UFC middleweight fighter, Israel Adesanya, has retained his belt following a landslide victory over Jared Cannonier in Las Vegas.

The Nigerian who entered the match looking to defend his UFC 276 title for the fifth time, was barely overworked by tough Cannonier in the main event of the day. With the crowd hoping for a better contest from his rival, boos were heard ringing out from all corners of the arena, as all three judges resolved for four and five rounds margin victory.

Speaking after his victory, Adesanya hailed the efforts of Cannonier before calling out his bitter rival Alex Pereira; who has defeated him twice in the past; in ranks of kickboxing.

‘He had an excellent gameplan; it was really hard to get my follow-ups going, my second phases going.. You know who’s next.

‘The first time, I told you, was an error on my part. Next time I put you on skates, you’re going to be frozen,’ he said.

Adesanya’s victory adds to his first success over Robert Whittaker three years ago, but still holds a single dent to his win record since loosing to former lightweight champion Jan Blachowicz in 2020. Many fans anticipated the square-up between Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier; as the latter won five of his last six matches, including wins against Derek Brunson and Kelvin Gastelum.

The Las Vegas crowd were treated to a special entrance from Adesanya; who paid tribute to retired WWE legend The Undertaker, by carrying an urn into the cage. On the bout, he got off to a quick start throwing kicks in the early seconds to put-off Cannonier. A quick overhand right by Cannonier missed its target in the first round. The Nigerian fighter took the notch up in the second round moving quicker, before landing a ram-rod jab.

With the uneasy crowd jeering, Cannonier received a poke in his eye, prompting a pause to the uneven contest. In the third round, his right eye had swollen noticeably, but did little to wad off the UFC middleweight champion. In a desperate effort to level things up, Cannonier managed pinned Adesanya to the cage, but couldn’t hold him for long.

At the mid-point of round four, Adesanya had landed a jab and a right-hand punch, dominating his rival. However, it did little to ease the 19,000 spectators at T-Mobile Arena who demanded more.

It was clear that Cannonier needed a final stoppage to have any chance of winning, as he was down by three rounds going into the final five minutes of the match.

Meanwhile, the co-main event featured a bout between Alexander Volkanowski and Max Holloway. Volkanowski secured wins in every round to shut his doubters on the night. Bryan Barberena and Pereira were also victorious against Robbie Lawlor and Sean Strickland respectively.

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