After testing out two other weight classes, Cannonier has found a home at 185 pounds. Aside from a sole loss to Robert Whittaker, “The Killa Gorilla” has brushed aside every other opponent in the division.
Having defeated former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum in a 2021 main event and brutally dispatched top-five contender Derek Brunson earlier this year at UFC 271, Cannonier has cemented himself as the number one contender.
While he’ll look to add the first blemish to the champ’s middleweight record in the UFC 276 main event next month, Adesanya will hope to extend his dominance over the weight class with an impressive International Fight Week performance.
So far during his reign, Adesanya has defended his gold against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, and Whittaker. Having analyzed how “The Last Stylebender” implemented his technical and skilled striking game against all four, Cannonier is looking to break the mold.
Speaking to MMA News’ own James Lynch just weeks out from his first UFC championship opportunity, “The Killa Gorilla” discussed his keys to victory, highlighting how important it is that he doesn’t fall into Adesanya’s striking traps.
“There’s gonna be a lot of technique being employed. It’s gonna be a very technical — it’s gonna be a striker’s delight, if you will. But it ain’t gonna be no striking match. This is an MMA fight,” said Cannonier. “So, I don’t plan on playing his striking game. He goads everybody into it. He confuses them, but then next thing you know, they’re in there getting juiced. They didn’t know they were playing right into his hands.
“I’m planning on neutralizing. I want him to be neutralized. On no level do I wanna be flaccid out there. If he does something, he’s gonna have to be super dynamic. He’s gonna have to be very dynamic,” added Cannonier. “He’s gonna have to be like, red alert type sh*t… For me, this is going to be very fun, very interesting.”
Catch our full interview with UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier below:
While he’s unsurprisingly entering his title challenge as a significant underdog, Cannonier will be looking to upset the MMA world on July 2 in Las Vegas, something that he seems very confident in his ability to do.
Should he shake up the middleweight division next month, it stands to reason that Vettori and Whittaker, who have already suffered two losses at the hands of Adesanya, will be right back into play at the top of the weight class.
Does Jared Cannonier have what it takes to hand Israel Adesanya his first loss at 185 pounds?