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UFC Fight Night Main Event : Jared Cannonier Vs... EXCLUSIVE

The main card is set to get underway at 7 p.m. ET / 12 a.m. GMT with the main event cagewalks scheduled for 10 p.m. ET / 3 a.m. GMT. These timings could change due to the length of the undercard fights.

UFC Fight Night Main Event : Jared Cannonier vs...

Sean Strickland will take on Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in a critical middleweight battle. Both men are coming off losses against elite fighters, and the winner will make himself relevant again in the 185-pound pecking order.

Strickland was on a six-fight winning streak and looked prime for a title shot before running into Alex Pereira -- and his devastating left hook -- in a knockout loss at UFC 276 back in July. Cannonier's lone loss in two years came against then-champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of that very same card. Both fighters are ranked in the top 10 of ESPN's middleweight rankings.

Raimondi: The co-main event, without a doubt. Tsarukyan and Ismagulov are two of the top up-and-coming lightweights in the world. The grappling battle alone between the two of them should be stellar. Remember how well Tsarukyan fared against Islam Makhachev and Mateusz Gamrot? The winner of this fight could be a future title contender, they are both that good. So good that you almost don't want to see them fight each other this early in their UFC runs. Not that anyone should be complaining.

Okamoto: No brainer, it's Tsarukyan vs. Ismagulov. Two names that aren't household yet, but anyone following the sport knows they are two wild cards in the lightweight division. We might not be talking about these two regularly now, but we will be in years to come. I'm more interested in this fight than I am in the main event.

Middleweight king Israel Adesanya retained his crown with a decisive win over Jared Cannonier in the main event. Adesanya disciplined Cannonier with his lightning quick strikes and kept the heavy-hitting challenger at bay for most of the night.

Strickland (25-4) fought Pereira on the main card of Adesanya vs. Cannonier. Unlike Cannonier, who went five full rounds with the champ, Strickland was knocked out cold in under three minutes. Strickland's lackadaisical approach cost him big -- snapping his six-fight winning streak and a shot at middleweight gold -- yet he projects the same nonchalant attitude ahead of Saturday's main event.

After a UFC 282 packed with controversy, the promotion returns to its home at the APEX on Saturday night with one of the most evenly matched main events in recent memory. In the 185 lb. division, two top-seven ranked fighters coming off losses face off to get back in title contention. SI Sportsbook has this bout listed as a pick 'em, with both fighters at -110 odds. With two dangerous strikers battling in the smaller Octagon at the APEX, fight fans can expect to see some fireworks.

I have been anticipating this Cannonier vs. Strickland main event on Saturday night since it was announced. Two high-level strikers are going at it, both attempting to bounce back after losing their last fights. The oddsmakers have this as dead even and while my gut is telling Strickland finds a KO finish, I am not confident enough to lay out a wager on that outcome. With a confined Octagon and the style of these two fighters swinging with reckless abandon, I don't see a scenario where this makes it to the judges.

UFC announced that Nate Diaz will fight for the first time in three years when he takes on former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241 in August. Daniel Cormier was already set to defend his heavyweight title in a rematch against former champ Stipe Miocic on that card. 041b061a72


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