The annual UFC International Fight Week is never complete without the big event that happens during its celebration. This year, that event is UFC 276 which will be headlined by two title fights.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his belt against the hard-hitting Jared Cannonier in the main event. Meanwhile, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will fight Max Holloway for the third time in the co-main event.

Alex Pereira and Sean Strickland meet in the third bout of the main card in a bout that might produce Adesanya’s next opponent. Meanwhile, the highly-touted prospect Sean O’Malley takes on the experienced Pedro Munhoz in the second bout of the main card. Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler opens the main card versus Bryan Barberena.

Let’s take a look at the UFC main card bout and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier

Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion. The Last Stylebender is undefeated as a middleweight and has successfully defended his belt four times. A former Hex Fighting Series middleweight king and AFC middleweight champion, Adesanya joined the UFC in 2018 and won his first nine bouts before suffering his first UFC and career loss in a light heavyweight title challenge against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 271.

The 32-year-old Nigerian-born New Zealander has a record of 22-1 with 15 knockouts. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 80 inches and is a switch-hitter.

Jared Cannonier is the no. 2 ranked middleweight contender in the UFC. The 38-year-old from Dallas, Texas is a former Alaska Fighting Championship heavyweight champion who joined the UFC in 2015. After opening his UFC career with a 3-4 record, he has won four out of his last five bouts including a TKO win over Derek Brunson at UFC 271 which earned him his second Performance of the Night award in his last four bouts.

Cannonier is 15-5 with 10 knockouts and two submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 77 inches and also fights as a switch-hitter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/01/2022

Adesanya is fast and fluid on his feet, both on offense and defense. He has unorthodox footwork which makes him very difficult to hit cleanly. His head movement is also excellent and all of these make him avoid significant damage in his bouts. But more than his defense, it’s his offense that makes him dangerous. He starts his offense with a laser jab and his kicking game is just as devastating as his punches.

Like Adesanya, Cannonier is a counter-puncher. He has heavy power in his punches but his striking game has lost some of its speed as he has aged. Most of his strikes come from his left side – straight left hands, heavy hooks, and a heavy left kick. However, since he is primarily a counter-puncher, Cannonier’s fights have moments where there isn’t much action as he waits for his opponents to make a mistake. Adesanya doesn’t make too many mistakes.

No question Cannonier’s power is going to be the equalizer in this bout. However, Adesanya is too fast, too skilled, and too smart for him. Unless Cannonier increases his volume, he isn’t going to outpoint Adesanya. Can he knock out the Style Bender? If he lands clean, then yes. But that’s easier said than done.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya

“Fighting" Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway

Alex Volkanovski is the UFC featherweight champion. The 33-year-old from Wollongong, New South Wales won the belt by defeating Max Holloway in their first bout at UFC 245. He beat Holloway in a disputed split decision in their rematch at UFC 251. Voklanovski has a solid Greco-Roman wrestling background and a black belt in BJJ. With those and his excellent striking skills, he can finish opponents on the mat and the feet.

Volkanovski is 24-1 with 12 knockouts and 3 submission wins. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 71 inches.

Max Holloway is the immediate former UFC featherweight champion. Blessed lost the Belt to Volkanovski four bouts ago. After a close and controversial loss in their rematch, Holloway put up impressive wins over top contenders Calvin Kattat and Yair Rodriguez. The 30-year-old from Hawaii is one of the best volume strikers ever in the UFC with 698 strikes landed in his last two bouts. Not only that, he carries tremendous punching power with 8 KOs in the division.

Holloway is 23-6 with 10 knockouts and two submission wins. Blessed is 5-11 tall with a 69-inch reach and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/01/2022

You can argue that Max Holloway won the second fight and then after that, he delivered back-to-back masterful striking performances against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez who are currently 5th and 3rd in the latest featherweight rankings. These suggest that despite losing back-to-back fights against Volkanovski, Holloway isn’t broken and in fact may still be the best in the division right now.

Volkanovski defeated Brian Ortega and the Korean Zombie in his last two bouts. There was no doubt that he got the better of Holloway in their first bout but many, including me, doubt whether he won that second fight. It was close but it looked like Holloway did a little more to win the bout and looked like he wanted it more.

One thing clear about the second fight is that Holloway showed no respect for Volkanovski as he did the first time out. Holloway took more risks while landing the cleaner and heavier shots. Unlike the first bout, he fought to win rather than not to lose. If Holloway fights at least as he did in the second fight, with a different set of judges, he’ll bet Volk here. This should be another dog fight but I’ve always believed that Holloway has the better striking game.

Prediction: Max Holloway

“Fighting" Sean Strickland vs Alex Pereira

Sean Strickland is the no. 4 ranked middleweight in the UFC. A professional mixed martial artist since 2008, Strickland is a former King of the Cage middleweight champion with five successful title defenses. He joined the UFC in 2014 and opened his UFC career with a 6-3 record. Since losing to Elizeu dos Santos in 2018, he has won six straight wins and defeated Jack Hermansson in his most recent bout.

