International Fight Week is capped off with a championship doubleheader at UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier, that features middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defending his belt at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The co-headliner showcases two of the greatest featherweight fighters in UFC history, champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway. In their third meeting in as many years, Volkanovski hopes to prove yet again that there’s no match for him at 145 pounds.
The rest of the card features rising stars as well as UFC legends looking to make a splash in UFC’s annual premier event. As fight night approaches, here are five reasons to tune in to UFC 276.
Israel Adesanya Can Earn Fifth Middleweight Title Defense
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has made a name for himself since starting his UFC career in February 2018 as one of the sport’s premier strikers. Lapping the top contenders in the division, defeating both former champion Robert Whittaker and current No. 3 contender Marvin Vettori twice, Adesanya was hoping for a contender to rise through the ranks and challenge him for the belt.
That man is Jared Cannonier, the No. 2 contender riding a two-fight win streak whose recent stride earns him his first shot at the title. Known for his physical toughness and knockout capability, Cannonier’s power transitioned well from his time at heavyweight, where he once weighed in at 241 pounds.
Main Event Preview | UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!
Main Event Preview | UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier
Adesanya’s opponents have fallen into a similar trap where they wait for “The Last Stylebender” to make a mistake; however, the consistency in his movement and effective counterstriking seems to lull fighters into rather lackluster performances. Most notably in his bout against Paulo Costa, Adesanya was able to find the target repeatedly without taking any damage for two rounds before his striking proved too much for Costa to handle.
Both fighters come into this matchup with goals in mind. Cannonier can earn gold for the first time in his UFC career and become the first person to dethrone Adesanya since he unified the title against Whittaker in 2019.
Adesanya has an opportunity to match or pass Anderson Silva with the most knockdowns in middleweight history, where he sits one short of “The Spider’s” record of 12. He is also two behind Silva for most consecutive victories in the middleweight division.
Volkanovski vs Holloway Trilogy
Two of the featherweight division’s very best meet for the third time in three years. Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway first met in the Octagon in 2019 at UFC 245: Usman vs Covington. At the time, then champion Holloway was coming off three title defenses, including two wins over UFC legend Jose Aldo.
Volkanovski was able to do what no other Holloway opponent had done for nearly six years: outbox him. Going to the judges’ scorecards, Volkanovski had a slight advantage in the striking department, earning him his first UFC title.
Running through the division, defeating top contender after top contender for years, Holloway was given a well-deserved rematch seven months later. If you thought their first fight couldn’t be any closer, you’d be wrong. Through the opening 10 minutes, the striking statistics were almost completely even, 41-40 in Volkanovski’s favor.
Halfway through the fight, Volkanovski started to find his rhythm, landing more often and dealing slightly more damage. Neither fighter took a back step for 25 minutes but, in the end, “The Great” was able to do just enough to earn a split decision victory.
At UFC 276, Volkanovski has an opportunity to prove doubters wrong and further cement his claim as the best featherweight of all-time. On the flip side, Holloway can exact his revenge and become featherweight champion for the second time in his illustrious career.
Most Wins In UFC History On The Line
In unlikely circumstances, UFC favorites Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone will meet at UFC 276 in a welterweight bout. Not even two weeks ago, Both Miller and Cerrone had two separate opponents, on two different cards, three weeks apart.
Bobby Green, Miller’s original UFC 276 opponent, was forced out of their bout. A week earlier, Cerrone’s UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett opponent Joe Lauzon was forced out of his bout with a knee injury the morning of their fight. This was not the first time Cerrone and Lauzon had their fight cancelled, as Cerrone fell ill the day of their original bout in May at UFC 274.
UFC President Dana White scrapped the idea of a third attempt for Cerrone vs Lauzon, opening the door for “Cowboy” and Miller to meet for a second time at UFC 276, with Miller attempting to even the score with Cerrone, who defeated him in 2014. Spending most of their careers in the UFC lightweight division, both Miller and Cerrone agreed to meet at welterweight at UFC 276.
UFC 276 EMBEDDED: Episode One
The most compelling thing about this bout, however, is what’s at stake. Both fighters are currently tied with Andrei Arlovski with 23 total UFC wins. If the fight can avoid a no contest or draw, one of these fighters will walk away as the winningest fighter in UFC history.
The “Sugar Show’s” First Top 10 Opponent
Sean O’Malley has received slack over his five-year UFC tenure for not fighting a Top 10 opponent despite boasting a 7-1 UFC record with five finishes. Earning six bonuses in the process, O’Malley has bided his time and now feels ready to break into the division’s elite with a bout against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276.
The current No. 10 ranked contender, Munhoz has won only one of his last five fights, but has fought bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo, three of the UFC’s most accomplished 135-pounders.
Munhoz should be one of O’Malley’s biggest tests to date, stylistically. Munhoz’s wealth of wrestling and grappling experience could play a large role in the outcome if he can get O’Malley to the ground, something we haven’t seen too often.
O’Malley, per usual, will have a sizable reach advantage. For someone who is so diverse yet lethal on the feet, this could pose problems for “The Young Punisher” the longer the fight stays upright.
With a win, O’Malley can break into the bantamweight top-10 and continue making his climb for the title.
Potential No. 1 Contender Middleweight Bout
In the featured bout of UFC 276’s main card, No. 4 ranked Sean Strickland faces rising star Alex Pereira. Strickland is riding a six-fight win streak, including Top 10 wins against Uriah Hall and Jack Hermansson.
One of the most efficient boxers currently in UFC, Strickland is one of the few elite middleweights that champion Adesanya has yet to fight. So, if Strickland and Adesanya both win their respective bouts at UFC 276, there’s a good chance we’ll see them square off in the Octagon soon.
For Pereira, it’s unlikely that one win against a ranked opponent only three fights into your UFC career gets you a title shot. However, there was one rare circumstance just last month where a fighter cashed in on a title fight only three-fights into their career. Jiri Prochazka.
So, it’s not impossible given the recent circumstances, especially considering Pereira’s past with the current champion when they crossed paths in their kickboxing careers. Making such a huge jump in level of opponent, a win will surely spark a callout for the title from Pereira, and an impressive win may just get him one.
UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier took place on Saturday, July 2, 2022 live T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!