After weeks of speculation, the crown jewel of International Fight Week in July has its main event.
During Saturday’s UFC 274 broadcast, the promotion announced that middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (22-1) will face Jared Cannonier (15-5) in the main event of UFC 276 on July 2. The card caps off this year’s Fight Week festivities, which will include fan events, meet and greets, the annual UFC Hall of Fame ceremony, and other attractions.
As recently as March, the promotion had been targeting a fight between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards for the event. But with Usman nursing a hand injury, it appears that fight will have to wait. Instead, Adesanya vs. Cannonier tops the marquee, with Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3 for the featherweight title serving as the co-headliner.
Adesanya, who captured middleweight gold in 2019, first claiming an interim belt opposite Kelvin Gastelum, then dethroning Robert Whittaker to unify the titles, has defended his belt four times. The only blemish on his record came in a failed bid to win a second world championship, at light heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz last year.
Most recently, Adesanya once again defeated Whittaker, going the distance with the Australian former champ at UFC 271 this past February.
Cannonier has long been on the radar of “The Last Stylebender.” Adesanya singled him out as a potential opponent well over a year ago; after a setback against Whittaker in 2020, he’s won two straight over Kelvin Gastelum and Derrick Brunson.
Overall, Cannoner, a.k.a. “The Killa Gorilla,” is 5-1 in his last six fights. Four of those wins came inside the distance.
UFC 276 goes down on July 2, 2022 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The following bouts have been reported for the event to date:
- Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier – for the UFC middleweight championship
- Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Max Holloway – for the UFC featherweight championship
- Miesha Tate vs. Lauren Murphy
- Jessica Eye vs. Maycee Barber
- Brad Tavares vs. Dricus du Plessis
- Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Julija Stoliarenko
- Uriah Hall vs. André Muniz
- Robbie Lawler vs. Bryan Barberena
- Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira
- Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz