International Fight Week has featured fireworks ahead of UFC 276 on Fourth of July weekend. The week leading up to the most stacked card of the year has seen championship trash talk, explosive press conferences and bone-chilling staredowns.
All eyes will be on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night as two champions from the New Zealand-based City Kickboxing team will defend their titles as favorites at SI Sportsbook.
The main event features 185-pound king Israel Adesanya put his strap on the line for the fifth time as a huge favorite (-450) against the dangerous Jared Cannonier.
In the co-main event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovksi (-200) will defend his title for the fourth time in a trilogy bout with Max Holloway
As if these fights weren’t worth the price of admission, the entire slate from the early prelims straight through the main event is guaranteed to be must-watch television.
Our experts provided their best bets for the card.
Date: Saturday July 2, 2022
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
Early Prelims 6 p.m. ET
Jessica Rose-Clark (-163) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (+138)
Jessica Eye (+225) vs. Maycee Barber (-275)
Urijah Hall (+240)vs. Andre Muniz (-300)
Prelims 8 p.m. ET
Brad Tavares (+130)vs. Dricus Du Plessis (-154)
Jim Miller (-188) vs. Donald Cerrone (+155)
Ian Garry (-175) vs. Gabriel Green (+145)
Brad Riddell (+120) vs. Jalin Turner (-143)
Main Card 10 p.m. ET
Pedro Munhoz (+240) vs. Sean O’Malley (-300)
Robbie Lawler (-118) vs. Bryan Barbarena (+100)
Sean Strickland (-118) vs. Alex Pereira (+100)
Alexander Volkanovski (-200) vs. Max Holloway (+165)
Israel Adesanya (-450) vs. Jared Cannonier (+350)
SI Video’s Doug Vazquez
I am as excited for the Jim Miller vs. Cowboy Cerrone fight as any other on the card. These two martial artists are first ballot Hall of Famers and the winner will leave the Octagon as the all-time winningest fighter in the promotion’s storied history. It feels like Cowboy has had a planned fight for the last two months that somehow has been canceled or postponed. He stepped up on short notice as Miller’s bout with Bobby Green was canceled for the third time. While this will not be the first time the two have fought in the UFC (Cowboy secured a KO victory in their Atlantic City bout in July of 2014), their careers have been closely aligned since that bout and both have seen many battles and styles of fighters along the way. Despite losing to Cowboy in 2014, Miller comes in as the 2-1 favorite Saturday night as he looks to make history. Miller is 3-2 in his last five, while Cerrone has not secured a win in his last three fights. I expect this bout to be a one of stylistic matchups with Cerrone attempting to engage in standup with Miller in an attempt to end this one on the feet. Miller will come in well prepared and I think has a little more left in the tank, and will be trying for takedowns to shoot submissions early. I foresee him eventually wearing down Cowboy an winning this one via submission.
BET: Jim Miller via SUB (+250)
SI MMA’s Justin Barrasso:
Only six fights into his MMA career, Alex Pereira is ready for Israel Adesanya. He just needs to get past Sean Strickland. Strickland has won 25 of his 28 fights, including his past six. This fight represents his biggest break, one win away from a title shot. But he is coming off a very dry split decision win against Jack Hermansson, and his fight is unlikely to sell a main event quite like Pereira, who has already defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing. That is a great backstory, and it will be a phenomenal buildup to a title fight - permitting Pereira gets past Strickland at UFC 276.
BET: Alex Pereira moneyline (+100)
SI Video’s Julian Pinto:
In the main event I have Israel Adesanya getting the finish against Jared Cannonier. I think Adesanya’s striking is too clean for Cannonier. Adesanya will dictate the pace of the fight and piece up Cannonier like he did Brad Tavares. Unlike Tavares, I think Cannoneer will sell out, abandon whatever strategy his camp initially had and go for the finish, which will leave open many more spots for Adesanya to counter.
BET: Israel Adesanya via KO (+150)
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