Jan Blachowicz defended his UFC light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 on Saturday night, thwarting Adesanya’s bid to hold two championship belts simultaneously.
The 38-year-old Blachowicz (28-8) made his first title defense after weathering an impressive start by Adesanya (20-1), the fearsome middleweight champion moving up for a shot at history. The Polish champion turned their fight with two huge takedowns and subsequent ground control in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Blachowicz ended the fight in full mount while raining down punches on Adesanya, who had never lost in a mixed martial arts career that began in 2012. Adesanya, the charismatic Nigerian-born New Zealander, failed to join Nunes, Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo as the UFC’s only simultaneous two-belt champions.
Adesanya was the sharper, more aggressive striker in the early rounds, but Blachowicz survived the onslaught and eventually implemented his game plan. Blachowicz turned the fight in the fourth round with an impressive takedown and strong ground work, all but forcing the judges to give him the round.
He took down Adesanya again midway through the fifth before ending the fight in a dominant position. Blachowicz joyously celebrated the latest victory in a late-career surge for a fighter who won his title last September after six years in the UFC and 13 years as a pro.
cover image ©Getty images