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HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 12: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria celebrates after defending his middleweight championship against Robert Whittaker of Australia during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Carmen Mandato / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Israel Adesanya will look to prolong his reign as the world’s preeminent middleweight on Saturday when he defends his crown against challenger Jared Cannonier to close out UFC 276. Check out our Adesanya-Cannonier picks ahead of Saturday’s main event.

A matchup over 18 months in the making will finally go down at Saturday’s UFC 276, when Adesanya will duke it out with Cannonier in a battle for middleweight supremacy. Adesanya promised Cannonier a shot at his crown if he bested Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in late 2020, only for the latter to claim a lopsided decision.

Since then, the reigning champ has made a brief, ill-fated stop at light heavyweight and thwarted both Whittaker’s and Marvin Vettori’s attempts to dethrone him, while Cannonier has rebounded with solid wins over Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson. The challenger now looks to end Adesanya’s impressive reign in what will mark the champ’s fifth fight as an undisputed champion.

Will Adesanya keep the crown with another stunning display of technical striking, or will Cannonier find a home for his haymakers and score a massive upset?

Here are my Adesanya-Cannonier picks and predictions for Saturday’s marquee matchup (odds via PointsBet and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Adesanya vs. Cannonier Fight Info

Date: Saturday, July 2, 10 p.m. ET (main card)
TV: PPV, ESPN+
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Adesanya vs. Cannonier Odds Analysis

To the surprise of no one, Adesanya heads to Vegas as a heavy favorite and sits at a whopping -520 with FanDuel as of Wednesday night. The best value you’ll find on a win for the champ is with PointsBet at -425, but the lines on a 16th career KO/TKO are far more compelling, with FanDuel offering +170.

As for the other half of Saturday’s headliner, Cannonier is available at +360 with Caesars Sportsbook. If you’re banking on an upset for the challenger, the lines on a KO/TKO are certainly worth your attention, as Cannonier’s earned four of his five middleweight scalps via strikes. You’ll find a fifth divisional knockout for the Texas-born bruiser at +600 with both FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook.

Israel Adesanya Betting Profile

Adesanya has defended the UFC middleweight throne four times since unifying the crown with a stoppage of Whittaker in late 2019 and was last seen defending it against him in a far more competitive fight this past February. The 32-year-old has recently drawn the ire of many a fight fan over his risk-averse showings against Whittaker and Vettori, during which he relied primarily on his defensive grappling, low kicks, and distance management to win on points.

He’ll be standing opposite a dangerous bruiser in Cannonier come fight night, and I expect Adesanya will need to find the timing for his counters quickly, as Cannonier’s been wont to throw leather with fight-ending intentions early and often.

Jared Cannonier Betting Profile

After a pair of underwhelming experiments at heavyweight and light heavyweight, Cannonier has undoubtedly found his home at 185 pounds, winning all but one of his six divisional contests. The 38-year-old has earned four of his five middleweight victories by stoppage and punched his ticket to Vegas by outslugging Gastelum for five rounds last summer and banishing Brunson to the shadow realm this past February.

A granite-fisted banger with a habit of headhunting, Cannonier will have to pick his shots carefully and find a way past Adesanya’s superior reach if he’s to score what would be an astounding upset.

Adesanya vs. Cannonier Picks

  • Adesanya to win (-425 via PointsBet) ???
  • Adesanya by KO/TKO (+170 via FanDuel) ???

Check out our top-rated sportsbooks here

Adesanya vs. Cannonier Predictions

Adesanya (-425)

In a classic battle of technique vs. raw power, I’m going with the former. A career kickboxer who can masterfully draw out his foes and dictate the striking range, Adesanya has the skill set to make Cannonnier’s flaws rear their ugly heads.

Whether Cannonier forces the action early or pushes the pace in the championship rounds, I expect Adesanya to play the matador to his challenger’s bull, relying on a bevy of feints and timing Cannonier’s haymakers with some slick, accurate counters to win this striker’s duel and secure a fifth middleweight title defense.

Adesanya by KO/TKO (+170)

Cannonier brutally paid for chasing Dominick Reyes in 2018 and was soundly outdueled by a methodical Whittaker in 2020, and though he’s proven he can trade leather for five full rounds, I’m banking on him to make the same mistake he did against Reyes before long on Saturday.

Granted, this could very well turn into a tepid affair with Adesanya controlling the distance and playing point-fighter, but sooner or later, a frustrated Cannonier will rush in with a reckless flurry, and I expect the champ to respond with a clean, fight-ending counter on the kisser.

Where to Bet on Adesanya vs. Cannonier Picks

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Adesanya-Cannonier picks made on 6/29/2022 at 9:05 p.m. ET.