Former UFC title challenger Jared Cannonier turned in one of the top performances in middleweight history on Saturday, as he set a new divisional record for strikes landed in a single fight against Marvin Vettori in Las Vegas.
Cannonier (17-6) landed 241 significant strikes across the five-round event, which shattered the previous record of 186 set by Sean Strickland against Uriah Hall in July 2021. Even with all that offense, Cannonier couldn’t quite become the first man to put Vettori away in the UFC, but he earned dominant judges’ scores of 49-45, 49-45 and 48-46.
The 39-year-old middleweight said he’s taken a more aggressive approach since last year, when he was criticized for a lack of output in a failed title bid against Israel Adesanya at UFC 276.
“After the Adesanya fight, my goal was to increase my output,” said Cannonier, following the main event of UFC Fight Night inside the Apex. “The most strikes in middleweight history? I’ll take that notch on my belt.”
The feat was made even more impressive by the fact Vettori (19-6-1) badly rocked Cannonier multiple times with left hands in the first round. Cannonier was visibly shaken by the shots, but recovered very quickly and remained in relative control the remainder of the bout. He bloodied Vettori’s nose in the second round and opened a cut under his left eye in the third. He ended the 25-minute fight in top position, dropping dangerous hammerfists out of Vettori’s guard.
Cannonier, who was the UFC’s No. 4 ranked middleweight going into Saturday, improves to 2-0 since the loss to Adesanya.
“I want the title shot (next),” Cannonier said. “That’s what I’m here for, to go towards that title. I know they already have a contender match in the books [between Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis on July 8], but I’m willing to step in if something happens in that fight or take a fight that gets me a title shot.”
The 241 total significant strikes is good for fourth all-time in UFC history, regardless of division. Former featherweight champion Max Holloway holds the all-time record of 445 total strikes in a single bout.
Vettori drops to 2-3 in his last five appearances. He has alternated wins and losses going back to his own failed title bid against Adesanya in 2021. The 29-year-old Italian was gracious in defeat and congratulated Cannonier on his victory.