Israel Adesanya will defend the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 276 this weekend when he faces challenger Jared Cannonier in a five-round main event bout. UFC 276 is a PPV event and will stream live only on ESPN+ in the United States.
Adesanya is regarded as the third-best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, according to the official UFC rankings, and has racked up four title defenses since winning the title in 2019. His most recent victories include unanimous decision wins against Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori.
Jared Cannonier has moved up to the #2 spot in the middleweight rankings following his successive wins against Derek Brunson and Kelvin Gastelum. He’s now 5-1 in his last six fights, with his only defeat coming against Robert Whittaker in 2020.
Will Adesanya make it five title defenses at middleweight or will Cannonier manage an upset this weekend? Read on for Adesanya vs. Cannonier fight predictions as provided by UFC fighters in James Lynch’s recent video series.
Watch Adesanya vs. Cannonier
- Date: Saturday, July 2
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 10 pm ET
ESPN+ PPV (order here)
Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier is the main event of the UFC 276 PPV main card this weekend. Fight fans can order the event on the ESPN+ website to watch Adesanya vs. Cannonier, Volkanovski vs. Holloway, and O’Malley vs. Munhoz this Saturday night.
Adesanya vs. Cannonier predictions
“Listen I know Jared, I don’t hate him. We’re cool. We exchange anime stuff online. But, Izzy is just so dynamic. Jared is just — for someone to come down from heavyweight to middleweight — he’s going to have raw power and it’s just clipping Izzy. The thing that a lot of fighters don’t realize about Izzy is his dynamic-ness will lure you in and then it’ll become a chasing match. Again, he’s phenomenal. He’s great. I just want to go up against one of the best because I’ve fought that style so many times. I’m not here to disrespect him and tell him he sucks — he’s a champion. But I want that challenge.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“It’s a great fight. You can’t count Cannonier out. Obviously, Izzy is going to be the favorite going in there. On paper, he’s more precise, more technical, and the better striker but as we know in these fights anything can happen. Cannonier has a lot of power. He’s a strong grappler, so I definitely wouldn’t count him out.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“I’ve seen Jared around in Arizona. We’ve talked a bit and he seems to be in great spirits. In our fight, I think he did a great job of hiding some of his punches. Especially the one that knocked me down. He kept throwing that jab until it finally wasn’t a jab and it was that hook that knocked me down. If he does a good job of hiding his punches and hiding his offense like that, I think he’s going to do a good job of hopefully coming out with that belt. At the same time, he’s gotta deal with a very, very smart fighter, a very intelligent fighter. I think Israel has gotten better in his last two fights so it’s going to be hard to say — who knows.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“You don’t want to put anything past Jared Cannonier, the guy has come all the way from heavyweight down to middleweight. I don’t like that he did get dropped against Brunson, maybe he was off-balance, who knows. But, you know, that right there kind of stays in my head. Izzy can be doing a lot of different things there. It’s a different fight. I’m 70/30 — right now I’m leaning more toward Izzy. He’s kind of hard to beat at middleweight. But the simple fact is that Cannonier does come from heavyweight and he may pack a little bit of extra strength. Does he choose to grapple in that fight? Maybe he might be a little stronger than Whittaker was in his fight. Maybe he might have a bit more explosion, so I might change it to 60/40. With the right camp and the right game plan, Jared might possess the tools to do it. He has the power. Izzy has been knocked out with a left hook before, you know. Jared could possibly get that job done.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“I don’t know. Izzy is my guy. I love Izzy. He’s unbelievable, I like watching him fight. He’s a showman, obviously he’s shown that his jiu-jitsu needs more work but overall that guy is a great fighter. I love watching him fight so I can’t go against him. Cannonier, can he take him out? Yeah, but it’s not going to be one of those easy out-strike him, it’s going to be one of those I landed a shot. Like that Alex Pereira guy, he’s got the kind of power and experience, and he’s obviously beaten Izzy before. He’s the type of guy that can do something like that. But on the technical, he’s such a great, stand-up fighter and overall MMA smart fighter. He’s only going to get better.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“I think Adesanya. He’s really good. There have been a few performances that weren’t like amazing but the greater majority of the time he has looked really ridiculously good. I think he’s probably a better striker and I don’t see him getting taken down a bunch. I don’t really think Cannonier is going to win it.” (via Helen Yee Sports)
