LAS VEGAS — In a medical, albeit unspectacular, efficiency, Israel Adesanya outpointed Jared Cannonier by way of unanimous resolution in the primary occasion of UFC 276 on Saturday night time at T-Cellular Area.
The judges scored the bout 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45 for Adesanya.
Adesanya’s superiority in placing was evident all through the bout. Cannonier landed nothing of actual significance with Adesanya conserving him at a distance, choosing him aside with jabs and kicks to the physique and legs all through.
The gang grew stressed with the shortage of thrilling motion, particularly within the fourth spherical, which was marked by boos and followers holding up lit-up smartphones. However Cannonier did nothing to push Adesanya, a former champion kickboxer, into something resembling a firefight. Adesanya, in the meantime, was content material with safely touchdown strikes together with his size from to this point out that Cannonier couldn’t counter them.
“They’d a superb gameplan,” Adesanya mentioned, giving credit score to Cannonier’s coach, John Crouch. “It was actually exhausting to get my follow-ups going.”
Coming in, ESPN had Adesanya ranked No. Three on this planet on its pound-for-pound record. At middleweight, Adesanya was ranked No. 1 and Cannonier is No. 3.
Subsequent up for Adesanya could possibly be Alex Pereira, who knocked out Sean Strickland on the undercard Saturday. Pereira owns two kickboxing wins over Adesanya, together with one by knockout.
“The primary time I instructed you it was an error on my half spamming the fitting hand,” Adesanya mentioned, directing his feedback to Pereira. “That was in kickboxing. … Subsequent time I punch you, you may be on skates and also you’re gonna be frozen like Elsa. I will depart it at that.”
Adesanya (23-1) is undefeated at 185 kilos, posting a 12-Zero file within the UFC in that weight class. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident was coming off a unanimous resolution win over rival Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 in February.
Adesanya, 32, has 5 profitable middleweight title defenses after unifying the belt with Whittaker in 2019. His lone professional MMA loss was up in weight, for the UFC mild heavyweight title towards Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March 2021. “The Final Stylebender” has gained three straight since that defeat.
Cannonier (15-6) had gained two in a row and 5 of his final six coming in. The Arizona resident was coming off a second-round knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 271. Cannonier, 38, has completed fights in three weight divisions: heavyweight, mild heavyweight and middleweight. His solely middleweight loss earlier than Saturday got here towards Whittaker in 2020.
In attendance for the primary occasion have been WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, alongside together with his daughter Stephanie, the interim CEO, and her husband, retired WWE wrestler and present government Paul “Triple H” Levesque. WWE president Nick Khan and colour commentator Pat McAfee, the previous NFL punter, additionally have been cageside.
They bought to see Adesanya’s walkout because the Undertaker, however did not see essentially the most thrilling combat. Adesanya saved Cannonier at bay and Cannonier had little to no luck getting inside Adesanya’s size for strikes or takedowns. He tried clinch work and takedowns within the third, fourth and fifth rounds with little to no success.