The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC 259 — Middleweights Become Light Heavyweights

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Thiago Santos UFC 239 UFC Vegas 13
Thiago Santos Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters even in excess of 30 pounds.

Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, we will shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming match-ups. Basically, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game.

Israel Adesanya, uFC 259 press conference
Israel Adesanya Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC)

Middleweight (185lbs): 9-0 (UFC), Current UFC Middleweight Champion

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): 0-0 (UFC), UFC Debut at weight, UFC Light Heavyweight Title Challenger

Israel Adesanya is the best striker in the UFC today. And thanks to that fact, it has taken him just three years since his UFC debut to attempt to become a double champion. Adesanya has looked near unstoppable in almost all of his UFC fights thus far thanks to his physical attributes and techniques, but will they work against a bigger man?

Israel Adesanya is a skinny guy, but he is not a ‘small’ guy. Yes, Adesanya has weighed in under the 185lb limit multiple times in his UFC career, even when he was not the champion.  Adesanya even weighed in at 183lbs a couple of times, including his first bout in the UFC and his 2019 bout against Kelvin Gastelum for the UFC Interim Middleweight Belt. But Israel stands at 6’4″ tall and has an 80″ reach that is very large frame for the 185lb  division, and fits in more with the 205lb-265lb divisional stats.

Adesanya is already 33 years old so its safe to say that while he is in camp and training consistently, (normally) he is not much heavier than about 185-190lbs. Adesanya has used his allotted grace pound, in the UFC, just once and has already said in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Tuesday, “Yeah, don’t be surprised if I weigh in at like 193.” Adesanya is a much smaller man than his upcoming opponent, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz, as Jan cuts the usual 25ish pounds to get down to 205lbs. ‘The Last Stylebender’ will undoubtedly be the fighter to watch on the scale to see just how light he comes in for his historic attempt to become the first ever undefeated UFC double champion.

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