanya from winning, and that was Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259. However, this was Adensanya’s light heavyweight debut, and this latest fight is back at the weight where Adesanya dominates.
The defending champion is not only number one in the middleweight division but is currently ranked no.3 in the UFC Pound-For-Pound rankings, with only Alexander Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman above him. Cannonier, on the other hand, is ranked second in the middleweight category but isn’t even in the top 15 in the pound-for-pound stakes.
Cannonier Has Earned His Right to a Title Fight
Cannonier is giving up 4 inches in height and almost 3 inches in reach when he steps into the octagon for his title shot. “The Killa Gorilla,” as Cannonier is affectionately known, goes into battle with a 15-5 record, with ten of those victories coming by way of knockout, not that being able to knock out opponents will help because Adesanya has never been out for the count. However, Adesanya must be wary of Cannonier’s power; otherwise, he could find himself flat on the canvas for the first time in his career.
Every UFC athlete is a warrior in their own right, but Cannonier showed immense grit and determination in his fight at UFC 254 against Robert Whittaker. Whittaker landed a heavy kick to Cannonier’s arm during the first round, which, unbeknownst at the time, broke Cannonier’s arm! However, Cannonier battled on and took the fight to the final bell, losing by unanimous decision.
Cannonier came back strong almost a year later when he defeated Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision. The last time he fought, at UFC 271 in February 2022, Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson with a killer elbow in the second round, earning him the Performance of the Night bonus.
While it is likely Cannonier will put up a good fight, Adesanya will likely be far too much for him to handle. Four of Adesanya’s last five contests have gone the distance, but that is not going to happen this time around.
It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for Adesanya to stop this fight in the first round, but there is no way on this planet that the reigning champion won’t get the job done before the fifth round; there’s a reason the online sportsbook have their odds so one-sided, because the fight will be precisely that.