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Israel Adesanya outpoints Jared Cannonier to retain UFC middleweight title

It’s Vegas time! Jared Cannonier was stopped by a unanimous decision from Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 276 on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The scorecards read 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45, respectively.

Adesanya’s striking prowess was on display throughout the fight. Adesanya kept Cannonier at a distance and picked apart his opponent with jabs and kicks to the torso and legs, landing nothing significant on him.

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In the fourth round, which was punctuated by booing and fans raising lit-up smartphones, the crowd became impatient with the absence of exciting action. Cannonier, a former champion kickboxer, did nothing to force Adesanya into a fight. Adesanya, on the other hand, was happy to deliver his attacks from such a long distance that Cannonier was unable to respond.

In total, Adesanya had a 163-141 advantage in strikes landed on Cannonier, including a 116-90 advantage in important strikes. A unanimous decision by judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo saw Cannonier advance to the third round. Sal D’Amato gave Adesanya a clean sweep in each of the five rounds.

An superb game plan was credited to Cannonier’s coach, John Crouch by Adesanya. “I had a hard time getting my follow-ups going at first.”

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On ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, Adesanya was placed No. 3. With Adesanya at No. 1, Cannonier was ranked at No. 3.

With Alex Pereira knocking out Sean Strickland on Saturday night’s undercard, Adesanya might face him in the main event. Adesanya has been knocked out twice by Pereira in kickboxing.

Adesanya informed Pereira, “The first time I told you it was an error on my behalf spamming the right hand,” he added. You know, I’m talking about kickboxing.

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When I hit you again, I’ll have you on skates and you’ll be frozen like Elsa when I do. “That’s all I have to say.”

Pereira slammed Adesanya’s performance in the post-fight press conference, claiming it was unsatisfactory for the fans.

I hope that when we go toe-to-toe, Pereira will put on a better show than that.

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As Adesanya revealed after the fight, he had a “off night,” and he was aware of it at the time.

The man answered, “Maybe when I couldn’t locate my powerful shots.” Initiation kicks, jabs, and leg kicks were all effective. “However, I couldn’t find the strength within myself.”

Unbeaten in UFC competition at 185 pounds, Adesanya’s (23-1) record is at 12-0. In February, the Nigerian-born New Zealander defeated Robert Whittaker by majority decision at UFC 271 in Las Vegas.

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After unifying the middleweight title with Whittaker in 2019, Adesanya, 32, has successfully defended his title five times in the ring thus far. At UFC 259 in March 2021, Adesanya lost to Jan Blachowicz, who was heavier than him, in the UFC light heavyweight championship match. A three-game winning streak has followed for “The Last Stylebender” following the setback last month.

welterweight Kamaru Usman, former middleweight champ Anderson Silva, and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov have all won 12 fights in a single weight class.

When he entered the ring, Cannonier (15-6) had won his previous two bouts and five of his previous six. The native of Arizona has just defeated Derek Brunson in the UFC 271 main event. Heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight are the three weight classifications in which Cannonier has successfully completed fights. Whittaker was the only middleweight opponent he has lost to before to Saturday’s bout.

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Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of WWE, was in attendance, as was Stephanie McMahon, the interim CEO, and her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, a retired WWE wrestler and current WWE executive. Nick Khan, the CEO of WWE, and Pat McAfee, a former NFL punter, were both cageside at the event.

Adesanya’s walkout as WWE veteran The Undertaker was witnessed by the crowd, but the battle itself was not particularly thrilling. He couldn’t get inside Adesanya’s reach for attacks or takedowns, and Adesanya held Cannonier at a distance. In the third, fourth, and fifth rounds, Cannonier attempted clinch work and takedowns but had little success.

As Adesanya put it, “I’m not going to endanger my brain or my health.” It’s a fact of my life. But I’m not going to do something stupid for the sake of amusing a few inebriated people.”

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