Ahead of UFC 276, we take a look at the odds, and predictions for the main card
The UFC returns with a stacked pay-per-view card for the International Fight Week, when UFC 276 goes down on 2nd July at T-Mobile Arena. The card features two title fights at the top of the card, with a total of 12 fights.
Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya holds an unwavering view that he’s the best middleweight on the planet, and his record speaks for itself. He has been on a rampant run, wiping out almost the entire division. He is all set to face Jared Cannonier at UFC 276, in a quest for his fifth title defense. His opponent Jared Cannonier has emerged as the dark horse of the division, and is confident in his abilities to dethrone the middleweight king. Cannonier dug deep, and overcame some adversity in his last fight against Derek Brunson, eventually knocking him out cold. Adesanya on the other hand has been lapping the division, and beat Robert Whittaker in their rematch at UFC 271.
The stars are aligned for Adesanya to make his fifth title defense at UFC 276 with an opponent that prefers a stand-up battle. It is almost impossible for fighters to figure out the puzzle that is Izzy, who is revolutionizing the striking game inside the UFC, one fight at a time. In a sport that is evolving everyday, ‘Izzy’ has changed the way we perceive striking through his laser-sharp precision punches, exceptional footwork and seemingly unintelligible defense. Izzy has successfully set in motion and established the feint game which was unique when MMA textbook striking is taken into consideration. He draws reactions out of his opponents through subtle movements and in doing so computes the data and launches his range of attacks. His path to victory would be to keep the fight in his desired range, stay outside on the pocket, and not get caught because Cannonier does posses some bombs in his hands.
As for Jared, he needs to make this a dogfight. Since he is not the best grappler in the roaster, he has to ensure that he establishes center control from the get-go, and forces Adesanya into a gruelling clinch contest. He needs to manage his energy reserves well since Izzy has a significant advantage in that department. Cannonier should also invest in body kicks early which may disrupt the fluid movement of Adesanya.
Per Vegas Insider, Adesanya is the -350 favorite while Cannonier is the +275 underdog.
Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway
It was being discussed after UFC 273, and even confirmed by the champion Alexander Volkanovski himself that he’s looking at a move up in weight class owing to lack of competition at featherweight. But looks like the UFC has reminded the Volk about his unfinished business at 145 lbs. The pair was supposed to meet for the third time at UFC 272 in March, but Holloway pulled out after aggravating a previous injury The Korean Zombie stepped in as a replacement, and Volkanovski absolutely dismantled him.
Although Volkanovski beat Max Holloway on both the occasion when they last fought, there are still some doubts in the minds of many people, who believe that Holloway won both the fights. The trilogy fight will determine once and for all the featherweight GOAT, since both fighters are at the top of this conversation.
Volkanpvski won both fights against Holloway by maintaining his composure, and following a systematic path to victory. Unlike others who faced the Hawaiian, Volkanovski fought in his own pace, without falling into any of Max’s trap. Whenever Holloway tried to push the pace, he would establish distance with solid kicks, and circled Holloway. In all likelihood the fight is going to play out similar to the first two event, and Volkanovski has an edge in that case.
Holloway on the other hand can opt for a Mexican stance, and walk through two punches to land one. He has to ensure that he checks the leg kicks, and forces his pace on the Australian.
Per Vegas Insider, Volkanovski is the -188 favorite while Holloway is the +162 underdog.
Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira
The card also features Alex Pereira, middleweight king Israel Adesanya’s long time rival and potential opponent in the future. Brazilian kickboxing phenom, Alex Pereira encountered Adesanya twice in the kickboxing terrain, and emerged victorious twice. Pereira’s first encounter with Adesanya came in April 2016 at Glory of Heroes 1. ‘Poatan’ outperformed Adesanya to earn a unanimous decision victory after three rounds.
A year later, the competitors met again – at Glory of Heroes 15. The rematch proved to be a more decisive win for Pereira. After some initial success inside the boxing range for Adesanya, the ‘Stylebender’ fearlessly stepped inside Pereira’s range continually. Pereria landed a perfectly calculated left-hook, as soon as Adesanya moved inside range after landing the left high-kick, that knocked him out cold.
He faces Sean Strickland, a controversial yet exciting figure who is itching to spoil the Poatan’s party and plans.
Prediction – If Alex Pereira can keep the fight standing, and open with something wild in the first round, he has the steering advantage for a victory.
Lauren Murphy vs Meisha Tate
The card also features a clash between top ranked bantamweight fighters Lauren Murphy and Meisha Tate. While Murphy had a crack at bantamweight queen Valentina Schevchenko recently, Tate is a favorite to win this fight and challenge the ‘Bullet’ for her throne.
Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley
Sean O’Malley faces one of the biggest tests of his career so far against a skilled veteran in Pedro Munhoz. Pedro will go into the fight with the mentality of nothing to loose, and attempt to put Sean away. However, if O’Malley can keep the fight in range, and utilize calculated creative striking, he has more ways of winning the fight than Munhoz.
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