In the Clinch – UFC 276: Cannonier prepared to shock AdesanyaUFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is the favorite to retain at UFC 276, but No. 2 challenger Jared Cannonier has other ideas.

Both fighters were respectful and confident taking questions at press day. Cannonier (15-5-0), 38, revealed that the two met a long time ago where Adesanya (22-1-0), 32, predicted a future meeting in the octagon.

It’s been a long road for Cannonier that includes two weight class changes and over seven years of competing in the octagon. People are talking about his power advantage and while his TKO stoppages of Anderson Silva and most recently Derek Brunson are impressive, there’s more to his toolbag. Cannonier can grapple too and I suspect he will be looking to set some traps in the fight for Adesanya.

Cannonier seems focused on the huge task at hand, which is good. As he said himself, fighting is stressful enough. He doesn’t need to add the weight of trash talk when the matchup is more than  big enough. This is a mature approach to the biggest fight of his career.

Will that be enough to beat the four-time defending middleweight champion?

Adesanya is being careful too. He has studied Cannonier and mapped out strategies for attack. He is no longer undefeated and so there is no overconfidence for us to worry about. Some “fresh blood” for another octagon moment.

Six years younger than Cannonier, Adesanya physically comes in with the height and reach advantages. But more importantly, there seems to be no real mental edge here, something that Adesanya has enjoyed in previous fights. “The Last Stylebender” will need to have all of his wits about him Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena.

Because “The Killa Gorilla” is prepared to shock the world.

 

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Jared Cannonier

Israel Adesanya

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Jared Cannonier

Israel Adesanya

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