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UFC 276 Staff Picks: Israel Adesanya Voted to Defend Successfully

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UFC 276 Adesanya vs. Cannonier is here, which means it’s time for our Staff Picks! Our writers and editors have all picked their winners for the main card, and it’s round six of our yearlong competition to see who comes out on top!

UFC 276 Preview: Stacked Card

  • Bantamweight Bout- Pedro Munhoz vs. Sean O’Malley
  • Welterweight Bout- Robbie Lawler vs. Bryan Barberena
  • Middleweight Bout- Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira
  • Featherweight Title Bout- Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. Max Holloway
  • Middleweight Title Bout- Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier

UFC 276 is scheduled for July 2nd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kicking off the main card is the “Suga Show” with Sean O’Malley (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) at 135 pounds. O’Malley is on a three-fight win streak, coming off of a TKO victory in the first round against Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 in December of 2021. Many consider Munhoz to be the toughest test for O’Malley since his TKO loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 252 nearly two years ago.

Munhoz is currently on a two-fight losing streak with the most recent loss against Dominick Cruz at UFC 269. Munhoz could bounce back with delaying the hype train of the “Suga Show.” Munhoz is 1-4 in his last five contests, but it should be noted that all four of his recent losses have all come by decision to the likes of current champ Aljamain Sterling and former champions-Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and Cruz.

Veteran-Robbie Lawler (29-15-1 MMA, 14-9 UFC) is 1-4 in his last five contests. “Ruthless” most recently defeated Nick Diaz by TKO in the third round at UFC 266 in September of 2021 in Diaz’s return to the Octagon after a six-year hiatus.

Bryan Barberena (17-8 MMA, 8-6 UFC) is currently on a two-fight win streak, most recently defeating Matt Brown by split-decision in a back-and-forth war in March, earlier this year. This is a great opportunity for both competitors, for Lawler, a win could prove he can still hang with the young guys in the division and for Barberena it could be a huge feather in his cap to add a legend like Lawler to his list of defeated opponents.

Next up in a potential title shot eliminator, Alex Pereira (5-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is on the fast-track to potentially face current champ-Adesanya in an MMA rematch of their kickboxing contests in which Pereira won both. Pereira most recently defeated Bruno Silva in March earlier this year. Standing in Pereira’s way is Sean Strickland (25-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC). Deserving of a title opportunity-Strickland is currently on a six-fight win streak, most recently defeating Jack Hermansson by split-decision in February, earlier this year. This is a very intriguing fight that you do not want to miss.

Two Title Fights

In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski (24-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) faces Max Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC) for the third time. The pair first met at UFC 245 in December of 2019, Holloway was the current champ, but Volkanovski was able to win the title by a decision. The pair then met in an immediate rematch in which Volkanovski successfully defended the title, this time by split-decision at UFC 251 in July of 2020.

After the two-losses to Volkanovski, Holloway followed it up by winning his next two contests. Holloway defeated both Calvin Kattar and most recently, Yair Rodriguez in November of 2021 by unanimous decision. The two performances were excellent on the part of Holloway, proving he’s worthy of another crack at the champ even if he’s already been bested twice by Volkanovski.

Volkanovski has since defeated Brian Ortega at UFC 266 by decision and most recently, dominated “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, winning by TKO in the fourth round at UFC 273 in April, earlier this year. This could be Holloway’s last chance at Volkanovski, while for Volkanovski, he could finally close the book on this chapter of his career against Holloway.

In the main event, Israel Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) looks to defend his title for the fifth consecutive time against Jared Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC). Adesanya most recently defeated Robert Whittaker for the second time, winning by decision at UFC 271 in February, earlier this year. The challenger-Cannonier is on a two-fight win streak, most recently defeating Derek Brunson by KO in the second round at UFC 271 as well.

UFC 276 Staff Picks

WriterAdesanya
vs.
Cannonier
Volkanovski
vs.
Holloway
Strickland
vs.
Pereira
Lawler
vs.
Barberena
Munhoz
vs.
O’Malley
Austin Marr
(14-9)
AdesanyaHollowayPereiraLawlerO’Malley
Bruno Dacanay
(7-1)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiPereiraBarberenaO’Malley
Craig Pekios
(16-7)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiStricklandBarberenaO’Malley
Jamie Harkin
(18-5)
AdesanyaHollowayPereiraLawlerO’Malley
Brent Dolan
(8-5)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiStricklandBarberenaO’Malley
Killian Jauch
(4-4)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiStricklandLawlerO’Malley
Justin Gibbons
(1-3)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiPereiraLawlerMunhoz
Jordan Wright
(0-0)
AdesanyaVolkanovskiStricklandBarberenaMunhoz
Amey Patil
(0-0)
AdesanyaHollowayStricklandLawlerO’Malley

Our staff is unanimously backing Adesanya in the main event while in the co-main it’s 6-3 in favor of Volkanovski. How do you think our Staff Picks will play out? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image credit to Ultimate Fighting Championship

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Austin Marr was first introduced to MMA by his father when his father enrolled Austin into Catch Wrestling and MMA classes at the age of eleven in 2007, since then Austin’s passion for the sport grows daily. Austin first started covering the sport in 2018-writing articles and creating video content.