LAS VEGAS — Jared Cannonier mostly kept his hands to himself on Saturday in the main event of UFC 276 in his middleweight title fight against Israel Adesanya at T-Mobile Arena.
And that earned him a one-sided loss and the enmity of the sell-out crowd of 19,649.
Adesanya is a counter striker and Cannonier didn’t throw much, leading to loud boos throughout the fight and the fans turning on the flashlights of their phones and holding them aloft in the latter stages.
Adesanya clearly won the fight without much issue but he didn’t look good in doing it primarily because Cannonier made it so hard on him.
He tried to push the action a bit late but it’s not his style and it wasn’t working all that well.
Adesanya wanted to put on a show because his likely next opponent, Alex Pereira lit up the internet with a vicious knockout of Sean Strickland. Pereira, who defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing and knocked him out once, brutally put Strickland away.
Pereira caught Strickland with a crushing left hook. As Strickland was going down, Pereira hit him with two right hands. Strickland was out immediately.
That likely put him into the next fight with Adesanya. But Adesanya didn’t have the kind of fireworks that he’d have liked.
He was chopping away at Cannonier’s legs and switching from southpaw to conventional and back repeatedly. He’d land jabs and the occasional right hand, but there was nothing spectacular about what he was doing.
But he won the fight clearly, so he did what he had to do, and set up his showdown with Pereira that will be highly interesting because of the history between them.
It’s going to go down, though, as a huge lost opportunity for Cannonier, who never got untracked and made it a hard-to-watch fight.