Jared Cannonier has certainly made no bones about his game plan for his UFC 271 showdown and potential title-eliminator with Derek Brunson – predicting a knockout win over the North Carolina veteran, whom he believes will enter the Octagon with the intent of wrestling early and often.

Cannonier, who returned to the winner’s enclosure back in August at UFC Vegas 34, managed to secure a unanimous decision win over former interim middleweight title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum. The win kept Cannonier alive and kicking in the middleweight title hunt, landing him at #3 following a prior loss to former division best, Robert Whittaker.

Jared Cannonier currently boasts a 4-1 record at middleweight since his division move


For Brunson, the top-10 mainstay has enjoyed a certain purple-patch recently, extending his winning spree to five straight victories with a September third round guillotine win over former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till. The win came as Brunson’s second of the year, following a dominant wrestling display en route to a unanimous judging success against Kevin Holland.

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Originally expected to meet next weekend at UFC 270 on January 22. – the bout between Cannonier and Brunson has been elevated to UFC 271 on February 12. – beneath a middleweight title rematch between champion, Israel Adesanya, and the above mentioned, Whittaker. 

With the victor likely to challenge for spoils in their next outing, Cannonier recently spoke with LowKick MMA reporter, James Lynch, where he provided his thoughts on how a matchup with Brunson could play out, from a stylistic point of view. 

“I think, stylistically – we’ve all heard that old moniker, ‘striker vs. grappler’ thing,” Jared Cannonier said. “And it’s a prevalent aspect of this fight. Pretty much, his only means of victory is to impose his wrestling. Of course, he’s got that power, he’s got that long, lunging left hand that we’re all accustomed to seeing and stuff like that so. And he’s got that ground-and-pound as well. 

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“I think one thing leads to another and it’s always gonna lead to his wrestling,” Jared Cannonier continued. “And especially when he fights me, it’s gonna have to be, you know – that’s it. You’re gonna have to wrestle if you wanna win a fight with me, but that’s gonna be hard, that’s gonna be a hard mountain to climb. Especially with the fact that I know he’s gonna have to wrestle me. … We’re working on what he’s gonna bring to the table. I think the game plan we’re formulating is great. I feel like we’re already ahead of schedule as far as implementing the skills, the techniques, the ability to ‘do’. The outlook is bleak for Derek Brunson as far as I’m concerned.”

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As far as a prediction for the fight, Cannonier explained how he wants to create the opportunity to land a right-hand shot early, resulting in a stoppage victory.

“I envision, the ref saying, ‘Go’, we walk up – maybe we shake hands, maybe we don’t, “Jared Cannonier said. “But I’m gonna create some sort of action, create some energy or momentum and put myself in the position to land my right hand. And he won’t be able to withstand it.”

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.