Israel Adesanya has extended his reign as the UFC Middleweight champion after defeating Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision in a match critics, including actor Chris Pratt, did not find interesting. For the third time in a row, Adesanya left his fans yearning for a finish but failed to give them; instead, he left it to the judges to decide the winner of the match. At UFC 276, Adesanya put up a brilliant performance, and his victory was well-deserved, no doubt, but the UFC Middleweight Champion can do more than fight till the finish.
In his fifth title defence, and his second fight this year, Adesanya displayed the skill and courage that made him the champion in the first place. He led all five rounds and was a real threat to his opponent, who was finding it tough to connect his punches at times. Adesanya had the wits and charm we have all come to admire him for, and even though he did not produce a knockout like everyone would have hoped, his fight was good enough to impress all three judges as they voted in his favour.
After the fight, Adesanya acknowledged that UFC 276 was not his best night and things seemed a bit off for him, but he managed to come out victorious: “I had an off night tonight. (Coach) Eugene (Bareman) told me, ‘The people who really know you, teammates, family, they know you had an off night.’ And still, I still f*cked him up.”
Adesanya still took some time out to address critics and people who booed him after the fight, saying that he had gotten to a point where people just wanted to see him fall, as he compared himself with some of the greats: “GSP, people would boo him, and I’m like, ‘What are you guys watching? [Muhammad] Ali, Floyd Mayweather, same thing. You get to this point where, like, you’re so great, people just want to see you fall. They just want to see you fall, no matter what. If it’s not like a show-out, spectacular performance, then it’s like, ah, he’s not even that good.”
Regardless of how the fight went down, Adesanya is still the champion and remains undefeated in the Middleweight division.
Written by: Leon Osamor