izzy-taker-commits-to-‘poatan’-title-defense

Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya successfully defended his 185-pound title by out-pointing the clearly-overmatched Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night (July 2, 2022) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Watch the (cough) “highlights” here.

“The Last Stylebender” walked out in Undertaker garb, an homage to the recently-retired pro wrestler who became one of the biggest stars in WWE over the last 30 years. Unfortunately for UFC fans, that was the most entertaining part of his “Killa Gorilla” fight.

It was the champ’s third straight decision victory but a win is a win, I suppose.

Turning away Cannonier pushed Adesanya to 12-0 in the middleweight division (23-1 overall) and put him in the win column against four of the Top 5 contenders. No. 4-ranked Sean Strickland, however, is likely to drop a few places after getting smoked by Alex Pereira.

Also at UFC 276.

The 6-1 Pereira, perhaps best known for scoring two victories over Adesanya on the kickboxing circuit — one by way of thunderous knockout — continued his winning ways last weekend in “Sin City,” crushing “Tarzan” in the opening frame with a punishing left hook.

That makes “Poatan” 3-0 in UFC (with two knockouts) and next in line for the division title.

“We know who’s next, Poatan,” Adesanya said after the fight. “Trust me, the first time — I told you, it was an error on my part, spamming right hands and that was in kickboxing. It’s easy to knockout the homeboy … what’s the hillbilly’s name? Because he was parrying the jabs. But like I said at the press conference, next time I put you on skates. You’re gonna get frozen like Elsa.”

The “hillbilly’s” name is Sean Strickland and he’s very “sad.”

“Well that sucked,” Strickland told his Instagram followers. “You never want to be someone’s highlight but that’s the game we play. You know I tried to stand and bang with one of the best kickboxers. The shitty part about it was during the round I kept thinking to myself that ‘Man this is going to be an easy fight. I could see everything this guy is throwing. I am getting the better of the exchanges. I am going to beat this guy up for three rounds.’ And then halfway through I got caught. So, hats off to Alex (Pereira). He’s a fucking killer. Thanks to all my coaches, sorry we didn’t get the win. It’s depressing. I’m gonna be fucking sad for awhile. Fans, thank you for supporting me. On to the next one. Time to climb the ladder again.”

With Adesanya and Pereira both fighting last Sat. night — and both emerging relatively unscathed — it would make sense to have them headline a late fall or perhaps end-of-year PPV card, particularly with no other contenders idling in the queue to hold them up.

Expect something more definitive regarding that timeline over the next several weeks.

For complete UFC 276 results and live play-by-play click here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 276: “Adesanya vs. Cannonier” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.