UFC 276 went down last night (Sat., July 2, 2022) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada featuring a main even title fight the saw division king, Israel Adesanya, defeat Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision to retain his strap (highlights). In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway for a third time to retain his Featherweight title (see it again here). And in further main card action, Alex Pereira earned an impressive win by icing Sean Strickland in the very first round.
Biggest Winner: Alexander Volkanovski
Not taking anything away from “The Last Stylebender’s” big win over Cannonier, but “The Great’s” third victory over Holloway was a bit more dominant so he gets the nod here. In defeating “Blessed” a third time, Volkanovski puts the former champion in his rear-view mirror and closes this chapter of his combat career for good. On top of that, Volkanovski has Dana White’s blessing to move up to Lightweight and fight for the title their if he chooses. It’s something Volkanovski declared in his post-fight speech he intends to do. He still has some challenges at Featherweight, but moving up to 155 pounds next would be the best step to take.
Runner Up: Alex Pereira
While Adesanya did work in his title fight, I’ll give Pereira the nod here because he won in a big way after knocking out Sean Strickland. Not only did Pereira make it look easy against a man who had won six straight UFC fights, his victory likely earned him a shot at the 185 pound title. And since Adesanya called for the fight during his post-fight speech, the showdown is all but signed. It’s well-known that Pereira has wins over Adesanya in the kickboxing world, so it’s a championship bout with a great backstory already built in. Should Pereira get the nod to face Izzy — he will do so after only winning three fights inside the Octagon — and just seven pro MMA fights overall.
Biggest Loser: Max Holloway
Everyone seems to have that hill he or she can’t get over in combat sports. For Daniel Cormier it was Jon Jones, for Jose Aldo it was Max Holloway and for Holloway it’s Alexander Volkanovski. After losing a third time to “The Great” — this time rather decisively — it’s going to be hard for “Blessed” to score another title fight for as long as the Aussie is champion. And judging by the way he’s looked throughout his UFC run, it’s going to be for a very long time. Holloway can always move up to Lightweight, but Volkanovski has plans to do the same. For now, Holloway will have to sit back and see what he decides to do moving forward. One thing for certain, it’s going to be a very tough (and crucial) career decision to make.
For complete UFC 276 results and coverage click here.