The UFC returned to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 276 as International Fight Week returned with two titles on the line.
In the main event, Israel Adesanya was looking to defend his middleweight title as he took on Jared Cannonier. In the co-headliner, Alexander Volkanovski was looking to defend his featherweight title as he had his trilogy match against Max Holloway.
In the end, Adesanya cruised to a lackluster decision win to defend his title. Volkanovski, meanwhile, dominated Holloway and pitched a shutout as he won all five rounds to defend his belt. After UFC 276, here is what I think should be next for the four fighters involved in the title fights.
Israel Adesanya promised a spectacular performance but it was far from that as he just outpointed his way to a clear-cut decision win. Although he didn’t get the stoppage win, he did easily defend his belt at UFC 276 against Jared Cannonier.
Now, it’s clear who will be next as even after his win, Adesanya called to fight Alex Pereira next who knocked out Sean Strickland just two fights prior. Pereira is 2-0 over Adesanya in kickboxing including knocking him out once so the title fight will be massive and will likely take place at the end of this year or early next.
Jared Cannonier came up short in his first crack at the belt and at 38-years-old it could be his last.
Cannonier didn’t take a ton of damage and can return soon but the top of the middleweight division is booked up so he may be forced to take some time off after UFC 276. When Cannonier does return, a matchup against Darren Till makes sense if he defeats Jack Hermansson. If not, the other option is Marvin Vettori regardless if he beats or losses to Robert Whittaker.
Alexander Volkanovski proved he is the best featherweight alive with a dominant performance over Max Holloway at UFC 276. The Aussie had heard all the talk that he lost the second fight but in the trilogy, he silenced all those doubters as he won all five rounds.
Volkanovski called for a lightweight title shot but it seems likely that Charles Oliveira will fight Islam Makhachev later this year. If Volkanovski wants to wait to fight the winner that is the fight to make but if he wants to remain active, a fight against Josh Emmett should be next.
Max Holloway is in a unique spot as he is now 0-3 to the featherweight champion after his decision loss at UFC 276.
Holloway will now need to decide if he is going to stay at featherweight or take some time off to move up to lightweight. If Volkanovski moves up and vacates the belt in the future, the opportunity is there for the Hawaiian to reclaim his title. The Hawaiian could fight someone like Arnold Allen or Korean Zombie if he wants to stay at featherweight.
Yet, the fight to make is Max Holloway vs. Conor McGregor 2 at lightweight. Both men’s stock is down but pairing them against each other would be a big box office success and the storyline is there. The winner would also be right in the title picture at lightweight.
What do you think should be next for the stars of UFC 276?