Israel Adesanya is still the UFC middleweight champion. Saturday in Las Vegas, the Nigerian naturalized New Zealander won on points, unanimously by the three judges (49-46, 49-46, 50-45), against the American Jared Cannonier, during the UFC 276.
While the fight was unspectacular, Adesanya nonetheless dominated his opponent. The defending champion was superior in striking and also managed to keep Cannonier at bay. The latter did not have the opportunity to penetrate inside Adesanya’s length and did not land any significant shots or push his opponent to his limits.
Adesanya facing Pereira soon?
The performance of the two men did not delight the public, who began to whistle during the fourth round. Israel Adesanya signed his 23rd victory in the UFC (against a loss). He is still undefeated at middleweight (12 successes in as many fights).
Adesanya could now face Brazilian Alex Pereira, for a sixth defense of his belt (which he has held since 2019). The two men have already fought, but in kick-boxing, and Pereira had won twice, including once by knockout. I had made a mistake and it was in kickboxing, next time you will dance “Adesanya promised on Saturday.
Holloway hit hard by Volkanovski
In the featherweight category, Alexander Volkanovski also retained his title. The Australian beat on points, also unanimously from the judges (50-45 three times), the American Max Holloway. Volkanovski was defending his belt for the fourth time. And it was also the third clash between the two men.
In 2019 and 2020, Alexander Volkanovski had already won, but very narrowly. And some observers had given Holloway more credit. A feeling that disappeared on Saturday, as the Australian’s domination was strong this time. According to UFC stats, Volkanovski landed 204 strikes, compared to his rival’s 161.
Holloway moved forward throughout the fight but struggled to land consistent attacks, breaking his teeth on Volkanovski’s very good defensive work. The incumbent champion also hurt his opponent, causing a deep cut to his left eyebrow in round two and damaging his nose with a series of blows in round four.
Volkanovski would move up to lightweight
Alexander Volkanovski thus won his 22nd consecutive victory and the 12th in the UFC. He became the fourth UFC fighter on Saturday to have won his first 12 fights in the discipline’s premier league, joining Brazilian Anderson Silva, Nigerian Kamaru Usman and Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Finally Volkanovski is the third UFC fighter to have beaten the same opponent three times, after the Americans Frankie Edgar (against BJ Penn) and Tito Ortiz (against Ken Shamrock). The Australian could now move up a category and officiate at lightweight. But before that, a possible new defense of his featherweight title would await him against the winner of the match Brian Ortega – Yair Rodriguez, which will take place on July 16.