On a spectacular night in Las Vegas, Nigerian MMA fighter Israel Adesanya defeated American Jared Cannonier. Adesanya retains his UFC middleweight title for the fifth time.
Under the encouragement of Francis Ngannou and his compatriot Kamaru Usman, the mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Israel Adesanya successfully defended his title on Saturday July 2. This is the fifth time the Nigerian fighter has retained his middleweight belt. Adesanya cut short the ambitions of Jared Cannonier, who had racked up two wins since returning to the octagon last August.
The Nigerian now has 23 wins, and catches up with Kamaru Usman, his compatriot who dominates the welterweight category, with 5 titles retained since 2019.
UFC 276 fight night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was electrified. If Adesanya and Cannonier were headliners, another title fight (featherweight) took place on the same evening. But overall, the evening's record was made up of MMA legends.
In the stands, many sports personalities were present. But only two caught the eye: Cameroonian heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, and Kamaru Usman, the first-ever African UFC champion. Ngannou also tweeted a photo of the two, captioned: "Kings of the fight are in the building to support the 3rd king (Adesanya)".
- Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) July 3, 2022
Israel Adesanya looking for revenge against Alex Pereira?
Anyway, Israel Adesanya got his victory against Cannonier by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45). Many fans admittedly teased Adesanya about the pace of the fight and the fact that he didn't take many risks despite his dominance. However, the most connoisseurs have especially welcomed the Nigerian who shows, during his last fights, that he has matured.
Indeed, in his early days, Adesanya relied mainly on his explosive style – he has a history of English boxing and kickboxing. But over time, "The last stylebender" showed the evolution of his style. In striking, Adesanya has the advantage of the extension (203 cm), because he is the tallest fighter in his category with 1,93 m in height. During the last fights, Israel Adesanya has especially demonstrated an increasingly successful mastery of dodging and ground play.
The only thing that has not changed for the Nigerian: his good humor and his sense of showmanship.
Indeed, during his post-fight interview, Adesanya provoked Brazilian Alex Pereira. The latter is the one and only fighter to have knocked out Adesanya… in kickboxing, not in MMA.
Pereira had also won his fight against Sean Strickland on Saturday. Everything seems to be in order for the Brazilian to have his chance for the title. For Israel Adesanya, it will be his chance to get his revenge, but he can also scratch another name from the list of UFC middleweight fighters, of which he has already beaten the overwhelming majority.