UFC 276: Can Jared make this "interesting"?

If you’ve been watching the pre-fight videos, promos and interviews from the two headline competitors at UFC 276, youll want to watch it now. And more, you’ll want no one else to tell you anything about it. when you see Holloway with a smirk on his face saying the fight is not going to go the distance; when you see Cannonier saying he knows he may never get another chance; when you see Volkanovski agree that this is a legacy fight; when you see Israel say this will look like the Costa fight. What else is there to say? And there’s more.

The undercard is phenomenal. Sean O’Malley will be having what most of us believe is his first real test as he faces a contender in Pedro Munhoz. Alex Perreira and Sean Strickland are in a position to have the same kind of moment Cannonier had in his last fight on Izzy’s card. And what MMA Fan doesn’t want to see a Robbie Lawler Fight? So I thought id keep this one short. One question: Can Jared Cannonier make this fight interesting?

"…You’ll never find me hiding under the Cage."

- Israel Adesanya receiving his 50 clean USADA test Jacket

Israel Adesanya’s first title defense has been his worst performance so far. The Yoel Romero Statue must haunt his resume like a sore thumb. But in typical anime fashion, Israel came back and destroyed the previously untouched Paulo Costa. Then Vettori came to get styled on. And Whittaker was quite frankly outclassed, despite people’s sentiments against Israel’s antics and character. In all these fights the tape is the same. Israel stands in the middle, shimmies, feints, evades a punch and lands one in the blink of an eye.

The Whittaker fight was particularly telling. While it looked on first viewing that Whittaker and Israel were trading shot for shot, on replay, Bobby Knuckles hit a lot of air. It reinforces why despite what we see from our screens, the other fighter standing with Israel never fights their typical fight. Romero stood in one place. Costa didn’t throw punches. Whittaker became a D1 Wrestler. Vettori just wasn’t enough. They always look different. We need someone who is not going to do that. And that’s where Cannonier comes in.

Cannonier is a man who is coming down from heavyweight and light-heavyweight. It is clear he still has power. And unlike Costa his reach is sizeable. Plus he will rarely attempt desperate wrestling. So he will fight his fight. Or will he?

Will Israel spar with him from one inch outside his reach and snap-kick him and oblique-kick him and head-kick him until the final horn? Or will Cannonier race into range and hold Israel and make the fight look dirty. The problem is that many have tried and many have failed. The one who did was a man who came into the Octagon weighing 30pounds more than Israel; and despite what you think, that changes everything.

"I’m going to make this look easy. It’s going to look like the Costa Fight."

- Israel Adesanya gives his prediction

For the Israel fan like me, the feints will make us ‘ooh’ and the stance switches will make us ‘ahh’. The variety of kicks will look beautiful. The timing of his jabs will looks amazing and we’ll make a big deal about him standing and gisting with Eugene Bareman in the corner like he is just having fun in there. We’re spoiled at this point. To the Israel detractor, all those things are boring. And hopefully Cannonier has a rabbit to pull out of his hat.

I think the referee is going to have to tell the Cannonier corner that he cannot let any more of the beating continue. When Israel fought Whittaker, the Cannonier v. Brunson fight before was the more intriguing prospect. It could very well be the same come Fight Night; Sunday morning for fans like me in Nigeria. Prediction… Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya by finish. And Still.