What’s next for Israel Adesanya after successful title defense at UFC 276?

Daniel Cunningham

This past Saturday at UFC 276, the middleweight title was on the line. The king of the division, Israel Adesanya (23-1) was looking to successfully defend his title for the fifth time as he took on Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (15-6).

Adesanya was coming off back-to-back successful title defenses over Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori. Both of those wins were in rematches so this was the first time Adesanya was defending against a new opponent since Paulo Costa.

One big threat Adesanya was going to have to deal with at UFC 276 was the power of Jared Cannonier. Cannonier used to fight at heavyweight and he’s carried that heavyweight power all the way down to 185. Adesanya was going to need to keep his distance and that’s what he did.

Over the course of five rounds, Adesanya stayed on the outside and used a heavy diet of jabs and kicks. Cannonier really never found any serious success and it was a solid showing for the champion. Not the most exciting fight, but almost a unanimous sweep of the scorecards at UFC 276.

What’s next after UFC 276?

When Joe Rogan climbed in the cage at UFC 276 to ask Adesanya what’s next, The Last Stylebender already had an answer. He, along with the rest of the world, knows who will be next for the middleweight champion.

Alex Pereira is going to be next for the UFC champion. Earlier in the evening, Pereira picked up his third UFC win by knocking out Sean Strickland in the first round. It was an incredible performance for the former Glory Kickboxing World Champion.

While three wins doesn’t usually get you a title shot, it’s important to know the backstory. Pereira and Adesanya fought twice in Glory Kickboxing. In their first fight, Pereira won by decision. In their second fight, Pereira knocked Adesanya out cold.

For the first time in his UFC career, Adesanya is going to face a fighter in his prime and on his level in terms of striking. It’s going to create a helluva buildup and an extremely interesting fight whenever they clash.