This weekend UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya looks to join the very exclusive UFC champ-champ club when he takes on Jan Blachowicz for the Pole’s UFC light heavyweight title.
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The Nigerian born Kiwi earned his shot at dual champion status after impressively winning and defending his 185 belt on two occasions last year. Last spring he beat Yoel Romero by unanimous decision and then, in September, he pasted Paulo Costa.
MMA Fighting has UFC 259 results for the Blachowicz vs. Adesanya fight card at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, live blogs of all the main card fights, and live UFC 259 Twitter updates.
In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz puts his belt on the line against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Two more UFC titles will also be up for grabs Saturday night. UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes will defend her title against Megan Anderson in the co-main event. UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan will square off against Aljamain Sterling on the main card as well.
Check out the UFC 259 results below.
Main card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya
Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson
Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling
Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober
Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champions Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya will clash in a Light Heavyweight battle TONIGHT (Sat., March 6, 2021) at UFC 259 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Blachowicz’s rise to UFC gold ranks rather highly on the scale of all-time great career renaissances. The man captured a title at least three losses and five years after most had written him off. Now, he’ll look to continue doing the impossible by handing a decorated champion his first professional mixed martial arts (MMA) loss. On the other hand, “Stylebender” came into the Octagon with immediate promises of greatness, and it’s impossible to argue he has not lived up to his word. Now, Adesanya looks to take a huge step for both his popularity and legacy by capturing another belt and adding his name to the short list of double champions.
Key Wins: Dominick Reyes (UFC 253), Corey Anderson (UFC Fight Night 167), Luke Rockhold (UFC 239), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 127), Nikita Krylov (UFC Fight Night 136), Jared Cannonier (UFC on FOX 26), Ronaldo Souza (UFC Fight Night 164)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 145), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 93), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 64), Corey Anderson (UFC 191)
Keys to Victory: Blachowicz found power and a deeper gas tank late in his career, and the results were rather immediate. As his confidence grew, Blachowicz put more and more punches on jaws, resulting in more knockouts and even more improvement from “Polish Power.”
There is a remarkably clear strategy for Blachowicz in this fight, and it involves bullying “Stylebender.” Blachowicz does not want to trade kicks with Adesanya, who is quicker, more versatile, and much better at evading strikes from that range. Blachowicz tends to just absorb kicks, firing back occasionally with big swings (see his loss to Thiago Santos).
Instead, Blachowicz has to pressure his foe; he has the chin to do it! He would be wise not to head hunt, however, as Adesanya does well leaning back to avoid punches. Instead, Blachowicz should be looking to dig low kicks whenever Adesanya does pull back. If Blachowicz manages to back his foe into the cage, that will help eliminate Adesanya’s lean, making punches to the chest and face an easier task.
Otherwise, I’d love to see Blachowicz make use of his size and strength advantage. Wrestle! Even if he doesn’t complete a single takedown, wrestling bigger men is exhausting, and Blachowicz throws nasty punches on the breaks of clinches (ask Luke Rockhold).
Key Wins: Robert Whittaker (UFC 243), Paulo Costa (UFC 253), Yoel Romero (UFC 248), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 236), Marvin Vettori (UFC on FOX 29). Brad Tavares (TUF 27 Finale), Derek Brunson (UFC 230), Anderson Silva (UFC 234)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Adesanya is one of the slickest strikers in the history of MMA. Really, he might just be the best. The decorated kickboxer manages range tremendously well with long distance strikes like the jab, thudding kicks and incredible feints. Then, when opponents try to close in on him, Adesanya excels at leaning back while still firing counters.
Opposite a big man in a small cage, footwork will be perhaps the most important part of Adesanya’s strategy. He wants this bout to be fought at a very specific distance, where his advantage is obvious. Anything closer than that range, however, and “Stylebender” will likely start getting touched.
Getting pushed into the cage simply isn’t an option.
Fortunately, Adesanya is really a master of giving his opponent lots to think about at range. If his feints are flowing, and he’s landing a variety of kicks to different targets, it grows far more complicated to pressure.
Early on, when Blachowicz is at his most dangerous, Adesanya has to be content to kick the leg and move, much like he did to Paulo Costa. As showed in his loss to Santos, Blachowicz can be flustered by this approach, and his eventual response is to charge forward with punches.
Adesanya would be wise to evade the first couple bull rushes, but once he has the timing, Adesanya can show off his brilliant counter punching.