After controversial loss at UFC Louisville, what’s next for Jared Cannonier?

Syndication: The Courier-Journal
Timothy D. Easley/Special to the Courier-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

This past weekend in the main event of UFC Louisville, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division. Top contenders went battled it out as Nassourdine Imavov (14-4) took on former title challenger “The Killa Gorilla” Jared Cannonier (17-7). On paper, this matchup looked very even and we got a very close fight on Saturday night.

Heading into the fight, I actually liked Cannonier in this matchup especially coming off his performance against Marvin Vettori last year. Imavov is tremendous from distance but I loved Cannonier’s power and ability to get inside in this matchup. That’s what played out in the first round as Cannonier took the first round on all three scorecards.

However, in the second round, Imavov was able to maintain distance and get his timing. He landed the better shots and took the second round on all three scorecards. The third round saw both men have success. However, the bigger moments seemed to come from Cannonier and I along with two of the three judges gave him the third round.

Had this just been a three-round fight, Cannonier would’ve won by split decision at UFC Louisville. However, with it being a main event, we still had two more rounds. Imavov blasted Cannonier with a huge right that rocked him in the fourth. Cannonier never got knocked down but was visibly hurt. He kept running back to the cage to try and get some separation to recover.

However, during one of the exchanges, Jason Herzog deemed that Cannonier wasn’t defending himself and stopped the fight. Cannonier immediately protested because he never even hit the ground and the crowd erupted in boos. The bad stoppage resulted in a TKO loss for Cannonier at UFC Louisville.

What’s next after UFC Louisville?

At 40-years-old, Jared Cannonier is trying to make another run towards the middleweight title. Had the fight continued and he won, he would’ve been on a three-fight win streak which also included wins over former title challenger Marvin Vettori and former champion Sean Strickland.

Now, he has to battle back from this TKO loss. Cannonier appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour yesterday and continued to voice his frustration that many in the MMA community are also voicing regarding the stoppage. Cannonier said that he felt like he didn’t lose but rather the fight was taken away from him. I tend to agree with that assessment.

He still got rocked and hurt, but especially with it being a razor close main event, he should’ve been given more time. Cannonier said he’s spoken with UFC match makers who indicated that they are interested in running the fight back. Cannonier said he’s be very interested in fighting Imavov again and would even do it in September when the promotion returns to Paris. An immediate rematch is the best outcome for Cannonier.

Should the promotion go in a different direction, I think the loser of the Khamzat Chimaev – Robert Whittaker fight would be a great next fight for Cannonier. Whoever loses that fight is still going to be in the mix near the top of the division so a fight would Cannonier would keep both parties right in the mix despite coming off losses.

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