UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has confirmed that he will fight the #2 ranked contender, Jared Cannonier next in his next attempted defense of the middleweight crown. And targets that pairing and his Octagon return to happen as soon as this summer.
Adesanya, who secured the fourth successful title defense of his undisputed middleweight reign back at UFC 271 last weekend, scored a unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) victory against former titleholder, Robert Whittaker in the pair’s rematch.
Earlier that night, Texas native, Cannonier successfully earned his shot at the middleweight crown courtesy of a rallying second round ground strikes knockout win over common-opponent, Derek Brunson.
Cannonier had suffered a late opening round knockdown against Brunson, before giving up his back to a rear-naked choke attempt, before the klaxon to end the first frame sounded.
Wobbling Brunson in the second round, Cannonier assumed top position, and unleashed a slew of stiff elbows, forcing a stoppage.
Following the victory, UFC president, Dana White confirmed that Cannonier would receive the next middleweight title shot, claiming he could not say ‘no’ to the contender following his stoppage win over the streaking, Brunson.
And not only has Cannonier received a seal of approval from White, defending champion, Adesanya also confirmed he would be fighting him next – in place of the #5 ranked challenger, Sean Strickland.
“He (Jared Cannonier) is gonna be next,” Israel Adesanya said on The MMA Hour. “I have other plans for him (Sean Strickland). I can’t disclose yet. I just want to want to fight him (Cannonier). I think he’s a good fighter. I’m a man of my word, he’s next. Cannonier, June or July, we’ll figure it out.”
Before his title defense against Whittaker, Adesanya managed to pull out a trio of prior title knockbacks versus two-time foe, Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa, and Yoel Romero.
Prior to his knockout win over Brunson, Cannonier returned to the winner’s enclosure following a decision loss to Whittaker with a unanimous decision win over former interim title chaser, Kelvin Gastelum.
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