The UFC returns for a huge pay-per-view event this weekend as two title fights will co-headline UFC 276, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
First up we'll see Alexander Volkanovski defend his featherweight championship for a third time against the man he's previously beaten twice before, former champion Max Holloway in their trilogy bout in the 145-pound division, before Israel Adesanya looks to continue his dominance over the middleweight division when he takes on Jared Cannonier for the 185-pound strap.
We'll take a look ahead to both huge fights and give up the best free betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash heading into the summer.
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UFC 276 information
- Saturday July 2nd, 2022
- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- 22:00 ET main card start
- Two title fights - Featherweight (145lbs) and Middleweight (185lbs)
Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier
The best middleweight fighter in the world looks to extend his legacy as he defends his championship for a fifth time and maintain his undefeated status in the division since joining the UFC.
Current reigning champion Adesanya comes into the fight as a heavy favorite, with a best price of -390 available, as he enters the cage on a two-fight win streak with his most recent wins against Marvin Vettori and Robert Whittaker in his most recent fights.
Cannonier on the other hand comes into the fight also on a two-fight win streak, having beaten Kelvin Gastelum and then Derek Brunson most recently in order to earn himself a title shot. He's a big underdog coming into the bout, with a best price of +315 available.
His current professional record stands at 15-5 with ten knockout victories, having competed in three different weight classes during his time with the organisation. Adesanya on the other hand has a 22-1 record, with his only defeat coming to Jan Blachowicz when he stepped up to try and become a double champion at light heavyweight.
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Back Adesanya for a comfortable win
The Last Stylebender has beaten everyone there is to beat in the middleweight division, and this fight is simply a result of that process. Cannonier isn't seen as one of the better middleweight contenders, but a short win streak has brought him into contention because everyone else has already lost.
Adesanya is a supremely talented kickboxer, with excellent takedown defense and lightning-quick counter striking allowing him to lead the fight in the direction he wants while staying out of danger.
Cannonier on the other hand is a heavy-handed boxer with a decent wrestling background, but his skillset is nothing that Adesanya hasn't seen and beaten before.
While Cannonier has been stopped in the past via strikes, it's never happened at this weight class. He is likely to stay calm and composed and pick Cannonier off from a distance with leg kicks and counters, but it would be a surprise to see "Tha Killa Gorilla" leave himself open enough to get caught too heavily, and thus a decision is likely.
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Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway 3
Two of the very best featherweights ever go at it for a third time after their controversial second meeting back at UFC 251, to finally settle the debate around who the best really is.
Champion Volkanovski is on an incredible 21-fight winning streak that has seen him unbeaten in the UFC and already beat Holloway twice before. His most recent victories came against Brian Ortega and Chang Sung Jung (a.k.a The Korean Zombie). That will see him come into this fight as the slight favorite, with the best price of -190 available.
Holloway on the other hand recovered from those defeats with brilliant performances against both Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez to earn himself another title shot. He will come into the bout as an underdog, with the best price of +165 available.
His professional record stands at 23-6 and is widely regarded as one of the best featherweights of all time, with many believing that he won the second fight between the two although the judges gave it in favor of the Aussie.
History repeats itself
It's always fun to watch two of the very best go head-to-head, but after the previous two bouts, there is an expectation that this one will go the same way too.
Holloway's counter-striking in the second fight and takedown defense saw many people give him the edge, before the leg kicks and wrestling of Volkanovski seemed to earn him the nod. Both fighters tend to go the distance more than earn finishes, although Volkanovski was finally able to get a finish against Korean Zombie last time out.
The two of them are so well matched against each other that it really is all about who turns up sharper on the night, but it would seemingly be pretty crazy to go against history when they've already fought twice before.
Expect a close fight with plenty of back and forth, but the champ is likely to retain in another 25-minute thriller.
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