Headlining the event was a middleweight matchup between no. 3 ranked former title challenger Jared Cannonier (15-6) and no. 7 ranked Sean Strickland (25-4).
Cannonier was coming off his title shot defeat to former champion Israel Adesanya, while Strickland was coming off a defeat to current champion Alex Pereira. Prior to that, Cannonier had gone 5-1 since dropping down to 185 lbs (former heavyweight & light-heavyweight), while Strickland had gone 5-0 since moving back up to 185 lbs (former welterweight).
Continue reading to see how this middleweight main event went down:
Official Result: Jared Cannonier def. Sean Strickland via split decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46)
Strickland is doing a good job of evading Cannonier’s power, though neither land much in the opening round. Strickland does catch a kick from Cannonier and secure a takedown with it, though Cannonier’s right back to his feet. He then wears on Cannonier along the fence, landing nice punches while tying up one of Cannonier’s wrists.
Strickland catches another round kick to the body from Cannonier, though he fails to follow him to the mat this time.
Cannonier is having a tough time reaching Strickland with his punches, and Strickland is countering well, though nothing too effective is landing. Cannonier’s leg kicks are however working for him, as he’s already landed 13 at the midway point of round two.
Strickland picks up the volume in the third, but so does Cannonier, who finally lands a few hard combinations. Cannonier has also landed 20 legs kicks to Strickland’s one. It’s a very close fight going into the fourth.
The fourth round was becoming perhaps the easiest to score, as Strickland was beginning to pick the former title challenger apart. However, Cannonier lands a heavy combination toward the end of the round. It’s anyone’s fight going into the fifth and final round.
With 1:40 left on the clock in the fifth and final round, each man has landed exactly 106 total strikes, if that tells you how close this fight was. Strickland begins to pull away in the final minute or so of the fifth round, as he presses Cannonier and lands some nice combinations.
Strickland stunned Cannonier twice throughout the 25 minutes, while Cannonier presumably landed the heavier strikes. Strickland was very boxing centered, as he always is, while Cannonier’s attack was more diversified.
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