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Israel Adesanya easily defends title in UFC 276 main event

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LAS VEGAS — Israel Adesanya retained his middleweight belt with a tepid unanimous-decision victory over Jared Cannonier within the UFC 276 most important occasion on Saturday night time at T-Cellular Enviornment on the Vegas Strip.

Within the co-main occasion, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway for the third time, defending his featherweight title by unanimous resolution with a dominant hanging efficiency.

Adesanya (23-1, 15 finishes) gained his belt three years in the past as one of many UFC’s most entertaining fighters and personalities, however his elaborate ring stroll might need been probably the most thrilling a part of his dry, technical victory over the cautious Cannonier (15-6, 12 finishes).

After copying famed skilled wrestler The Undertaker on a stroll that included the wrestler’s signature hat and a big urn, Adesanya patiently picked at Cannonier with kicks and occasional punches for 5 rounds. Cannonier, getting his first UFC title shot at 38 years previous, struggled to discover a constant hanging vary, and he didn’t present sufficient desperation to determine it out.

Israel Adesanya (left) and Jared Cannonier exchange during their middleweight title fight.
Israel Adesanya (left) and Jared Cannonier alternate throughout their middleweight title battle.
USA TODAY Sports activities

Adesanya gained on all three judges’ scorecards, 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46. He has by no means misplaced a UFC middleweight battle, however he has only one stoppage victory in his 5 185-pound fights since 2019.

“It was actually laborious to get going, as a result of that they had a superb sport plan,” Adesanya stated.

As for Volkanovski (25-1, 15 finishes), he prolonged his profitable streak to 22 fights with a commanding show towards Holloway (23-7, 12 finishes), the previous champion at 145 kilos. Volkanovski executed a pointy boxing sport plan towards one of many UFC’s greatest punchers, bloodying Holloway’s face early on and steadily growing the punishment into the ultimate minutes.

Holloway’s complete face was crimson on the ultimate bell. Volkanovski gained each spherical on all three judges’ scorecards, 50-45.

“Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” Volkanovski stated. “That depth that we each had, I wanted it. I actually wanted it. I needed to get in my very own head.”

The penultimate bout of UFC 276 concluded a memorable trilogy between possible the 2 biggest featherweights in UFC historical past exterior of long-reigning champ Jose Aldo. Volkanovski gained two extremely aggressive fights by resolution over Holloway in 2019 and 2020, however Holloway gained his subsequent two fights to reassert his declare to a different shot on the belt he held for 3 years.

Alexander Volkanovski
Alexander Volkanovski
USA TODAY Sports activities

Two proficient strikers understandably stored the battle on the ft, however the smaller Volkanovski capably closed the space to do harm within the first two rounds, significantly in opening a nasty reduce above Holloway’s left eye. Holloway’s solutions dwindled as his cuts grew bigger, and Volkanovski patiently racked up scoring pictures to depart little question within the resolution.

Afterward, Volkanovski stated he intends to maneuver up 10 kilos to battle for the light-weight title, which is presently vacant after champion Charles Oliveira missed weight for his victory over Justin Gaethje in Might.

Earlier than the title fights, Alex Pereira demolished Sean Strickland with strikes halfway via the primary spherical of a victory that burnished the Brazilian kickboxing champion’s standing as an instantaneous title contender at middleweight. Pereira showered and rushed again to the sector after his bout to observe the principle occasion.

Bryan Barbarena additionally stopped Robbie Lawler on strikes late within the second spherical of a brutal battle through which each veterans absorbed super punishment. After shedding the primary spherical on two judges’ scorecards, Barbarena ended it with a protracted flurry that started with a sequence of step-in elbows to interrupt down the protection of the 40-year-old Lawler, who had his first UFC bout in 2002.

Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone
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On the undercard, Jim Miller set a UFC report along with his twenty fourth profession victory, ending Donald Cerrone with a guillotine choke within the second spherical.

The 38-year-old Miller’s landmark victory broke his tie with Cerrone and Andrei Arlovski for the UFC’s profession wins mark.

“You’re by no means going to see the (mixed) numbers that got here into this battle ever once more, however I’m excited to get the W,” Miller stated. “That guillotine, I can do it in my sleep. I knew it was solely a matter of time.”

The 39-year-old Cerrone retired within the cage after the bout. Cerrone beat Miller of their first assembly in 2014, however Cerrone is now 4-10 since 2016 with a seven-fight winless streak.

Veteran flyweight Jessica Eye introduced her retirement after shedding a call to Maycee Barber. Eye, who turns 36 this month, fought for the 125-pound title in 2019, however has now misplaced 5 of six.