In the main event, Adesanya was largely untroubled by Jared Cannonier in easing to a decision win, remaining middleweight champion and unbeaten in the division with the victory.
Some had predicted that Adesanya’s versatile striking game and ring IQ would prove too much for the powerful but perhaps one-dimensional Cannonier, and that proved to be the case as the “Last Stylebender” filled out 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45 scorecards.
Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya kept the American at bay with spiteful leg kicks and stabbing jabs, also denying Cannonier’s takedown attempts as the challenger looked to a Plan B as the main event progressed.
The result marked Adesanya’s fifth successful defence of the title he won in 2019.
In the co-main event, Volkanovski – who trains with Adesanya at City Kickboxing – made it a clean sweep in his trilogy with Max Holloway.
Volkanovski outpointed Holloway in 2019 to win the featherweight title before replicating the feat in 2020 to retain the gold. Many fans disputed the Australian’s second victory over Hawaiian Holloway, but the champion left no doubt on Saturday, winning all five rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
The numbers reflected a masterful showing from Volkanovski, who made Holloway look like a UFC newcomer rather than a fighter seen by some as the greatest featherweight of all time.
The result extended Volkanovski’s win streak to 22 and opened the door for the 33-year-old to challenge for the lightweight title in a bid to become a dual-weight champion.
Earlier in the night, former kickboxing champion Alex Pereira knocked out Sean Strickland in the first round to establish himself as the likeliest next challenger to Adesanya’s title.
Pereira is a relative novice in mixed martial arts, having only trained for two years, but he has gone 3-0 in the UFC and holds two wins against Adesanya from the pair’s time as kickboxers. In the second of their two clashes in that sport, the Brazilian knocked out Adesanya.
In the main-card opener at UFC 276, a highly-anticipated bantamweight bout between rising contender Sean O’Malley and Pedro Munhoz ended as a No Contest, with an accidental eye poke by O’Malley seeing the fight stopped prematurely.
Israel Adesanya def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45)
Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Alex Pereira def. Sean Strickland via first-round KO (punches, 2:36)
Bryan Barberena def. Robbie Lawler via second-round TKO (punches, 4:47)
Pedro Munhoz vs Sean O’Malley ends as No Contest due to accidental eye poke (Round 2, 3:09)
Jalin Turner def. Brad Riddell via first-round submission (guillotine choke, 0:45)
Jim Miller def. Donald Cerrone via second-round submission (guillotine choke, 1:32)
Ian Garry def. Gabe Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dricus Du Plessis def. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Andre Muniz def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Maycee Barber def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (29-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Julija Stoliarenko def. Jessica-Rose Clark via first-round submission (armbar, 0:42)