After close decision win at UFC Vegas 66, what’s next for Jared Cannonier?

Feb 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) reacts after the fight against Derek Brunson (Blue Gloves) during UFC 271 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the headliner of UFC Vegas 66, we saw a battle between two of the very best middleweights in the world. Sean Strickland (25-5) and Jared Cannonier (16-6) were both trying to get a win to stay squarely in the title picture.

Entering UFC Vegas 66, both men were coming off losses so they needed this one badly. I figured that we’d see a steady diet of range strikes and slick movement from Strickland while Cannonier would move forward trying to throw with a ton of heat.

That’s exactly what we saw on Saturday night. However, the fight wasn’t the most exciting. Strickland was frustrating Cannonier throughout with his ability to just slide out of range. Meanwhile, he was doing a good job of landing straight shots and good jabs.

However, his volume wasn’t the highest. Cannonier was throwing with much more pop and he did land some big shots. Nothing that hurt Strickland, but the shots were felt. After five rounds, the striking totals were virtually equal and the judges gave Cannonier the split decision win at UFC Vegas 66.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 66?

In my opinion, I thought that Strickland was fighting the better fight on Saturday night. However, he just didn’t throw the volume that he needed to in order to win. When the striking totals are basically equal, the guy throwing the bigger shots is likely going to win and that’s what we saw.

Now that Cannonier is back on the winning track, what is the UFC going to do with him next? Well, at UFC 286 in March, there’s going to be a fight between Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze. I think the winner of that fight would be great for Cannonier.

If Paulo Costa re-signs with the UFC and defeats Robert Whittaker at UFC 284, I think that’s another real possibility for Cannonier. He needs a fresh opponent and one that is coming off a big win.