Jan Blachowicz proved many people wrong, beating Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 with well-timed takedowns in the championship rounds.
In a sport built on “what ifs” one of the biggest hypotheticals became reality at UFC 259. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya made his move to the light heavyweight division, taking on 205lb champion Jan Blachowicz. For Adesanya, it was a chance to cement his legacy. A second belt for the undefeated 20-0 fighter would put him in with very exclusive company, as few fighters have ever held two titles in the UFC.
For Blachowicz, after spending much of his career on preliminary cards, the Polish champion was suddenly put up against the highest profile opponent of his career. Despite already holding gold, Blachowicz’s first title defense afforded him the opportunity to compete in front of more eyeballs than ever before.
Both men were very measured out of the gate, with the first strike being a leg kick by Blachowicz over 40 seconds into the first round. Adesanya opened his striking after the first minute, throwing a leg kick and a head kick. Adesanya was throwing one strike at a time, mixing in a left straight at times, but he was then caught by a Blachowicz head kick. Adesanya was dictating the pace in the first round though, as strikes from Blachowicz were few and far between.
A counter right from Adesanya found the mark early followed by a kick to the body. Blachowicz hit him with a strong right hand and Adesanya went to his body kick to respond. A slick combination found the target for Blachowicz. Adesanya had a kick caught and was swept off his feet, but popped back up. Blachowicz was throwing combinations more often in the second round and finding more success on the feet. He also took an eye poke and a shot below the belt from Adesanya in the round. Blachowicz charged forward and landed a right hook during a combination. Adesanya was beginning to add up some leg kicks, though.
Blachowicz landed a body kick to start the third round then a right hook and a left. After landing those strikes, Blachowicz charged forward and got a takedown, taking the back of Adesanya briefly. When Adesanya spun out, Blachowicz delivered a knee to the head on the exit. Adesanya stayed in close and nailed Blachowicz with a left hand and fired a combination off of it. Blachowicz forced a clinch against the cage briefly, and Adesanya landed a knee on the exit. A two punch combination landed for Adesanya after a leg kick. The momentum of Adesanya was briefly halted by a jab and left hook from Blachowicz, then Adesanya was pushed to the cage, which is where the fight remained for the round.
Blachowicz clinched early in the fourth, seeking a takedown. Blachowicz was caught by a right hand over the top and a left hand that sent him backwards. Blachowicz was finding success, then Adesanya began stringing together strikes. Once Adesanya had momentum, Blachowicz landed a beautiful double-leg takedown. Blachowicz had half guard for a while then transitioned to side control, ending the round in top position.
Blachowicz opened the final round with leg kicks and Adesanya was more active after losing the last round. Long right hands landed for Adesanya and a spinning back kick to the body. Halfway through the round, Blachowicz blasted a double-leg and moved to half guard. The round ended with Blachowicz in full mount.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 7, 2021
Jan Blachowicz def. Israel Adesanya by Unanimous Decision (49-45 x2, 49-46)