MMA FREE PICKS
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UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier
Oh my. What a lineup of fights we have this Saturday for UFC 276 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for International Fight Week. Middleweight king Israel Adesanya aims to make his fifth consecutive title defense against Jared Cannonier in the main event. Ahead of the 205-pounder clash, the co-main also dubbed as the “People’s Main Event” sees featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski rematch Max Holloway for the third time.
Alex Volkanovski (24-1) is on a mission to become the greatest featherweight of all time, and in 11 UFC appearances, no opponent has been able to stop the Australian native from inching closer to that status. Since capturing gold in 2019 via unanimous decision against Max Holloway, he has gone on to defend the belt successfully three times. His first defense was the rematch with Holloway that resulted in a split decision victory where many people (myself included) thought Max deserved to have his hand raised that night. The noise from the critics didn’t sit well with Volkanovski and he went out and had one of the best performances of 2021 against Brian Ortega, where he found himself in some danger but showed his remarkable durability escaping submissions that other fighters would not have escaped. This past April he finally got the match-up he had been asking for with Korean Zombie and made sure he looked levels above the rest of the division in the outing while showing an immense improvement in his game.
While Volkanovski had one of the best performances in 2021, it was Max that held the main honor. In January of 2021, Max Holloway (23-6) put on a masterclass against Calvin Kattar, reminding the world that he is still the best featherweight. Seriously, if you haven’t seen that fight stop reading this immediately and go watch that clinic. After the dismantling of Kattar, he took on Yair Rodriguez last November in a fight of the night performance, making a claim to an inevitable third fight against Volkanovski. Vegas has always shown love to Max Holloway and he will have be the crowd favorite come Saturday night.
It is very rare to have two fighters that are both ranked in the top-ten in the P4P rankings square off three times against one another. I think this fight will be a contender for the fight of the year. Having already gone 10 rounds and with both men riding high on confidence, now looking to show the world who is truly the best featherweight, the bout will be nothing short of a banger. I don’t see either fighter getting a finish, and will likely be decided on the scorecards. When two fighters are matched up so closely by skill, I have to lean towards the fighter with plus-money, especially this time being the fighter who I believe should still be the champion. I think Max comes in with the right adjustments and pushes the pace from the beginning to end, and leaves no doubt with the judges, reclaiming gold in the process. The “Blessed” Express is back in service.
Other bets to consider:
Adesanya/Barber to win Parlay -133 (BetVictor) - Izzy’s footwork will be too troubling for Cannonier and rising Maycee Barber is up against Jessica Eye who is on a three-fight-skid.
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