UFC 276: Betting Guide for Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier

In the main event of UFC 276 Saturday night in Las Vegas, Israel Adesanya (22-1) welcomes the newest challenger to his long middleweight title reign, Jared Cannonier (15-5). 

Dimers.com MMA expert Spencer's Picks breaks down this bout and others on Saturday night's fight card.

 

UFC 276 Main Event

Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier

In the main event of the evening, Israel Adesanya (22-1) is welcoming the newest challenger to his long middleweight title reign, Jared Cannonier (15-5). 

Adesanya has dominated the middleweight division since winning the title in 2019, and looks to add Cannonier to his resume at UFC 276. Adesanya has always been one of the more active champions, defending his title 5 times since then, and improving his UFC middleweight record to 11-0. He is a very technical, smooth striker with 80 kickboxing fights and this experience translates well into the octagon. He plans to have another title fight, another victory, and another belt to add to his collection.

His opponent, Jared Cannonier, has other plans. 

After starting his career at heavyweight in 2011, Cannonier has managed to cut down 2 weight classes, and is looking fantastic at middleweight, with his only loss coming to the very skilled Robert Whittaker.

Cannonier is undoubtedly walking into the biggest fight of his career, while it’s just another day at the office for Adesanya. Much has been made of this point in the lead-up to the fight, it will take a lot more than motivation to beat Adesanya.

Cannonier will certainly be a motivated man, as the paycheck for the middleweight championship will be substantial, but this matchup is not ideal for Cannonier’s skill set. The challenger is used to facing opponents much larger than he is given his upper weight class experience, and will certainly be looking to replicate the style of Jan Blachowicz’s victory over Adesanya at light heavyweight.

Cannonier is a man with knockout power, with 5 of his last 6 wins being in this fashion, and will be looking to get in close to Adesanya, and end the fight quickly. This is easier said than done, as Adesanya is a technically gifted counter striker, and Cannonier will not be the first opponent to try to get in close and make it physical. Cannonier will likely be behind on the scorecards for a majority of the fight, but with the knockout power he possesses, will not be out of the fight until the final bell rings. 

Israel Adesanya encompasses the beauty of mixed martial arts. Watching him strike and move around the octagon can be mesmerizing at times, and very effective. The crisp and direct nature of his punches, and his ability to throw kicks to all areas of the body make predicting, and preventing his next move very difficult. Adesanya has faced opponents big and small, thin and stocky.

Regardless of the opponent, the game plan remains the same; stay at range, and let the years of training and experience do the rest. His ability to maintain this range with his low leg kicks allow his reach and height advantage to be put to good work. 

Despite all the attention the desperate Cannonier will be getting, Adesanya is still king. When fighting at his natural weight class, Adesanya has yet to lose a fight, and hasn’t even been challenged in years. 

I don’t anticipate Cannonier being the man to end this dominant reign.

Additionally, BetMGM is running an offer where new customers can Bet $10 and Win $200 on Adesanya landing a punch. This allows you to make 20x your money if one of the best strikers in the UFC lands a single punch. He will certainly land more than 1 en route to another textbook Adesanya win. This BetMGM offer is not available to users in New York, so we recommend DraftKings' Bet $5, Win $100 offer instead.

UFC 276 Pick: Israel Adesanya to land a punch (+2000 with the BetMGM promo)

 

UFC 276 Main Event Keys to Victory

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Adesanya has successfully employed his wide variety of attacks to remain undefeated. Despite Cannonier's power, he must stick to his strengths and ride it out to another victory.

Don’t get comfortable

Adesanya often builds big leads in his fights, then tends to slow down and take it easy in the later rounds. While this strategy may work against others, against the powerful Cannonier he must remain focused from start to finish. 

Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira

Sean Strickland (25-3) is entering the biggest fight of his career, riding a six-fight win streak and brimming with confidence. 

Strickland leans heavily on his fight IQ, coupled with powerful strikes, good clinch work and devastating ground and pound. He certainly believes he has the tools to become the middleweight champion

Across the octagon is the kickboxing legend Alex Pereira (5-1). 

Pereira is relatively new to competing in mixed martial arts, with this being his 7th professional fight and 3rd in the UFC. However this does not mean he is new to fighting, with 40 kickboxing matches under his belt. Given this background, it is very clear what his game plan will be — stay on the feet and strike. This fight would not have the same level of anticipation were it not for the fact that Pereira beat current middleweight champion Adesanya twice when they met while kickboxing, including a devastating KO loss where the UFC champion required oxygen assistance

Pereira has shown the ability to out-strike the best in the world, but that may not be enough. 

