Undisputed UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya put on a show as he defended his title against Jared Cannonier in las vegas. The tension leading up to the fight was there for all to see as potential Middleweight contender Alex Pereira had brutally knocked out Sean Strickland barely hours before.
Israel Adesanya responds to Alex Pereira call out after succesful title defence
Israel Adesanya responded to long time foe Alex Pereira after his victory against Jared Cannonier.
Adesanya defeats Cannonier
The initial exchanges saw both men test their range of kicks, with Cannonier doing well to avoid the leg kicks from Adesanya. With only a few seconds of the first round left, Adesanya tried an audacious spinning kick but Cannonier was alert to the danger and expertly avoided what could have easily floored him.
With Cannonier crowing in confidence, Adesanya descended on him with a flurry of punches aimed at the contender’s right eye. After a scuffle at the end of the round, Adesanya teased his opponent, wagging a finger and letting off a sheepish grin to taunt him.
In the third round, Cannonier showed his strength to pin Adesanya to the cage in an attempt to work the Champion’s upper body with a series of punches. Adesanya broke free but visibly looked rocked as Cannonier began to advance farther than he had in previous rounds.
The final round saw Cannonier go for the kill, but Adesanya showed why he is the champ, beautifully avoiding the big hits and countering with punches of his own. A great fight that went the distance, nothing short of what you would expect from two of the best fighters in the UFC.
Adesanya responds to Alex Pereira
Speaking immediately after the fight Adesanya courteously praised his opponent and reserved special praise for Cannonier's trainers for their game plan.
"One thing I was looking forward to was facing Jared as an opponent, but the second thing I was looking forward to was John Crouch versus Eugene Bareman. Two great coaches, two great teams.
"I will tell you one thing they had an excellent game plan. It was really hard for me to get my follow-ups going, my second phases going because they had a good game plan, and Jared had the fortitude in his mind." Adesanya said in the ring.
With Alex Pereira securing a swift and brutal knockout against Sean Strickland, the conversation of a potential rematch against Adesanya has been in discussion. Adesanya confidently sent a message to the Brazilian, promising to give him a memorable fight.
"Look, we know who is next. The first time I told you [Pereira] it was an error on my part due to my spamming right hand and that was in kickboxing. It is easy to knockout that homeboy [Sean Strickland] because he was parrying the jabs, but like I said at the press conference, next time I put you on skates, you will get frozen like Elsa." Adesanya said.
With that victory, Adesanya now takes his winning streak to 12 fights in the UFC.