Israel Adesanya defeated Jarred Cannonier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) to retain the UFC middleweight championship.
Adesanya fought against middleweight contender Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 at the T-mobile Arena, Las Vegas Sunday morning.
Since making his debut in 2018, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has looked better each time he’s stepped into the Octagon and is still undefeated in the middleweight. He first captured the interim title in the Fight of The Year winner against Kelvin Gastelum in 2019.
‘Izzy’ then defeated Robert Whittaker and unified the titles that same year.
He has successfully defended his title four times since then. On an otherwise perfect record for Adesanya (22-1), his only loss was during his unsuccessful step up to light heavyweight, losing to then-champion Jan Blachowicz.
On Sunday, the Nigerian-born New Zealander successfully defended his middleweight title for the fifth time.
While Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker in February for the second time to retain his middleweight strap, Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson in the second round in February to become the weight’s No.1contender.
In the last round on Sunday, Cannonier struggled to get a takedown while Adesanya was cautious as the crowd got restless.
Though Adesanya landed clean jabs, Cannonier fired back with a flurry of punches.
However, Cannonier failed to complete a takedown and lost by unanimous decision.
Cannonier landed a little right hand early in the round but Adesanya tagged him with a hard jab in round four.
Adesanya landed a heavy body kick and a two-punch combo behind it. Another right hand landed for Adesanya.
He then landed a left and ducked and spun under a wild shot from Cannonier. Cannonier grabbed another clinch along the cage but did nothing with it before Adesanya broke away and landed a leg kick.
Again, Cannonier clinched up along the cage while Adesanya landed a few inside punches.
Israel Adesanya went right back to the leg kicks before throwing a front kick that just missed Cannonier’s face.
For the first time in the fight, Cannonier shot but Adesanya threw him into the cage, easily avoiding the takedown. Cannonier missed with a sweeping hook.
Cannonier shot again and landed a right hand in the process.
He then stuck Adesanya against the cage, landing some good shots to the face and body in his best moment of the fight.
Adesanya came back with a hard jab and more kicks to the legs.
Cannonier connected with a left and right hand before Adesanya threw a four-strike flurry in return.
Cannonier then again drove forward with a clinch to stick Adesanya to the cage.
Adesanya landed a lot of short shots to Cannonier’s head while Cannonier held the clinch and kneed at the champ’s legs.
A better round for Cannonier but still likely one for the champ.
Adesanya landed a good early jab, continuing to use his length to keep Cannonier from getting inside.
Adesanya then missed a head kick but landed to the body.
Adesanya landed a few hard leg kicks and then a left hand to Cannonier’s face. Adesanya started to throw more kicks to the legs and body as Cannonier’s output started to drop.
Cannonier just missed with a big counter left hand.
Adesanya opened up with a few flurries of strikes before landing a solid combination that stumbled Cannonier.
Then came an accidental eye poke by Adesanya that led to a break.
Adesanya went back to work on the legs with kicks but Cannonier returned with some of his own.
Adesanya landed one last left hand before the end of the round.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier both threw leg kicks in round one without a touch of gloves.
Adesanya threw leg kicks and blocked Cannonier’s. A wild, winging overhand right was dodged by the champion.
Adesanya switched stances and twitches – not even fully feinting yet.
Cannonier missed with his first leg kick while Adesanya landed an early one of his own.
Both men were very hesitant early, but Adesanya landed a few left hands and more leg kicks as Cannonier stalked forward. Cannonier did land a few leg kicks after about a minute of action.
Adesanya landed a good body kick and used feints to keep Cannonier a bit unsettled. Adesanya started mixing his angles and strikes, but Cannonier did find a home for a few more leg kicks.
Cannonier ducked under an Adesanya head kick but did eat a left hand after.