Strickland is 25-3 with 10 knockouts and four submission victories. He is 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Alex Pereira is a former GLORY kickboxing two-weight division champion who defeated Israel Adesanya twice in that promotion. The 34-year-old from Sao Paolo, Brazil has fought only six times in pro-MMA, including three with Jungle Fight from 2015-16. After his kickboxing career, he transitioned back to MMA in 2020 and is 3-0 with two knockouts including back-to-back UFC wins in his previous two bouts.

Pereira is 5-1 with four knockouts. The Brazilian stands 6-4 tall with a 79-inch reach and fights as an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/01/2022

This one’s interesting because despite having fought only six times as a professional MMA fighter, Alex Pereira is the slight betting favorite to win this bout. Sure, Pereira owns two wins against Adesanya in kickboxing. He is also a former kickboxing champion with only seven losses in 40 bouts along with 21 KOs. But MMA isn’t just about striking and his opponent lands at least one takedown per fight with a 61% takedown accuracy.

Strickland is on a roll right now with six consecutive wins inside the UFC Octagon. Sure his last loss was a KO against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos but that was way back in 2018. Strickland loves to go for the KO but I don’t think he would be stupid enough to go toe-to-toe with Pereira on the feet. Strickland’s takedown should be good enough to take Pereira to the mat where he can force the Brazilian to submit.

This isn’t an easy bout to pick as Pereira could easily land that perfect shot and stop Strickland early. But given his experience, Strickland should be smart enough to know that Pereira’s best chance of beating him is on the feet. Once this fight goes to the ground, the betting odds won’t matter.

Prediction: Sean Strickland

“Fighting" Sean O’Malley vs Pedro Munhoz

Sean O’Malley is the no. 13 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 27-year-old from Helena, Montana is a former Intense Championship Fighting bantamweight champion who was a product of the Contender Series. ‘Suga’ Sean won his first four UFC bouts including three of which won post-fight bonuses. At UFC 252, he suffered his first loss against Chito Vera but has bounced back to win three in a row, all via knockout.

O’Malley is 15-1 with 11 knockouts and one submission win. He is a switch hitter who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches.

Pedro Munhoz is the no. 9 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 35-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil is a former Resurrection Fighting Alliance bantamweight champion. Munhoz opened his UFC career with an 8-2 record with one no-contest. However, he’s lost four out of his last five bouts and heads to this event coming off back-to-back losses to former champions Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz.

Munhoz is 19-7 with five knockouts and eight submission wins. He stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/01/2022

O’Malley is long and lanky and he can spend the whole 15 minutes just striking from a distance without getting hit by the shorter Munhoz. If he chooses to brawl, O’Malley also has unexpectedly heavy hands and there’s a chance that he knocks out Munhoz if he gets his combinations going.

Munhoz is a tough customer and he has never been stopped before. However, he’s lost four out of his last five bouts, including three via unanimous decision. If he wants to get back on track, Munhoz needs to land those calf kicks which could cause plenty of problems for O’Malley whose only loss came in a fight where his leg was compromised.

O’Malley is a smart guy. He doesn’t accept fights against top-ranked fighters because he says he isn’t paid superstar money yet. There’s a reason why Sean O’ Malley took this fight and it’s not because he thinks that Pedro Munhoz is going to give him a challenge.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley

“Fighting" Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Baberena

Robbie Lawler is a former UFC welterweight champion. Ruthless also competed for PRIDE, Strikeforce, and IFL and was also the welterweight champion at Elite XC. The 40-year-old from San Diego California is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC owing to his fan-friendly brawling style. However, Lawler is past his prime and has won just twice in his last seven bouts.

Lawler is 29-15 with 21 knockouts and one submission win. He is a southpaw who is 5-11 tall and has a reach of 74 inches.

Bryan Barberena began his career at Dakota FC, KOTC, and Crowbar MMA before joining the UFC in 2014. He’s had an up and down career in the UFC and heads to this bout coming off back-to-back wins over Darian Weeks and Matt Brown. Barberena has never won three in a row inside the UFC Octagon and he will be looking for his longest win streak on Saturday night.

Barberena is 17-8 with 10 knockouts and two submission victories. He is also a southpaw who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 72 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 07/01/2022

There’s no question that Robbie Lawler has the more impressive resume and the former UFC welterweight champion is a fighter who will give an opponent a war. However, Lawler isn’t as ruthless anymore as he was during his prime. He has won just once in his last five bouts and that was against Nick Diaz who had not fought in six years. Before that, Lawler had not won since UFC 214 in 2017.

Barberena may not have Lawler’s resume. But he’s younger and arguably hungrier. He’s also been busier than Lawler, having fought at least once a year since 2009. Barberena is also 3-1 in his last four bouts and looks like he’s in better shape than Lawler these days.

I will not discount a 40-year-old Robbie Lawler scoring a KO win here. My heart says Lawler but my wallet says Baberena. I’m going with the younger and more active fighter. Barberena is also in a better stretch right now.

Prediction: Bryan Barberena

Place Your Bets Now!

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *