Jan Blachowicz (28-8) earned a decision victory over Israel Adesanya (20-1) to retain the light heavyweight title at UFC 259 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Adesanya and Blachowicz spent much of the first round testing each other’s range, trading the occasional shot with a more tentative approach. Blachowicz the power striker was a bit on his back foot as Adesanya’s technical prowess was on full display. Adesanya kept Blachowicz at range, chipping front kicks and tossing feigns to keep the champ out of rhythm.
After a fairly uneventful first round, Blachowicz began to walk down Adesanya with a flurry of jabs. The chess match continued through much of the second, as Blachowicz found openings here and there, but Adesanya escaped without much damage. Adesanya connected on his fair share of shots, opening up stinging leg kicks on the champ.
Blachowicz again opened the third with a handful of overhand shots. The champ got Adesanya on the ground and took his back, but the challenger found his way back his feet and hurt Blachowicz with a nice combination against the cage. Blachowicz looked to slow the challenger with his clinch game, pushing Adesanya against the cage. Adesanya again escaped, showing off his head movement before going on the offensive to finish the round.
To open the championship round, Blachowicz began to chip away with heavy-handed jabs and nice, counter left hand hooks. Two minutes into the round, Blachowicz got his first takedown of the fight and controlled his positioning in what would be a crucial fourth round for the champ.
In the final round, Adesanya took a more measured approach, keeping his distance while attacking with leg kicks and step jabs. Breathing heavy and keeping his hands low, Blachowicz struggled with the pace of Adesanya early in the fifth. Midway through the round, though, Blachowicz shot and got Adesanya onto the ground with a massive double leg takedown. Blachowicz moved into the half guard and worked just enough to close the round on top.
Adesanya came into Saturday night’s main event looking to become just the fifth UFC fighter in the organization’s history to hold belts in two weight divisions at the same time. Adesanya has spent the last two years rolling through the middleweight division, handing losses to Kevin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Paulo Costa losses. But in the main event, he got his first taste of light heavyweight power against the heavy-handed Blachowicz.
Blachowicz hasn’t lost since 2019, dropping a knockout loss to light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos. Since then, Blachowicz has blown through the division, knocking out Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes en route to the division crown.
After the fight, Adesanya said he’s going back to 185 pounds after coming up short at UFC 259. For Blachowicz, a showdown with Glover Teixeira seems in the cards for his next title defense.