UFC 276 features some of the best fights this year.
There’s no doubt about it. If you are a fight fan then you will want to be tuning into UFC 276 featuring middleweight champion Israel Adesanya versus Jared Cannonier, and the third meeting between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway for the featherweight title. Both matches will likely be intense, stand up battles between some of the best strikers in the world.
How do these great fighters match up? Let’s dig a little bit deeper to find out.
Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier
At this point of his career, Israel Adesanya is trying to cement his legacy as one of the greatest middleweights of all time. While he may be quick to deny this fact, Adesanya has gone on a legendary streak inside the UFC. If he hopes to remain the champion, he’ll have to bring his best against the hard-hitting Jared Cannonier.
Israel Adesanya should aim to use feints early and often. While this has always been a staple to his game, dealing with a powerhouse like Cannonier means dealing with one shot knockout power in every strike. While many didn’t like his approach against Yoel Romero, Adesanya would be smart to replicate the performance. He should aim to throw noncommittal offense to see what Cannonier will want to do. As he begins to draw out cannoneers attack, Adesanya will have a better opportunity to counter.
On the other side of the equation, pressure, pressure, pressure should be the name of the game for Jared Cannonier. Israel Adesanya is adept at dealing with pressure fighters, but nonetheless it’s Cannonier’s best opportunity to win.
Jared Cannonier will want to avoid a cerebral striking match with Adesanya. If he tries to strike from distance and gives out Adesanya enough time to figure out a game plan, Cannonier could find himself way behind in the five-round affair. Cannonier should aim to enter the pocket as quickly as possible, utilizing jabs and feints, while also remaining defensively responsible. Once he does get inside the pocket, he should aim to damage Adesanya’s legs powerful and consistent leg kicks. If he can do this and slow Adesanya down, Cannonier can then utilize his big power while at mid-range.
Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway 3
Having defeated Max Holloway twice already Alexander Volkanovski could easily come into this fight with a chip on his shoulder. Fortunately for the featherweight champion, that won’t be the case, as Volkanovski is a consummate professional. His first two bouts with Holloway showed that not only can Volkanovski match the former champion’s pace, but switch gears when necessary.
Like always, Alexander Volkanovski should rely on his fakes and feints, much like his stablemate Israel Adesanya. What he should also add to the game is more front kicks. While he had a bunch of success in the first two fights with leg kicks, he’ll need a new wrinkle to add to his game. Front kicks will allow him to have an extra weapon to attack up the center line. This can either keep Holloway at bay or mask when Volkanovski chooses to throw his leg kicks or body kicks. Volkanovski should constantly break his center line and avoid moving straight in to avoid Holloway’s jab, knee, or rear uppercut-lead hook combination.
Having lost the first two battles with Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway is going to need to bring something new to the table. While he was a dominant champion during his reign, Holloway usually has one approach to his fights. That is to throw a high volume of strikes many of which are set up by his hands. In his bouts, fence dropping the second fight against Volkanovski, Holloway has shown even more improved skills and an ability to switch up the game plan when needed.
McQueen strategy for Holloway, which worked for him well in the first bout, is attacking the head and then going down to the body. You should also look to start combinations off with his front kick or his inside leg kick. He can use these strikes as throwaways to gauge distance and to eventually drop his heavier shots with his hands. As always, his jab is going to be paramount to his success. He also needs to check leg kicks, and this cannot be stressed enough. He allowed Volkanovski to get off too many flush leg kicks, which eventually hampered Holloway’s movement. Fighting at longer range, just outside kicking range and baiting Volkanovski into counter shots should be Holloway’s main strategy to obtain victory.
Who do you think wins at UFC 276, Israel Adesanya or Jared Cannonier, Alexander Volkanovski or Max Holloway?