Israel Adesanya on Jared Cannonier Win: 'I Still F--ked Him Up' Despite 'off Night'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 3, 2022

Israel Adesanya, center, reacts after winning a middleweight title bout against Jared Cannonier during the UFC 276 mixed martial arts event Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP Photo/John Locher

Israel Adesanya earned a decisive win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 on Saturday, yet the middleweight champion thought he had an "off night."

"And still, I still f--ked him up," he told reporters during his press conference. "It was in the fight, maybe when I couldn't find my power shots, my kicks. ... He was adjusting well. It wasn't just me versus him. It was him versus my team."

Adesanya was in control from start to finish, landing 116 significant strikes to 90 for the challenger. Cannonier failed on all four of his takedown attempts as well.

It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing fight to watch, and the fans inside T-Mobile Arena weren't afraid to voice their opinions.

Dave Meltzer @davemeltzerWON

Crowd booed most of the round. Cannonier tried to win the round, which in theory meant nothing because it felt like he was too far down. Adesanya close in the round pulling it out late so 49-46, could be 50-45, possibly 48-47 but no way Cannonier should win.

Kevin Iole @KevinI

Izzy wins fourth 10-9. Fans boo. Adesanya losing despite winning, though he'sa counter striker and Cannonier isn't throwing. 40-36 heading to the fifth. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC276?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC276</a>

"You get to this point where, like, you're so great, people just want to see you fall," Adesanya said. "They just want to see you fall, no matter what. If it's not like a show-out, spectacular performance, then it's like, ah, he's not even that good."

Styles make fights, so the champion might have struggled to hit his peak when he was so clearly better than his opponent.

Assuming Alex Pereira, who has two kickboxing wins over Adesanya, is the next in line, things could get a lot more interesting.

Pereira also won Saturday, knocking out Sean Strickland in the first round.