UFC Fight Night 216 results: Jared Cannonier takes a split decision in the main event matched evenly with Sean Strickland

The UFC closed out the calendar year with one of the most competitive fights of the year.

Recent middleweight title challenger Jared Cannonier (16-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) got his hand in the main event of UFC Fight Night 216 with a split decision over Sean Strickland (25-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC). Canonier received a score of 49-46 from the three judges. The dissenting judge had the score 49-46 in favor of Strickland. The amazing stats were close throughout the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

“I thought I got 3 (rounds) to 2,” Canonnier said in a post-fight interview. “I was so confident I won. We saw the damage on his face from the first round and the last round. I thought I’d done enough. I wouldn’t say it was too tough – it was just traditional. Sean has a good eye for that distance.

“I would definitely like to get another title shot — sooner rather than later. But at this point, I’m No. 3. I just beat No. 6. … Anyone above me that would lead me into a title fight, or a title fight, is What we’re aiming for.”

About a minute later, Cannonier was the first to start opening up with a few kicks and jabs that passed. But Strickland stayed in his pocket and tried to escape when he threw Cannonier. Cannon’s right hand passed, but the pace was careful. When Strickland put up a pair of rights, he pushed Cannonier a little and backed him up to the fence. At the halfway point, he landed a solid body kick. Three minutes later, Canonnier threw a kick, which Strickland caught and used to take Canonnier to the plate. They didn’t stay there for long, but Strickland handcuffed Canonier when they got back on their feet. Once they separated, neither fighter gained a clear advantage heading into the second.

In the second, the pace held steady as Cannonier tried to disqualify Strickland. He worked leg kicks that kept Strickland down as Cannonier tried to find a powerful shot. Strickland’s pace seemed conservative, perhaps in an attempt to play the long match and conserve energy in the later rounds. With 45 seconds left in the round, Strickland found an opening for a powerful combination that seemed to give Cannonier pause for a moment, but Cannonier landed a powerful right hand just before the century.

The third round was played much like the first two rounds. Cannonier continued to work the kicks and hoped to find a home for the type of right hand that would finish the fight, but it was not there while Strickland remained elusive. And from the end of things at Strickland, the story was similar.

Ninety seconds into the fourth, Canonnier delivered a powerful leg kick that Strickland checked, proving that even after 15 minutes into things, neither fighter had any more of an advantage than when the fight began. Halfway through fourth, Strickland appeared to be shifting into next gear, but this didn’t prove to give him any more of an advantage when nothing seemed to keep Cannonier at bay. With 45 seconds to go, Cannonier put something together, but it didn’t last long when Strickland pinned him to the fence. But a few seconds later, Canonnier puts together another wave of perhaps the two most important fight sequences up to that point.

The fight seemed to hang in the balance after 20 minutes, and both fighters tried to make it clear that anyone could take it. Cannonier continued to change positions in the final round, which didn’t help Strickland’s case in terms of following his corner’s instructions. But he received a punch within a minute that pushed Cannonier back, and a punch shortly after that, followed by two more. Halfway through, after Strickland landed a jab, Cannonier responded with big punches that blew off Strickland’s head. But seconds later, that situation reversed itself.

The amazing overall results came in close to over 25 minutes, and the only truly visible damage was Strickland’s bloody nose. Cannonier kept swinging like he wanted a one-hit loser, and Strickland answered in the last 20 seconds. But it still seems like anyone’s guess what the scores will be.

The middleweight bout was the main event of UFC Fight Night 216 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

UFC Fight Night 216 results up to the minute include:

  • Jared Canonier Dev. Shawn Strickland via split decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46)
  • Arman Tsarukyan def. Damir Ismagulov by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Amir al-Bazai was defeated. Alessandro Costa by knockout (punches) – 3rd round, 2:13
  • Alex Caceres def. Julian Erosa via TKO (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 3:04
  • Drew Dawber Dave. Bobby Green by knockout (punches) – 2nd round, 2:45
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Cody Brundage via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:16
  • Corey McKenna def. Cheyanne Vlismas via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Matt Semmelsberger def. Jake Matthews via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Defeated, said Nurmagomedov. Sedukub Kkhromnov by submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:50
  • Rafa Garcia def. Hayiser Maheshate via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Bryan fight by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)
  • Manil Cape Dave. David Dvorak via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Sergey Morozov defeated. Newson trip by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

For more information on the card, visit the MMA Junkie Event Center for UFC Fight Night 216.

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