UFC 276 recap: Volkanovski and Adesanya reclaim championships
International fight week is the biggest fight weekend that the UFC has to offer and tonight live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas the UFC delivered with a jam packed card that featured two title defenses from MMA’s two biggest rising stars middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (24-1) and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (25-1).
The two champions showed their were levels as they routed their opponents on all the judges scorecards. First, the co-main event which featured Volkanovski, the champ was able to close the chapter on his and challenger Max Holloway’s three fight trilogy in impressive fashion.The fight played out entirely on the feet, with neither featherweight even attempting a takedown until the final round. Holloway struggled to land any consistent offense. Volkanovski, meanwhile, punished Holloway throughout. He opened a deep cut on Holloway's left eyebrow in the second round, and damaged his nose with shots in the fourth. Volkanovski has now won 22 fights in a row, including 12 in the UFC. He is the fourth fighter in UFC history to win his first 12 fights in the promotion, joining Anderson Silva, Kamaru Usman and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
After the fight Volkanovski hinted that a move to 155 might be on the horizon as he looks to become a double champion. I want to be in this Octagon as much as possible," Volkanovski said. "I want to be busy. I don't think this division can keep me busy by itself. I want to move up." The 155 pound belt remains vacant at the moment with former champion Charles Olivera not being able to make weight in the last fight.
The main event which featured one of the sickest in-ring entrances in the sports history as Israel Adesanya came out to WWE Hall of Famer The Undertaker’s music. It’s hard to say the fight was as exciting as the ring walk. The crowd grew restless with the lack of thrilling action, especially in the fourth round, which was met by boos. Adesanya's superiority in striking was evident throughout the bout and it was the reasoning for the unanimous decision. Cannonier landed nothing of real significance with Adesanya keeping him at a distance, picking him apart with jabs and kicks to the body and legs.
The night's excitement came into play when Adesanya future challenger Alex Periera who coming into the night was an unranked fighter completely dismantled the number four ranked middleweight fighter in the world in Sean Strickland. Periera and Adesanya have a rivalry dating back to the two’s old kickboxing days where Pereira is 2-0 against the champion. "The first time I told you it was an error on my part spamming the right hand," Adesanya said, directing his comments to Pereira. "That was in kickboxing. ... Next time I punch you, you'll be on skates and you're gonna be frozen like Elsa. I'll leave it at that."
The rest of the card featured some other entertaining fights Sean O’Malley and Pedro Munoz fought to a no contest after he claimed vision loss after an eye poke. Also Jim Miller made history after defeating Cowboy Donald Cerrone becoming UFC’s all time winningest fighter with 24 wins. His opponent Cerrone retired soon thereafter Cerrone is a sure fire hall of famer. “Thank you, Las Vegas,” Cerrone told Joe Rogan in his in-cage interview. “I’m glad my boys got to be here. Here they come now. I don’t love it anymore, Joe. It’s hard for me to get up (for fights), and this is the longest camp I’ve had in a long time. I’m not complaining to anybody, but I don’t love it anymore.
International fight week ended in fun fashion UFC welcomed new hall of farmers and two champions established themselves as the best.