Strickland will not be finding success if he chooses to sit in the pocket and trade with the technically gifted Pereira, and will be pushing for this fight to go to the mat. 

Strickland has a devastating ground and pound game, and if he can put this skill on display, this fight may be a short one. Furthermore, Strickland has learned from his losses against top strikers, and has shown a defense-first mentality by having a much narrower stance. This will certainly come in handy at UFC 276. 

I’m not saying this will be a Sean Strickland domination, since with the striking technique Pereira brings to the table there will certainly be a few hooks that get through Strickland’s guard, however Strickland has shown enough defensive technique to withstand this, turn this into a dirty mixed martial arts fight, and will get his hand raised by the referee, cashing out tickets as the underdog, and putting the free $100 from DraftKings to good work. 

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Pick: Sean Strickland (+100)

 

Keys to Victory in Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira

Defense first

Strickland will be eager to get this fight going, as both fighters know the winner will likely be getting a title shot. Strickland must not let this get to his head and act rashly, otherwise his lights will get turned off by the technique of Pereira. 

Make it dirty

The kickboxing experience Pereira brings forces Strickland to get into the clinch, and onto the mat. If Strickland drags his opponent into his territory, and makes him uncomfortable, then he will find success. 

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway

Alexander Volkanovski (24-1) is the No. 2 pound for pound fighter on the planet, and is riding a 21 fight win streak, including an 11-0 UFC record and winning the featherweight belt 4 times. Not bad.

Volkanovski has fought Max Holloway (23-6) twice before, winning both fights, albeit by razor fine margins. Volkanovski is one of the truly dominant fighters of this era. In my eyes, the ability to win fights when the opponent is tougher than imagined, or the fight isn’t going your way, is the true mark of a champion. Volkanovski managed to pull out a victory in both prior fights against Holloway, and there is little reason to suggest an alternative outcome at UFC 276. 

Volkanovski has shown that with his grit, athleticism, and well-rounded skill set, there are few tougher fighters in the entire UFC promotion. 

Holloway thinks otherwise. 

Max Holloway’s fights against Volkanovski were clearly the closest fights of Volkanovski’s reign, and Holloway firmly believes he actually won both prior fights, and will want to leave no doubt in the fans, and more importantly the judges minds in the third fight of the trilogy. 

Max Holloway won the featherweight championship in 2016, and successfully defended it 3 times, until 2019, until he lost against the aforementioned Volkanovski. Holloway is one of the top strikers in the UFC, holding many records including most strikes in a UFC fight, most strikes in UFC history, longest featherweight win streak, and most featherweight fight time. Needless to say, he is very experienced, and very skilled. 

In order for Holloway to have success in this fight, he will need to land some big strikes, and vary his approach. It is clear based on the two previous fights that Holloway will need to land some powerful, fight-altering strikes rather than relying on the usual insane volume output to win, since after 50 minutes in the cage with Volkanovski, there can’t be many surprises left. 

Volkanovski will find success (again) if he sticks to the game plan. He has demonstrated that he can effectively mitigate Holloway’s fantastic striking, and will likely be looking to attack the lead leg again. In the second fight, Volkanovski clearly lost the first two rounds thanks to some potentially fight-ending blows from Holloway, but he rallied for a come-from-behind victory. 

It’s worth noting that Volkanovski was never outstruck in all 5 rounds, and will be looking for the same edge in output in the third fight.

If things do get hairy for Volkanovski he can lean on takedowns to slow the fight. Despite being 5 inches shorter than Holloway, Volkanovski holds a slight reach advantage and this leaves more weight for muscle in his stocky figure. This unique build has allowed Volkanovski to outstrike, and outmuscle his opponents, and the lanky figure of Holloway lends well to this technique. 

When it is all said and done, Volkanovski will leave no doubt that he is the king of the featherweight division, and will send Holloway looking elsewhere for a chance at UFC stardom. 

UFC 276 Pick: Alexander Volkanovski (-210)

Additionally, given that Volkanovski is coming in at chalky -210 odds, the best way to make the most money on this fight is by going over to DraftKings and taking advantage of their latest offer. Bet $5+ on UFC 276 and Get $100 instantly upon bet placement with DraftKings!

Keys to victory Volkanovski vs. Holloway

Attack the leg

In the first fights, Volkanovski appeared to neutralize the volume of Holloway by attacking the lead leg from start to finish. If he does this again, a similar outcome can be expected.

Show heart

There is no doubt Volkanovski has shown the heart of a champion in his previous fights. From the guillotine of Brian Ortega to the uppercuts of Holloway, Volkanovski has shown he will not quit, and will likely need some more of that lion’s heart to be victorious at UFC 276.

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