Jan Blachowicz roars back from slow start to beat Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya’s bid to become ‘champ champ’ fails as Jan Blachowicz hands him his first career defeat by bouncing back from a slow start to win on points and retain the light heavyweight title at UFC 259
- Jan Blachowicz outpointed Israel Adesanya to retain light heavyweight title
- UFC 259 co-main event in Las Vegas proved an entertaining tactical battle
- Adesanya was attempting to become only the fifth UFC ‘champ champ’
- And the middleweight fighter started the stronger in the first three rounds
- But Blachowicz turned the tide to overcome previously undefeated Nigerian
- Earlier, Amanda Nunes made easy defence of her title against Megan Anderson
Jan Blachowicz bounced back from a slow start to outpoint Israel Adesanya and retain his light-heavyweight title after an enthralling tactical battle at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The 38-year-old Blachowicz (28-8) made his first title defence in impressive style by outworking Adesanya (20-1), the fearsome 185-pound champion moving up for a shot at history.
The Polish champion used his size advantage and veteran savvy, taking control of their fight with two huge takedowns and subsequent ground control in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Jan Blachowicz defeated Israel Adesanya in the co-main event at UFC 259 to retain his title
Adesanya’s two division ‘champ champ’ bid fell short as Polish fighter Blachowicz won
Blachowicz gets his opponent in a hold in the Octagon floor en route to victory on points
Blachowicz won 49-46 on two judges’ scorecards and 49-45 on the third. He ended the fight in full mount while raining down punches on Adesanya, who had never lost in a mixed martial arts career that began in 2012.
The charismatic Nigerian-born New Zealander was gunning to become only the fifth ‘champ champ’ – the holder of a world title in more than one division – by adding Blachowicz’s light-heavyweight belt to his middleweight one.
But he fell short against the Pole and failed to join the elite group of Nunes, Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo.
Adesanya takes a right to the face from Blachowicz as the Nigerian’s two-weight bid failed
The challenger pictured before the fight but his aim to become ‘champ champ’ wasn’t realised
Adesanya took his first setback in stride.
‘Losses are part of life,’ Adesanya said. ‘This is just my first one in MMA. If I was going to lose to anyone, what better guy to lose to than a guy like Jan?
‘Classy champion, cool dude, nice guy. He has a great story to tell. From almost getting cut from the UFC, he becomes a champion and hands this guy, a future legend, his first loss.’
It proved to be an absorbing tactical battle between the two fighters on Saturday night
Blachowicz recoils from a powerful Adesanya kick during the opening rounds of their fight
Adesanya appeared to be the sharper, more aggressive striker in the early rounds, but Blachowicz countered the onslaught with his own strikes and eventually implemented his game plan.
Blachowicz turned the fight in the fourth round with an impressive takedown and strong ground work, all but forcing the judges to give him the round.
He took down Adesanya again midway through the fifth before ending the fight in a dominant position.
Blachowicz joyously celebrated the latest victory in a late-career surge for a fighter who won his title last September after six years in the UFC and 13 years as a pro.
In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes blasted Megan Anderson en route to an easy first-round submission win to defend her featherweight title, and Petr Yan lost his bantamweight belt to Aljamain Sterling when he was disqualified for an illegal knee.
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