“It was a close fight, an uphill fight, but I was a little better,” said Blachowicz during the post-fight press conference. “I’m finally finding a way to get him to control him on the ground, win the fight, and defend the Belt for the first time in my life. Incredible feeling. “
The main card on Saturday was the seventh UFC event with three title fights. Amanda Nunes kept her featherweight crown against Megan Anderson and Aljamain Sterling captured Petr Yan’s bantamweight belt through disqualification prior to the main event. Blachowicz (28-8) finished three of his previous four fights by knockout, but his competition with Adesanya (20-1) was the only one of the night’s three title fights that lasted five rounds.
Adesanya has arguably won at least two of the first three rounds, beating and stabbing his opponent through a hard-fought battle. He escaped Blachowicz’s stand-up power and seemed unfazed by the same left hand that had banished Dominick Reyes and Luke Rockhold. But Adesanya, venturing to a weight class 20 pounds heavier than his middleweight, eventually succumbed to Blachowicz’s compulsion on the ground.
Blachowicz brought Adesanya to the big screen in rounds four and five. He put his weight on the challenger – Blachowicz weighed nearly five pounds – and controlled Adesanya for much of the last two laps.
“I don’t know about some of those scorecards from the judges, but yeah, I lost the fight tonight to the better fighter, the smarter fighter tonight,” Adesanya said.
“I saw him get tired. Trust me, I was fresh, he was getting tired, and size mattered by round five. “
Adesanya remains the middleweight champion and plans to return to 185 pounds for his next fight. But his expedition to £ 205 costs the Nigerian-born fighter his perfect UFC record and the chance to become the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two different division belts at the same time. He said he intended to return to light heavyweight “later in the future”.
Blachowicz could next face Glover Teixeira, who congratulated him after the fight at the cage. Adesanya said he would love to face Darren Till if he can win his next fight, which will reportedly be against Marvin Vettori in April.
Check out the rest of UFC 259 below.
Blachowicz defends the title and hands Adesanya the first defeat with an overwhelming final
Jan Blachowicz made a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) over Israel Adesanya in a showdown that lasted the full five rounds, defended his light heavyweight title and spoiled Adesanya’s bid for the fifth “champion champion” in UFC history.
Blachowicz, who was breathing heavily early on, scored another takedown in the middle of the final lap. Adesanya stayed on his back for the remainder of the fight, swallowing several shots in the final moments of the fight.
Blachowicz brings Adesanya to the mat in the fourth round
Blachowicz pushed forward early and pushed Adesanya against the fence in the fourth round.
Blachowicz switched levels, bringing Adesanya to the canvas halfway through the round and taking top control before putting his weight on the middleweight champion.
Blachowicz, Adesanya Trade blows in the third round as the game stays close
Blachowicz started narrowing the distance on lap three, but Adesanya stabbed him early. Adesanya has largely mitigated the light heavyweight champion’s thundering strength by throwing him off balance through his subtleties and nervous movements.
Both fighters go on the offensive in round two
Blachowicz chased Adesanya and provided links that caught the challenger. Each fighter was more proactive in the second round, though Adesanya remained elusive.
Adesanya the cautious attacker in the opening round
A measured Israel Adesanya was a cautious attacker against Jan Blachowicz in the first round, who shot the Polish powerhouse with straight kicks and high kicks.
Amanda Nunes defends the featherweight title with brutal precision
The greatest fighter in UFC history, Amanda Nunes (21-4) continued her full and thorough dominance of the sport, cranking Megan Anderson (11-5) for her second featherweight in the first round at 2:03 p.m. to win the title defense in the second title fight of the night in Las Vegas.
Nunes, who is also the reigning bantamweight champion, extended her winning streak, which was already the longest in UFC women’s history, to 12.
Yan was disqualified after landing the illegal knee as Sterling reluctantly accepts the title belt
Petr Yan (15-2) yanked Aljamain Sterling’s (20-3) head back to Sterling’s face with an illegal knee as the challenger kneeled on the screen, his face unguarded. After a hiatus from Referee Mark Smith, Sterling struggled to get back on his feet, rolling and falling on his back several times.
Smith called the bout at 4:29 in the fourth round, disqualifying Yan, who led the bout 29-28 on two of three judge cards – Sterling led 29-28 on the third.
A dazed Sterling reluctantly allowed UFC President Dana White to wrap the belt around his waist and then drop it on the canvas before kneeling on the floor to cry. He had to be supported from the octagon.
“To fight this way … I didn’t mean to win,” said Sterling tearfully after the fight. “That’s not what I had in mind.”
Sterling slows down on the third round
Yan appeared to be the more efficient fighter, landing solid shots and protecting himself from significant damage as Sterling slowed to a much less aggressive pace on round three.
Sterling continues to put pressure on Yan
Sterling, who has not played five rounds in the UFC, continues to push a fast, sometimes hectic pace into the second of five title rounds.
Sterling the attacker early on against Yan
In the first title fight of the night, Aljamain Sterling pushed Petr Yan early and accelerated the pace against the Russian who normally controls his opponents. Yan landed a hard right to the chin and found Sterling bantamweight shortly after half-time in the first round.
Makhachev puts Dober in for the seventh straight win
Islam Makhachev (19-1) submitted Drew Dober (23-10) in the last non-title fight of the night with a triangle of arms. Makhachev drove to his seventh straight win, showing an impressive resemblance to Khabib Nurmagomedov – his cornerman and UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter – as he pounded Dober on the canvas and the veteran lightweight on the mat every round dominated before he strangled Dober and Earn the break at 1:30 in the third round.
Rakic beats Santos unanimously
Aleksandar Rakic (14-2) defeated Thiago Santos (21-9) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) in the opening fight of the main card of UFC 259 and usurped the Brazilian No. 2 in an uneventful competition between light heavyweight competitors. # 4 contender Rakic improved his case for a championship chance and gave Santos his third straight defeat.
Kai Kara-France def. Rogerio Bontorin: Bontorin dominated Kara-France on the ground for much of the first round, but Kara-France escaped multiple filing attempts, bounced back, knocking Bontorin down with a right uppercut and a right hook on the UFC 259 undercard with five seconds In the round.
Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez: Askarov, the second-placed flyweight contender, controlled Benavidez in three rounds and made a unanimous decision on third-placed Benavidez.
Kyler Phillips def. Song Yadong: Phillips, 25, secured his third UFC win in a clash between aspiring bantamweights. Phillips’ angry victory came by unanimous decision, giving Yadong, 23, his first loss in the octagon.
Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney: Cruz beat Kenney in his first non-title fight since 2014, winning three times (28-29, 29-28, 30-27).
Israel Adesanya wants to join an elite club
Israel Adesanya is on the verge of history. The Nigerian-born sniper has put his middleweight crown aside and plans to dethrone Jan Blachowicz in a light heavyweight title bout against UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Although Adesanya moves up a weight class to face an opponent who is able to quickly end both his night and his search for a second divisional belt with one shot, not much changes.
“I just find it silly to build more muscle for this competition when my strength has got me dancing,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie. “I trust my body. I trust my abilities. “