Israel Adesanya retained his middleweight belt with a tepid unanimous-decision victory over Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 main event on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena on the Vegas Strip.
In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway for the third time, defending his featherweight title by unanimous decision with a dominant striking performance.
Adesanya (23-1, 15 finishes) won his belt three years ago as one of the UFC’s most entertaining fighters and personalities, but his elaborate ring walk might have been the most thrilling part of his dry, technical victory over the cautious Cannonier (15-6, 12 finishes).
After copying famed professional wrestler The Undertaker on a walk that included the wrestler’s signature hat and a large urn, Adesanya patiently picked at Cannonier with kicks and occasional punches for five rounds. Cannonier, getting his first UFC title shot at 38 years old, struggled to find a consistent striking range, and he didn’t show enough desperation to figure it out.
Adesanya won on all three judges’ scorecards, 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46. He has never lost a UFC middleweight fight, but he has just one stoppage victory in his five 185-pound fights since 2019.