Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to carry two titles concurrently.
“It didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but dare to be great,” Adesanya said. “You knowthe critics are the ones on the sideline, but I’m the one putting it on the line.”
Adesanya added:”When I was gonna lose to anybody, I’m glad I lost to him. Charge to him. He’s a fantastic champion.”
The narrative of the struggle leading in was that Blachowicz would have a significant size advantage. Adesanya tipped the scales at 200.5 pounds during Friday’s weigh-in, 4.5 pounds under the 205-pound limit for a light heavyweight title fight. Blachowicz weighed 205 pounds and said he planned on competing Saturday in 220 lbs.
Adesanya, who generally asserts in the 185-pound branch, likely didn’t gain much weight since weigh-ins, meaning Blachowicz would be approximately 20 pounds heavier in the Octagon.
“Size is always a factor when you move up a weight class in this sport,” UFC president Dana White said. “It was certainly a factor. Weight was a variable. When you go up a weight class like this, strength is a factor. How hard these guys hit is a factor. And Jan is the real deal.”
The Polish fighter shot over the fight late with big takedowns in the fourth and fifth rounds. Adesanya seemed to be building some momentum in the fourth when Blachowicz exploded for a double-leg takedown. Both times, Adesanya could not get up. While Blachowicz did not do a ton of damage on the mat, he held Adesanya there very effectively and sprinkled in some punches.
As the clock was dying to finish the struggle, Blachowicz eventually landed some tough hammerfists and advanced into mount. The last flurry all but secured the bout.
“When I took him into the floor, he felt that the difference between his category and [light heavyweight],” Blachowicz explained.
Adesanya said it was Blachowicz’s defensive skills, not his size, which might have been the gap Saturday night.
“I wouldn’t say size, since I can hurt big dudes,” he said. “I think it was only his defense. He was really tight with his smart and defense with his shield.”
Judge Junichiro Kamijo gave Blachowicz every man except the moment and also scored the fifth 10-8 because of him.
Blachowicz needed a 107-78 edge in substantial strikes, outlanding Adesanya in every round, such as 28-12 in the fifth.
“This man is a tough man,” White said of Blachowicz. “You’ve seen all of the guys Izzy has fought and what he’s done. Jan is a tough man”
Launched in, ESPN had Adesanya rated the No. 4 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. Adesanya is ranked No. 1 at middleweight, while Blachowicz is rated No. 2 at moderate volatility, supporting only all-time great Jon Jones, who is currently going up to heavyweight.
UFC 259 took place with COVID-19 protocols set up inside the UFC Apex, a facility throughout the street from the promotion’s corporate campus.
Blachowicz (28-8) has won five bouts in a row. He claimed the UFC light heavyweight title in beating Dominick Reyes by second-round TKO at UFC 253 in September. Blachowicz, 38, has won nine of 10 battles complete and has experienced a fairly incredible late-career surge. He has been a pro since 2007, and he was the light heavyweight champion of the home nation’s KSW advertising in 2011.
“Everybody differs. I just discovered a way how to be the very best,” Blachowicz said of his late success, including,”No question, I’m the very best. I’m the best in the world.”
Adesanya (20-1), a former champion kickboxer, won his first nine fights in the UFC before Saturday. The Nigeria-born New Zealand resident is coming from a second-round TKO over Paulo Costa at UFC 253, at the headlining fight of the card in which Blachowicz won the light heavyweight title. The flashy Adesanya, 31, has 15 knockouts in 20 career wins and has been UFC middleweight champion since October 2019.
Blachowicz entered Saturday’s most important event as a plus-210 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook from William Hill. In the past 10 years, no fighter has more wins as a gambling underdog compared to Blachowicz, who’s tied with Neil Magny and Andrei Arlovski with eight.