International Fight Week takes place this weekend in Las Vegas with a card littered with Australian and New Zealand athletes.
Israel Adesanya defends his UFC Middleweight title in the main event against Jared Cannonier and Featherweight champ Alex Volkanovski take on Max Holloway for a third time in the co-main event.
Kiwi Lightweight Brad Riddell is also on the card as is Aussie Women’s Bantamweight Jessica-Rose Clark.
This is arguably the best card of the year with an incredible amount of depth and our full UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier Tips & Preview can be found below.
Next up, Jared Cannonier.
Israel Adesanya has lapped the Middleweight division and is looking to cement his legacy even further by defended his title for a fifth time.
His only loss in 23 professional fights was when attempting to become the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time when challenging Jan Blachowicz for the Light Heavyweight title.
Since that loss he has defeated Rob Whittaker and Marvin Vettori, two men he had previously beaten.
Jared Cannonier put his hand up and called for a title shot after he beat Derek Brunson in Houston at UFC 271 in February.
That was his fifth win in six fights and he really was the obvious choice for the next shot at Izzy.
Cannonier started his MMA career as a Heavyweight, followed by his UFC stint as a Light Heavyweight, but his career has been most successful since dropping down to Middleweight.
There is no doubting that he is a heavy hitter and possesses heavy hands but he matches up badly against Adesanya who has seen it all at this stage in his career.
He is a master at keeping his distance and using his length to his advantage.
His takedown defence is extremely good and he strikes at different angles which causes his opponent’s a lot of problems.
“Max is known as ‘Blessed’ Holloway…and he is blessed to be given this third shot.”
Volk is holding back during fight week and to be honest there is a fair amount of truth to that statement.
The Aussie Featherweight champ could have avoided a third fight with Holloway having beaten him twice already.
We know there are plenty of other champions that certainly would have.
But to Holloway’s credit he has dominated in his two fights since his last loss to Volkanovski, setting plenty of striking records against Calvin Kattar and then Yair Rodriguez.
The rhetoric is that Holloway is as good as he has ever been and while that may be true, Volk has improved out of sight since their last bout.
He was pulled to the deep end of the pool against Brian Ortega and it’s easy to asses that fight that Volk almost lost.
But the reality is that he dominated aside from the submission attempts and won in a lopsided decision.
On the flip side despite landed an enormous amount of significant strikes in his last two fights, Holloway absorbed over 300 of his own.
The former champ has never lost a fight via KO/TKO in his professional career but that damage adds up.
I do think that the judges will again be needed but I wouldn’t be surprised if those vicious leg kicks add up toward the end of the fight for a TKO win.
If you like either fight straight out, remember that if the fight ends in split decision, you will be paid as a winner regardless of the result. Click link to website for more details.
“Fight a ranked opponent already!”
These were the cries of fight fans seemingly since Sean O’Malley came into the UFC and their prayers have been answered!
I was actually quite enjoying O’Malley dominate his opponents if I’m being honest.
Watching a clearly talented fighter work his way through the rankings is one of my favourite things about this sport.
O’Malley will step up in class but he has chosen wisely against an older opponent who is on a losing skid. And is also a genguine striker.
Pedro Munhoz has lost four of his last five fights but all four have been by decision and against quality opponents.
In fact five of his last six fights have been against former of current champions including Aljamain Sterling, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt.
O’Malley is a unique striker who uses his range and distance superbly and although we haven’t seen him on the canvas much to assess his grappling prowess, that is because his takedown defence is also very good.