Everything you need to know about UFC 276: Adesanya Vs. Cannonier

Publish Date
Friday, 1 July 2022, 8:18AM

ACC UFC contributor Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 276: Adesanya Vs. Cannonier.

UFC 276 is finally here. This titanic oceanic PPV (Pay-Per-View) could be the card of the year.

Kiwi Fights:

(c) Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier

Nigerian-Kiwi middleweight champion Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya (22-1) (wins-losses) represents the next generation of fighting prodigies - among the likes of Muhammad Ali, Anderson "The Spider" Silva, and Jon "Bones" Jones. Everyone knows his list of victims at this point: Derek Brunson via TKO, Anderson Silva via decision, Kelvin Gastelum via FOTY (Fight Of The Year) decision, previous champion Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker via knockout and again by decision, Paulo Costa via humiliation, and Marvin "The Italian Dream" Vettori via decision twice. Much like greats Ali or Silva, Adesanya has a quicksilver speed and fluidity to his striking that overwhelms opponents and leaves audiences in absolute awe.

Opposite the champion is Jared "Killa Gorilla" Cannonier (15-5), a terrifying knockout artist with a lot to prove. Originally a heavyweight and then a light-heavyweight in the UFC, Cannonier struggled to find consistency in these heavier weight classes. All that changed when Cannonier moved down to middleweight, and quickly collected finishes against: David Branch, the great Anderson "The Spider" Silva, and Jack "The Joker" Hermansson. A loss to rebounding former champion Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker was followed up with a win over Kelvin Gastelum and a TKO of Derek Brunson. Now that Robert Whittaker has again lost to Israel Adesanya, it's finally Cannonier's turn to challenge the champion.

A couple of years ago Israel Adesanya called Jared Cannonier the "dark horse" of the middleweight division, and hardcore fans of MMA couldn't agree more. He has a body capable of delivering KO blows to heavyweights, with the speed of a middleweight, and absolutely nothing to lose. Simply put, Cannonier isn't somebody to underestimate. Luckily Adesanya hasn't underestimated an opponent yet - at least at middleweight. And as Adesanya has stated leading up to this fight, everybody he faces has power. Let's just hope he's prepared for Cannonier's considerable cannons.

Brad Riddell vs. Jalin Turner

Brad "Quake" Riddell (10-2) is the fighting pride of Canterbury, New Zealand. His nickname is in direct reference to the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake that saw Riddell's workplace demolished, and was the motivation for him to move to Auckland and build a career in combat sports. With a career spanning Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA, Riddell even has the honourable distinction of beating all-time-great Australian kickboxer John Wayne "The Gunslinger" Parr in a Muay Thai bout back in 2016. Riddell's career exploded after making his UFC debut in late 2019 with a fight-of-the-night decision over Aussie Jamie Mullarkey. Following that breakout performance, Riddell won back-to-back-to-back decisions against Magomed "The Sniper" Mustafaev, Alex "Leko" da Silva and Drew Dober. On the fast track to a divisional ranking, Riddell was most recently on the receiving end of a devastating wheel kick knockout from expert finisher Rafael "Ataman" Fiziev. Now Riddell is back on the horse and ready to once more prove himself at lightweight.

Standing in the way of Brad Riddell's rebound performance is the deadly predator Jalin "The Tarantula" Turner. An impressive UFC history of finishing fights follows Turner, who has stoppages of Joshua "Kuya" Culibao, and Jamie Mullarkey - along with submissions of Brok "Chata Tuska" Weaver, and Uros "The Doctor" Medic. Besides his 6'3" height and lanky limbs, Jalin Turner's nickname comes instead from his love and fascination for spiders, and not from his own spider-like frame.

Brad Riddell's striking mastery puts him in a category of both devastation and entertainment that few others can reach. The comparative striking skills should easily favour "Quake" Riddell, while the submissions favour "The Tarantula" Turner. In a strangely-matched fight, Riddell is rebounding off of a loss, while Turner is currently on a four-fight win streak. Of particular note in this fight, however, is the height difference. While Riddell stands at only 5'7", Turner towers over him at 6'3". That's a whopping eight-inch difference in height. For comparison, Daniel Cormier was only five inches shorter than Jon Jones, who seemed enormous in their duo of fights. Very strange matchmaking, indeed.

Other Notable Fights:

(c) Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway

In the co-main event, Australian featherweight champion Alexander "The Great" Volkanovski (24-1) defends his belt for the third time against former champion Max "Blessed" Holloway (23-6). Volkanovski has an unblemished UFC career dating back to a 2016 debut. In that time he's rattled off victories against the competition like Darren "The Damage Elkins", Chad "Money" Mendes, José Aldo "Junior", Max "Blessed" Holloway twice, Brian "T-City" Ortega, and "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung. The challenger Max "Blessed" Holloway is so loved and respected by fans that many consider him to still be the division's GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) despite losing five fights at featherweight. With dominant victories against almost everyone with a record in his weight class, it's easy to see why the fans still support him. But I'm with Volkanovski, who rightly believes a third victory over the former GOAT should render him the new best. Anyone who still doubts him will just have to continue doubting him on his journey to the top of MMA.

Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira

Finally, we have the fascinating featured bout between middleweight nutjob Sean "Tarzan" Strickland (25-3) and the new bogeyman of the division, Alex "Poatan" Pereira (5-1). Strickland is a crazy man brawler in the vein of a Tank Abbott or Derrick Lewis, who is seemingly more famed for his beatdowns of sparring partners than of actual opponents. Plus his trash-talking is pretty great too. He's the grimy, ethically-grey, and loud-mouthed face of combat sports and that's always great fun to watch. Why is the newest prospect at middleweight featured so highly on the main card against a loony veteran like Strickland? Well, because he has the only knockout in combat sports against our champion Israel Adesanya. Light-heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and the rest of Brazil are all banking on Pereira to reclaim Anderson Silva's old middleweight belt back for Brazil. This particular fight should be chaos from start to finish. And, while Alex Pereira's infinitely higher degree of striking skill should carry him through this one easily, Strickland is just crazy enough to have a puncher's chance in any fight, at any weight. One day Pereira and Adesanya will surely rematch in MMA, but until then we can only dream. Or will that dream prove to be a nightmare? Only time will tell.

All this action and more goes down at UFC 276 this Sunday for us here in New Zealand. The unmissable main card begins at 2:00 PM, while the preliminary cards (featuring Brad Riddell) start back at 10:00 AM. Enjoy!

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