This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC 276, the middleweight title was on the line. Undisputed king Israel Adesanya (23-1) was looking to defend his title for the fifth time and do it against Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (15-6).
Cannonier originally made his UFC debut in the heavyweight division. However, over the years he found his way to his ideal weight class at 185 pounds. Entering UFC 276, he had a 5-1 record at middleweight with the lone loss coming against Robert Whittaker.
We knew that Cannonier had a ton of power heading into Saturday night. However, the big questions were surrounding whether or not Cannonier would be able to hit Adesanya clean and overcome the reach disadvantage.
While Cannonier was able to land a shot here and there, he really struggled overall at UFC 276. Adesanya was able to keep Cannonier at range all night and Cannonier struggled to find his way inside. When he would, Adesanya did a good job of avoiding the big shots.
Cannonier found most of his success when he forced clinches that led to close exchanges. However, nothing major was done in terms of damage. When the scorecards were read, two judges gave Cannonier one round while the other judge gave Adesanya all five at UFC 276.
What’s next after UFC 276?
This is a really tough loss for Cannonier for a few reasons. One, it’s going to sting because he finally got the chance to become UFC champion and it was a really flat performance on his part. However, another thing that will make this sting is his age.
Cannonier just turned 38 years old and he’s not getting any younger. There’s no guarantee he will get another crack at UFC gold. A lot will ride on how his next performance goes. With that in mind, who should Cannonier face next?
Well, there are a few options. The UFC could give him a fight with Sean Strickland who will still have a top ranking but a guy who will also be coming off a loss. Another option would be facing the loser of Rockhold/Costa or Vettori/Whittaker.
There are still plenty of fights for The Killa Gorilla and I think the UFC is going to give him a top opponent next.