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UFC 276 Main Event Breakdown: Adesanya vs. Cannonier

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International Fight Week is upon us once again, and MMA‘s top promotion, the UFC, is delivering another anticipated pay-per-view card for this year’s edition of International Fight Week.

This Saturday, the UFC returns to its “home” venue of T-Mobile Arena for the first of two PPV events in the month of July, UFC 276.

Inside the United States, UFC 276 and the UFC 276 main event will be streamed on ESPN+, with preorders currently being accepted for $74.99 (USD) on the Website.

For viewers in Canada, check your local cable, satellite, or telco listings.

All told, barring anything unforeseen between now and Saturday night, UFC 276 will feature a full 12-fight card, including a battle for the UFC Middleweight Championship in the UFC 276 main event.

Israel Adesanya To Collide with Jared Cannonier in UFC 276 Main Event

Incumbent champion Israel Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) will put his 185-lb. belt at risk against No. 2 contender Jared Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) in the UFC 276 main event on Saturday night.

As with all UFC main event fights, this Saturday night’s headliner will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show and decide the UFC Middleweight Championship.

UFC 276 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the UFC 276 main event, Israel Adesanya is the taller combatant, standing 6-foot-4, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Jared Cannonier.

In addition, he owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (80 inches even to 77 1/2 inches) and a three-inch leg reach (44 1/2 inches to 41 1/2 inches) over Cannonier ahead of Saturday’s main event.

Adesanya Hoping To Defend Belt Inside of Distance on Saturday in UFC 276 Main Event

Israel Adesanya comes into this title fight on Saturday having posted a 4-1 record in his last five fights and is currently on a two-fight winning streak.

Last time out, he scored a unanimous decision victory against Robert Whittaker on Feb. 12 during the UFC 271 main event in Houston.

Although Israel Adesanya has won his last two fights by decision, he’s looking to end the fight himself on Saturday, as he explained in a recent interview.

“Official prediction: I honestly feel like I’ll be too much for him [Cannonier],” Adesanya said. “I’m going to do what Anderson Silva used to do, just take my time. (Expletive deleted) these (expletives deleted). I don’t give a (censored) how drunk you are, you want to see some action and in the first minute, you don’t see any action. ‘Oh, boo.’ I don’t give a (censored.) I’m going to take my time. I’m going to be in my zone. I’m going to get the reaction I want to get from him, calculate, get the reads I need to get, see what their gameplan is and what his reactions are and then I’ll freestyle from there. I’m just going to go freestyle.”

From there, he issued a warning to Cannonier and his camp.

“Honestly, the way I feel like the way I touch him and the amount of times I touch him, he’s not going to survive,” he continued. “He might be forced to shoot and fall into a choke or he’s going to get knocked out. Just style on them. Everything else is just freestyle.”

Israel Adesanya is a man who talks a tough game, but with the title fight happening this Saturday, can he put his words into actions to defend the UFC Middleweight Championship once more?

Jared Cannonier Says Adesanya Knew They’d Fight Eventually

In the other corner, challenger Jared Cannonier has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five fights and enters the UFC 276 main event on a two-fight winning streak of his own, most recently scoring a second-round knockout due to elbow strikes on Feb. 12 in UFC 271.

During Wednesday’s media availability, Cannonier recounted his first meeting with Adesanya the night he first fought at middleweight.

“Backstage, me and him actually came face-to-face and I introduced myself, because I had been a fan of him already,” he said. “We were fighting on the same card, I thought that was pretty cool. We came face-to-face and I introduced myself to him and congratulated him on his fight, because I got to watch his fight. It was kind of interesting, you know what I’m saying? He was respectful, but I felt like he was kind of sizing me up at the same time. He even said ‘Yeah, we’ll see each other.’ If we do, let’s have a good-ass fight.”

For Adesanya and Cannonier, “eventually” now means this Saturday in the UFC 271 main event.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC 271 main event seems to favor Israel Adesanya, a former champion kickboxer and purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with Jared Cannonier countering with a purple belt of his own in BJJ.

Adesanya Can Be Vicious With Punches

One aspect of Israel Adesanya’s fight game that shows itself on video is his ability to be brutal when landing punches, as he was with Paulo Costa on Fight Island in September of 2020.

In the second round of a scheduled five, with Adesanya already having banked the first round of the fight with some leg kicks, he pieced Costa up with more lead leg kicks, bruising the shin in the process.

From there, the champ went upstairs and scored with some head kicks, and by this point, Costa’s mobility was weakened.

Along the way, Adesanya opened things up with some body kicks and more kicks to the head, resulting in a cut above Costa’s right eyebrow.

Although Costa attempted to score with some shots to the head, it was to no avail, as Adesanya was outclassing him as the second round went to its later stages.

Adesanya sent Costa down with a nasty right-handed punch, finishing the job with a flurry of ground and pound shots to Costa’s head.

Look for Israel Adesanya to mix up his strikes in order to keep Jared Cannonier guessing in the UFC 276 main event.

Jared Cannonier Can Piece Up Opponents With Leg Kicks

While leg kicks can be used to set up a knockout, Jared Cannonier has used them to end the fight, as Anderson Silva found out three years ago.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Cannonier bided his time, waiting for the right moment to throw and land a strike, scoring with a few leg kicks to start the fight, landing a kick to Silva’s body around two minutes into the period

As Cannonier was biding his time and stalking Silva, the latter was able to score with elbow shots, only for Cannonier to punch his way out of the clinch, regaining momentum of the contest.

From there, Cannonier continued to time his strikes and landed a few punches to the head, before finally scoring with an inside leg kick that injured Silva’s right knee, with Herb Dean immediately waving off the contest.

Cannonier’s best bet in the UFC 276 is to get Israel Adesanya to slow down, because if Cannonier is able to buy his time, it could turn the tide.

Final Thoughts

International Fight Week in the UFC generally brings with it some of the best fights in MMA every calendar year.

The UFC 276 main event looks to be no exception, so get your popcorn ready.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya by First-Round Knockout

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.