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Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his 185-pound title against hulking division power puncher Jared Cannonier in the upcoming UFC 276 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on July 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
How will the fight play out?
“This is going to be spectacular,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Think UFC 101, Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Like, I’m just going to be in the zone. I don’t care – stay tuned.”
Silva clowned Griffin in one of the most lopsided victories in UFC history, part of an incredible 17-fight winning streak that included 15 finishes. But fans hoping for a similar performance next month in “Sin City” may be sorely disappointed.
“He may be coming from a place of arrogance but rightfully so,” Cannonier told Submission Radio. “He’s high in confidence, he’s been that guy for a long time so I can’t knock him for saying what he says. But no ... hell no. I just see the human being that he is, especially watching him as a future opponent. I see him definitely fighting to his reputation. So, when I fight, I’m gonna fight to the ability that he’s gonna bring out of me. It’s gonna be a completely different fight. I’m not trying to go to a decision. I’m not trying to go to the scorecards, I ain’t trying to have five-round wars with him. He’s too fucking good.”
Adesanya (22-1) is 11-0 in the middleweight division, having recently outpointed former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 in Houston. The only blemish on “The Last Stylebender’s” record is a light heavyweight decision loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in early 2021.
Silva was 3-0 at light heavyweight with three knockouts.
Cannonier (15-5) is 5-1 since dropping down to middleweight and is coming off back-to-back victories over Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson. More importantly, the 38 year-old “Killa Gorilla” has double-digit knockouts and could be Adesanya’s most dangerous opponent to date.
“The longer I’m in there with him, the better chance he has of winning and vice versa, the longer he’s in there with me, the more chances I’m gonna have for winning,” Cannonier continued. “And I ain’t trying to go in there and have no wars, man. I ain’t trying to shorten my career. I’m already up there in age as people seem to think, but I’m trying to have a long career, man. I foresee myself being old, gray, gripping ass grey fro with a big ass grey beard, ripped and chiseled to the fucking bone. Maybe a few battle wounds. I already got some with a big ass fucking axe or a sword. Some type of shit like that.“
The winner of Adesanya vs. Cannonier will likely move on to defend the middleweight title against the winner of this fight, which also takes place at UFC 276 in Las Vegas.