3 Jul 2022

UFC: Adesanya beats Cannonier to retain title for fifth time

6:05 pm on 3 July 2022

Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski scored dominant unanimous decision victories and retained their UFC titles at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday on a UFC 276 fight card that was short on fireworks but that had plenty of skill on show.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Israel Adesanya (L) of Nigeria punches Jared Cannonier in their middleweight title bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Carmen Mandato / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Israel Adesanya punches Jared Cannonier in their middleweight title bout during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena on 2 July in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: CARMEN MANDATO

New Zealander Adesanya did a masterful job of controlling the distance to evade the punching power of Cannonier, the 32-year-old staying out of range before darting in to score with a dizzying variety of strikes across the five five-minute rounds.

Texas native Cannonier did what he could in the later stages to trap Adesanya against the cage, but Adesanya was rarely in any danger en route to his fifth successful title defence.

In the co-main event, Australia's Volkanovski used his speed and a consistent stinging jab to score a convincing victory over Hawaiian Max Holloway, keeping his featherweight title before suggesting a move up to lightweight.

"I want to be busy, I don't think this division itself can keep me busy - I want to move up to lightweight, go for double champ (add the lightweight belt) and keep two divisions busy," he said in his post-fight interview in the octagon.

Earlier in the evening, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone called time on his career after losing to Jim Miller via second-round submission in his 55th professional fight.

"I'm not complaining at anybody but I just don't love it anymore," the 39-year-old fan favourite said, leaving his gloves and cowboy hat in the centre of the cage. "I'm going to be a movie star. It's time to bow out, one hell of a career."

Cerrone's last win in the UFC came in May 2019 against Al Iaquinta and he has lost six of his seven fights since then, with the other bout ruled a no-contest.

- Reuters