Jarred Cannonier was defeated by Israel Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) to keep the UFC middleweight title.
Adesanya competed in UFC 276 at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday morning against middleweight contender Jared Cannonier.
The Last Stylebender, who made his Octagon debut in 2018, has improved visually with each appearance since then and is still unbeaten in the middleweight division. In the 2019 Fight of the Year versus Kelvin Gastelum, he initially won the interim championship.
The next year, “Izzy” unified the championships by defeating Robert Whittaker.
Since then, he has successfully defended his championship four times. Adesanya (22-1) had an otherwise flawless record; his lone defeat came when he attempted to move up to light heavyweight but failed, falling to the champion Jan Blachowicz.
The New Zealander of Nigerian ancestry successfully defended his middleweight championship for the sixth bout on Sunday.
While Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson in the second round in February to become the No. 1 challenger at middleweight, Adesanya overcame Robert Whittaker twice in February to retain his title.
In the final round on Sunday, Adesanya remained cautious as the audience became agitated, and Cannonier failed to secure a takedown.
Adesanya delivered precise jabs, but Cannonier countered with a barrage of blows.
However, Cannonier failed to complete a takedown and lost by unanimous decision.
Cannonier landed a little right hand early in the round but Adesanya tagged him with a hard jab in round four.
Adesanya landed a heavy body kick and a two-punch combo behind it. Another right hand landed for Adesanya.
He then landed a left and ducked and spun under a wild shot from Cannonier. Cannonier grabbed another clinch along the cage but did nothing with it before Adesanya broke away and landed a leg kick.
Again, Cannonier clinched up along the cage while Adesanya landed a few inside punches.
Israel Adesanya went right back to the leg kicks before throwing a front kick that just missed Cannonier’s face.
For the first time in the fight, Cannonier shot but Adesanya threw him into the cage, easily avoiding the takedown. Cannonier missed with a sweeping hook.
Cannonier shot again and landed a right hand in the process.
He then stuck Adesanya against the cage, landing some good shots to the face and body in his best moment of the fight.
Adesanya came back with a hard jab and more kicks to the legs.
Cannonier connected with a left and right hand before Adesanya threw a four-strike flurry in return.
Cannonier then again drove forward with a clinch to stick Adesanya to the cage.
Adesanya landed a lot of short shots to Cannonier’s head while Cannonier held the clinch and kneed at the champ’s legs.
A better round for Cannonier but still likely one for the champ.
Adesanya landed a good early jab, continuing to use his length to keep Cannonier from getting inside.
Adesanya then missed a head kick but landed to the body.
Adesanya landed a few hard leg kicks and then a left hand to Cannonier’s face. Adesanya started to throw more kicks to the legs and body as Cannonier’s output started to drop.
Cannonier just missed with a big counter left hand.
Adesanya opened up with a few flurries of strikes before landing a solid combination that stumbled Cannonier.
Then came an accidental eye poke by Adesanya that led to a break.
Adesanya went back to work on the legs with kicks but Cannonier returned with some of his own.
Adesanya landed one last left hand before the end of the round.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier both threw leg kicks in round one without a touch of gloves.
Adesanya threw leg kicks and blocked Cannonier’s. A wild, winging overhand right was dodged by the champion.
Adesanya switched stances and twitches – not even fully feinting yet.
Cannonier missed with his first leg kick while Adesanya landed an early one of his own.
Both men were very hesitant early, but Adesanya landed a few left hands and more leg kicks as Cannonier stalked forward. Cannonier did land a few leg kicks after about a minute of action.
Adesanya landed a good body kick and used feints to keep Cannonier a bit unsettled. Adesanya started mixing his angles and strikes, but Cannonier did find a home for a few more leg kicks.
Cannonier ducked under an Adesanya head kick but did eat a left hand after.