UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland took place Dec. 17 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Middleweight contenders Jared Cannonier (16-6) and Sean Strickland (25-5) collided in the night’s main event, which aired live on ESPN+.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Cannonier vs. Strickland, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Round 1: Both are out in orthodox and it’s Jared who takes the center to start. He opens with a low kick. Jabs both ways. Right to it.
Sean with a jab. Jared one two. both miss. We’re trying to find the range. Sean circling into Jared’s power. and a pair of low kicks land for Jared. Sean sticks the jab.
Sean pumps the jab and lands a good teep. He’s working long but eats a right hook from Jared as he circles out. Jared is getting Sean backed up. Sean lands a body kick. He’s very active with the jab. Not all are landing, but it’s giving Jared something to navigate. Jared misses a lunging right hand.
Jared gets Sean to the fence and lands a left hook. Then a body kick. Sean keeping that jab going. Jared feinting low and then going high. Jared throws a lazy kick, it gets caught, and Sean shoves hi for the takedown. Jared up immediately but Sean has the back-bodylock and pushes Jared to the cage. Jared cannot free himself and Sean lands some shots in there. After 30 seconds, Jared finally breaks free and he’s right back on the attack. And lands a power low kick and then a right hand as Sean circles out.
Sean pops a good jab in there. He needs to follow that shot up. It is landing but nothing behind it. Another low kick from Jared. Sean now lifting the lead leg and switching stances. Might be feeling the low kicks. Jared really pressing forward now but nothing major lands.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Cannonier.
Round 2: Absolutely no clue who should win that first round. Giving it to Cannonier for the low kicks and pressure, but could go either way.
Jared starts with a low kick and a right hand. Both land. He’s finding range. Sean peppering the jab. Jared gets another kick caught but cartwheels out of a takedown.
Sean now coming forward and flashing the jab and a right behind it. He’s landing the jab now with some pop. Jared sits down on a right hand to back him off and now it’s Jared on the advance. Jared getting that lead hand working and he’s got a range he likes. Jared struggling to get into it and Sean is walking him around the cage.
Jared lands a low kick. Misses a right hand. Another low kicks. He’s landing those as Sean circles out. It’s the only thing preventing Sean from circling at will. Jared whiffs a power shot. Sean still popping the jab. Not doing much right now, just small shots.
Sean fires a combo but none get home. Jared misses. And now they’re starting to talk in the center. Sean is keeping a great range to avoid the punches. And he catches a kick. Jared over-extending now but Sean hasn’t made him pay yet. Just touching.
Sean lands a lead kick and a right hand and he gets Jared moving back. He is walking circles around Jared right now. Low kicks have stopped. Jared throws caution to the wind and lands a big right hand against the fence as Sean is moving away but Sean eats it well and the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Strickland, 19-19 overall.
Round 3: Both men looking fresh to start the third and it’s Sean on the advance to start. That ends quickly though as he pumps the jab and draws Jared in. Jared lands a body shot but Sean catches him with a left.
Jared lands a leg kick. Strickland upping the volume now. Still peppering the jab but now he’s firing combos behind it when Jared covers up.
Big body kick from Jared lands. Strickland eats it. Sean starting to switch his stance a lot and it’s confusing Jared. He’s head hunting some now too. Sean with the jab going. It’s always there.
Jared getting aggressive now. Committing to eating counters and going for the roughhouse inside. He lands with it. But eats some. Jared lands a big right hand. Strickland eats it and fires back. Jared does it again and this one has Sean moving back. Another one for Jared. Strickland appears to be fine but Jared is getting after him for the moment. Sean goes with a combo. Blocked.
Jaredswings big but misses. Leg kick gets checked. Sean popping the jab and holding center. Jared trying to corral him. Strickland sticking and keeping him off. Body shot from Jared lands. Strickland still working. Jared talking some more now.
Neither man is landing a lot, if we’re being honest. Solid defense. The question is power over volume. Short time and Jared lands a left hook before the buzzer.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Cannonier, 29-28 Cannonier overall.
Round 4: One thing is absolutely for sure: someone is going to be furious after this fight. All three rounds are toss-ups. Onto the championship rounds we go.
Strickland looks fresh as a daisy. Cannonier seems fine as well, but he’s sweating a ton. Sean comes out and takes the center but Jared backs him up quickly, and the dance continues. Small jabs and check hooks from Sean, kicks and power shots from Jared. Neither man landing much.
Jared again trying to play the bully but Sean doing a great job of staying off the cage. Jared doesn’t have the footwork to get to his pots. Sean checks a low kick. Sean on the advance now and throws a 1-2 that tags Jared. He doesn’t follow up though. Just lancing with the jab. 1-2 lands a gain. Sean finding his range.
Jared comes after him now and lands a good leg kick. Sean still owning the range though. Jared can’t get him cornered. Sean peppering the jab. Good body kick from Sean. His first real kick. Jared lands a left to the body. Sean getting the jab going. Jared cannot find a way in right now.
Now he does. big right gets through and it gets Sean moving back. Another lands and we’ve got a tie up. It doesn’t last too long though and Jared is now really going after it. He gets Sean to the fence and unloads a combo. One gets in but Sean eats it. If Jared does more of that, he can win, but that might’ve been too little too late that round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Strickland, 38-38 overall.
Round 5: Strickland’s coach expertly tells him “I don’t know what the f****** score is here,” and implores him to force the issue. Good coaching.
Sean on the backfoot immediately and still with the jab. Jared lands a left to start. Jared gets caught lazy coming in and catches a combo on the arms. Sean taking the lead. Jared throwing with HEAT right no.
Jared gets too aggressive and Sean lands a counter combo that moves Jared off. Sean getting the action going. Gut check time for both men. Who wants it more?
Right hand for Jared. sean firing the jab. Jared lands a big right hand over the top. Sean jabbing. Combo with a left hand lands for Sean. When he puts punches together he lands.
Jared lands a big 1-2. He’s biting down now with 2:30 left. Jared lands a big shot but Sean lands a counter in response. Big left for Jared. Sean moving forward. Toe to toe in the center and Sean can’t find the mark.
Both men are at 106 strikes exactly, with 2 minutes left.
Big jab from Jared. Sean bleeding from the nose. Exchanges. Jared really upping his output now with 90 seconds left. Not landing much but he’s swinging. Sean fires a 1-2 that comes up with air. Jared backing up and lands a left hook.
30 seconds and this is it. Jared swinging wild and eats a shot in response. Sean opening up. 10 seconds and combo from Sean. He pours on shots to end the round but is it enough?
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Cannonier, 48-47 Cannonier overall.
Jared Cannonier def. Sean Strickland by Split Decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46).