This weekend the UFC presents UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier from Las Vegas’ T Mobile Arena. It will be a sound card for Australian and New Zealand MMA fans to watch as four oceanic fighters are taking part.
I am diving back into the world of MMA blogging/journalism. Before I became a journalist, MMA blogging was where I started, so I’m happy to devote some time to it again and watch some fights.
Let’s have a look at the Main Card:
Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz vs ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley
This should be an exciting fight, as the smaller weight divisions usually are. Munhoz is on a two-fight skid and needs a win if he wants to climb the Bantamweight ladder. Both fighters’ last fight was on the same card, UFC 269. On that night, Munhoz lost to former Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz. In that fight, Munhoz Dropped Cruz twice in the first round but would go on to lose the battle via unanimous decision. O’Malley would do much better, defeating Raukian Paiva via TKO. Pavia found success with calf kicks during the first round but was knocked down by a right hand. O’Malley finished him off for the win.
O’Malley fights similar to Munhoz’s last opponent Dominick Cruz. He moves around a lot, switches stances, and is taller than Cruz, which will trouble Munhoz. O’Malley will need to watch the leg kicks; that was where Munhoz had some success early. O’Malley’s reach will worry Munhoz, so he will have to eat a punch to try and close the distance and land his big punches. A good fight to start the card.
Betting Odds on Neds: Sean O’Malley $1.33 Pedro Munhoz $3.25.
‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler vs Bryan ‘Bam Bam’ Barberena
This fight is going to be a slobberknocker. Anyone who has followed Lawler’s career knows precisely what he brings to the table. He loves to throw down with anyone willing to trade blows with him. I haven’t seen many of Barberena’s fights, but the one I have seen was just a downright brawl against Matt Brown.
I could say that Lawler needs to use his wrestling or that Barberena needs to mix up his striking, which he didn’t against Brown, but I think I will enjoy these two going hammer and tong for 15 minutes.
Betting Odds on Neds: Robbie Lawler $1.83 Bryan Barberena $1.98
Sean Strickland vs Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira
Whether you like him or not, Sean Strickland can fight. He does carry on a bit outside the Octagon, but you will watch him win or get knocked out; either way, you’re watching him. Strickland’s last start was a split decision win against Jack Hemansson in the main event in February. He has won six fights in a row and, going off the 276 press conference, the champ firmly in his sights.
Alex Pereira is the man who beat Israel Adesanya in Kickboxing. He has a lengthy record in that sport and was a champion. In MMA, Pereira is 5-1, losing his first fight, and his last fight was a unanimous decision win against Bruno Silva.
Though he is a decorated striker, Pereira is very early in his career, and this fight will make him, but it may not necessarily break him. A dominant win will see him possibly moving closer to facing an old foe. Strickland will need to take it up gear from his last fight if he is to emerge as a title contender and dominating the man who beat the champ will get him closer to that fight.
Betting Odds on Neds: Sean Strickland $1.80 Alex Pereira $$2.02.
Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski vs Max ‘Blessed’ Halloway
If Halloway’s mood at the press conference is anything to go by, he is ready to regain the Featherweight title he feels he never lost. This fight was inevitable; everyone from UFC president Dana White to fans felt like Halloway won the second fight. Volkanovski will want to put those naysayers in their place. He is the reigning and defending champion.
Since that last win against Halloway, Volkanovski has beaten Brian Ortega and ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung and looked great in getting the TKO win. Like the Aussie, Halloway has looked good in his last two fights, which were unanimous decision wins over Calvin Kattar and Yahir Rodriguez.
If Halloway wins this, we might have to go to a best of five series for the first time, but I don’t think Volkanovski will let that title go. He will make the proper adjustments from the last fight and be sure he is not in a position to lose. Halloway will undoubtedly bring it and believes he didn’t lose those two fights. This fight should be fireworks.
Betting Odds on Neds: Alexander Volkanovski $1.50 Max Halloway $2.55.
Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya vs Jared ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier.
Adesanya is on his way to cleaning out the Middleweight division. Other than the unfortunate move up to Light Heavyweight, he has beat everyone put in front of him. His striking is on another level. Sometimes he likes to play with his opponents, which has led to strange fights, but his talent was never questioned.
Cannonier has looked good since moving down to Middleweight. He was once fighting in the Heavyweight division, knocking people out. He only has one loss at that weight class, and that is to the second-best Middleweight in the world, Robert Whittaker. If he can put a good shot on the champ’s chin, it may be ‘Good Night Irene’, but that’s easier said than done.
Cannonier looked great against Derek Brunson, knocking him out with vicious elbows. To beat Adesanya, he will have to get him down and do the same, and Adesanya needs to use distance and pinpoint accuracy to get the job done and retain his title.
Betting Odds on Neds: Israel Adesanya $1.22 Jared Cannonier $4.20.
Enjoy the fights on Sunday.