“Again, technique versus power. I’m going with technique. But Cannonier is scary. If he’s able to touch him, he might be able to put him on his ass. Izzy is going to be the smoothest — it’s going to see the smoothest version of Izzy that we’ve ever seen. We thought we were going to get this type of fight when he had to fight Romero but that was almost like close. Izzy, he did a little more. But I think Izzy wins this fight against Jared.” (via James Lynch)
“Israel. I just haven’t seen enough out of the other guy. He’s athletic, he’s very aggressive and Izzy is just a different dude man. He picks people apart — very similar to Jon Jones, the way he kind of is like super flash and picks people apart and is very intelligent.” (via James Lynch)
“For me, it’s going to be Adesanya all day. Don’t get us wrong, Cannonier is definitely a worthy opponent. I think Israel, he’s sort of in his a league of his own at the minute. He looks fantastic whenever he fights in his own weight class. I’m going to have to go with him in that one definitely.” (via James Lynch)
“That’s going to be a good fight. I like Cannonier’s chances here but that being said I’m leaning Izzy. It’s hard to bet against the champ unless you’re going up a weight class.” (via James Lynch)
“It’s hard to pick against Israel. I’ll go with him, for sure.” (via James Lynch)
Johnny Munoz Jr
“Another interesting one, but I think Izzy. Not taking anything away from Jared, I think he’s a tough opponent. It’s the first time they’ve fought so it’ll be interesting to see the different clash of styles, but Izzy is ahead of the game, especially in the middleweight division. I feel he takes that maybe by decision, maybe a finish. But Izzy is light years ahead of the division.” (via James Lynch)
“Well, you know, Izzy is more technical, of course. He’s too technical. But anyone has his day, anyone has his chance, you never know. But of course, you have to go with Israel in that fight. I’m impressed with Jared because he’s a tough guy, those guys are always dangerous. But of course, Israel is favorite.” (via James Lynch)
“I’m going to go with Izzy. I think Cannonier is a stud but I don’t think his movement is enough. I think Izzy beats him off of movement and speed.” (via James Lynch)
“Both of those guys are so good. Jared Cannonier, he’s a powerful striker. He’s so fast and powerful, a really good guy. Israel Adesanya, champion, undefeated besides the light heavyweight matchup, but it’s hard to go against the champion, so most likely, Israel Adesanya.” (via James Lynch)
“Big fan of Izzy. I do like Cannonier but I do think Izzy walks away with it.” (via James Lynch)
“It’s like a perfect matchup for Izzy. I love the way he uses his range and his feints and he sets traps. I could watch him fight forever. He’s going to do the same thing to Cannonier. I think he’s going to make him gas, he’s going to set traps, pick him apart from distance, from range, I think his striking is too good. I think the way to beat Izzy is to take him down and I don’t think Cannonier has that — the ability to take him down.” (via James Lynch)
“Adesanya. He just has the range game mastered. Cannonier is going to have to cover a lot of ground. However, I think the toughest fight we saw Adesanya in was Gastelum who is a shorter fighter as well. Adesanya is growing leaps and bounds since that fight. Cannonier is the homie but I got to bet with my head, not my heart.” (via James Lynch)
Jack Della Maddalena
“I think Adesanya will win. I think Adesanya is the crisper striker, he’s probably been in there with the higher level of competition. But I think Israel will get that win, as well. Just too good, I think.” (via James Lynch)
Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier features on the UFC 276 main card. Order the PPV on ESPN+ to watch this fight and every main card fight live on Saturday night.
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.