UFC 276 has come and gone and it definitely lived up to the hype as we saw some of the best MMA fighters in the world go toe-to-toe in Nevada USA. The main fight card saw crowd favourites like Sean ‘Sugar’ O’Malley, Robert Lawler and of course the title defenders Alex Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya.
We saw both the UFC Featherweight and Middleweight belts remain with the incumbent champions after enthralling fights from both men. Alex Volkanovski battered max Holloway for a full five rounds before winning by unanimous decision. While Adesanya fought off some tricky shots from Jared cannonier to also bring home the victory via Unanimous decision.
Here is a round-up of the Best from UFC 276 :
Biggest upset – Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barberena
The welterweight fight between veteran fighter Robbie Lawler and Bryan Barberena was the kind of pulsating action you would expect from a battle in that weight class. Neither man wasted anytime in sizing up their opponent, with both Lawler and Barberena unloading heavy punches on each other.
Lawler came into the fight on the back of a shock win over one of the best welterweights in the UFC Nate Diaz and looked to be in the lead, as he kept finding space in Barberena’s defence to hit him with heavy punches.
In the second round, the fight was beginning to look like a foregone conclusion as Lawler hit his opponent with a well-time blow which drew blood. Lawler remained unforgiving and the former Welterweight champion was doing well to counter most of Barberena’s punches, keeping himself in the lead at least on paper.
With the veteran Lawler looking likely to take home the victory, it all went wrong for him in the third round as Barberena found a new level. The 33-year-old fighter took the fight to Lawler, initially hitting him with some well-timed but weak jabs, before landing heavier blows which left the 40-year-old in a world of trouble.
Smelling a victory, Barberena rushed at Lawler, hitting him with a series of combinations which eventually led to him dropping his guard. Vulnerable and clearly in a world of trouble, the referee had to call the fight to save Lawler, who looked nothing like the man who had dominated opening two rounds.
Best knockout – Alex Pereira vs Sean Strickland
The devastating power of Brazilian MMA fighter Alex Pereira was on display for all to see when he took to the octagon against Middleweight stalwart Sean Strickland.
The build-up to the fight had been clouded with talks of Pereira possibly taking on Israel Adesanya in what would be a trilogy fight, albeit the first two installments came in Glory Kickboxing, not the UFC.
Strickland and Adesanya were both of the opinion that the 33-year-old former kickboxing champion is not ready to challenge for the Middleweight belt, and pereira proved them wrong in spectacular fashion.
Strickland looked to be in his comfort zone early on, testing his strikes and gauging range against Perreira. The Brazilian remained calm and chose to start off with some well-timed leg kicks.
After getting Strickland to retreat with a body feint, Pereira unleashed a powerful left punch directly on the chin of Strickland, which sent the fighter straight to the canvas. He did get up, but fearing for his safety, the referee called the fight.
Most entertaining – Alex Volkanovski vs Max Holloway
In what was the third installment of a titanic clash at featherweight, Alex Volkanovski extended his undefeated streak to 22 fights with a win over long time foe Max Holloway.
It was the Australian fighter that dominated from the sound of the first bell, consistently avoiding Holloway’s strikes and landing good punches of his own. As the fight wore on, the intensity of the punches increased, but Holloway was barely landing any on a very elusive Volkanovski.
Midway through the fourth round, the left side of Holloway’s face was soaked in blood from a deep cut on his eyebrow. Eventually it was Volkanovski’s striking that did the job, as the defending champion outstruck his opponents by 204 significant strikes to Holloway’s 161.