UFC 276 was quite the spectacle as the promotion celebrated their annual International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya retained his title against Jared Cannonier in the main event and remains unbeaten at 185lbs. His showmanship was on full display as he used WWE Hall of Famer The Undertaker's entrance music for his walkout.
In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway for the third time to complete their trilogy. It was a dominant performance as the champion put the rivalry behind him and silenced his doubters. The main card also featured two spectacular knockouts as Alex Pereira finished Sean Strickland and Bryan Barbarena finished Robbie Lawler.
The event will also be remembered as the sight of Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone's final bout. The future Hall of Famer called it a career following his loss to Jim Miller on the prelims. It will be exciting to discover what the matchmakers will do with the winners and losers of this past weekend's event. This list will look at five bouts to book following UFC 276.
#5. Maycee Barber vs. No.9-ranked UFC women's flyweight Andrea Lee
Maycee Barber could see herself in the top 10 of the UFC women's flyweight division very soon. She defeated Jessica Eye via unanimous decision after the judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 in her favor. It was a win over another veteran and Eye announced her retirement after the fight.
'The Future' has been impressive in the past year. She is riding a three-fight winning streak that includes wins over Miranda Maverick, Montana De La Rosa, and Eye. The 24-year-old could be ready for another tough test and Andrea Lee could be a logical opponent.
'KGB' is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Viviane Araujo this past May. The loss snapped her two-fight winning streak during which she stopped Antonina Shevchenko and Cynthia Calvillo. A win over a highly touted young fighter like Barber could help Lee maintain her top 10 status at 125lbs.
#4. Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway vs. Dan Hooker
After losing to featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 276, perhaps Max Holloway should move up to lightweight. It was his third loss to Volkanovski, so he likely won't receive another title shot as long as he's champion. After accomplishing everything at featherweight, Holloway should set his sights on 155lbs as there are fresh matchups.
'Blessed' is no stranger to competing at lightweight. He fought Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship in 2019. He lost a unanimous decision, but the experience could serve as a valuable learning experience should he return to 155lbs.
Based on his recent loss, matching him up with a top five opponent wouldn't be ideal. However, an experienced opponent like Dan Hooker could make for an entertaining fight. The fight would also be logical because their most recent bouts were both contested at featherweight.
#3. Former UFC title challenger Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland
One thing that is for certain in the UFC is that it is an exciting time for their middleweight division. There is plenty of depth, which could make for some intriguing future matchups. After Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland came up short, the next logical step would be for them to fight one another.
Prior to his loss to Israel Adesanya, 'The Killa Gorilla' was 5-1 at middleweight and had back-to-back wins. If he wants to earn another title shot, he'll likely need decisive wins over top five-ranked middleweights. Strickland, on the other hand, is in a difficult situation. He took a big risk accepting the Pereira fight because he was in the title picture.
However, it's important to note that Strickland has done an excellent job increasing his popularity and growing his fanbase. Cannonier vs. Strickland could help bolster a card and possibly earn the winner a title eliminator bout.
#2. UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski vs. former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira
It was a massive statement win for Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 276. The reigning featherweight champion defeated Holloway for the third time. Furthermore, he also put his name in the conversation for the greatest featherweight of all-time.
During his post-fight press conference, Volkanovski let it be known that he intends to achieve champ-champ status. He wants to add another title to his legacy, so challenging Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title would make sense. Despite being stripped of the title for missing weight, fans and media are still considering Oliveira the champion.
'The Great' and 'Do Bronx' match up well and could be a difficult fight to predict. Volkanovski's striking has become sharper and his submission defense was on display against Brian Ortega. Oliveira is very durable and has been dropped in his last three fights, yet he still managed to get the win.
However, Volkanovski noted that he injured his left hand during the fight with Holloway. Therefore, a lightweight title shot could depend on the extent of his injury.
#1. UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya didn't waste any time speculating who his next challenger will be. During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, he mentioned that Pereira is next. This has fans excited because of what the Brazilian did to Strickland earlier in the event.
Adesanya and Pereira are no strangers to each other. They have fought twice before in kickboxing. Pereira got the better of 'The Last Stylebender' on both occasions. 'Poatan' knocked out Adesanya with a left-hook in their second fight, which looked similar to the one that stopped Strickland.
Pereira wasn't impressed with Adesanya's performance and shared his thoughts about it:
"I was very sad to see that. I hope when we fight he do a better fight than that. But for sure I am going make him fight to give it a better show to the crowd."
'The Last Stylebender' vs. 'Poatan' will garner plenty of attention due to their history.