Jan Blachowicz Stuns Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 via Decision to Retain Title

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Closeup of a glove and the UFC logo at Ultimate Fighting Championship 73 on Saturday, July 7, 2007, in Sacramento, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Jan Blachowicz successfully defended his light heavyweight title with a unanimous-decision win over Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 259 from the Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Moving up in weight proved to be too much for Adesanya, as Blachowicz's size and strength advantage became apparent in the championship rounds.

The first frame of the championship fight was heavy on feints. Neither fighter landed a whole lot of strikes worth note, but it set the foundation for the action that was to come.

Josh Gross @yay_yee

Measured opening round. Feinting, moving and range finding on both sides. All striking at distance in R1. Blachowicz checked a bunch of kicks and parried most of Adesanya's punches. That's a painful round to score. 10-9 Adesanya.

The second round saw both fighters open up a little bit. The overall pace continued to be slow, but Adesanya started picking at Blachowicz's lead leg while the defending champion had some success charging forward with combinations and peppering in his jab.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Edge-of-the-seat action from @stylebender and @JanBlachowicz 😬 #UFC259 https://t.co/4tArMwY5Qr

The floodgates opened as the third round got underway. Blachowicz landed the first takedown of the fight, giving us our first glance at Adesanya dealing with grappling a larger opponent. He was able to work his way to the feet and sting Blachowicz with a few punches.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Left hook landed for @stylebender πŸ’₯ #UFC259 https://t.co/ZDOSUblXRO

Blachowicz utilized the clinch to once again slow the pace, though. The early action defined the round as it went to the championship rounds.

That would turn out to be big for the natural light heavyweight. He went back to the takedown well in the fourth and successfully held The Last Stylebender down for the majority of the round, the easiest to score of the four.

That would turn out to be the same story for Round 5, as Blachowicz's size and grappling advantage proved to be too much for Adesanya to overcome.

UFC @ufc

MASSIVE! πŸ‡΅πŸ‡± @JanBlachowicz puts himself in position to secure the final round. #UFC259 https://t.co/k5Q7CjdHad

The win cements Blachowicz's status as the light heavyweight champion. This is his first defense since he won the vacated title against Dominick Reyes.

Of course, the light heavyweight division still lives in the shadow of Jon Jones. Bones walked away from the division that he ruled for the better part of a decade to chase a title in the heavyweight division, but Blachowicz hasn't given up on the idea of fighting Jones eventually.

Whether that fight happens by Blachowicz going to heavyweight, Jones moving back down to 205 or Blachowicz showing up at Jones' gym, the champion isn't ruling anything out.

"I believe in the future I will get that fight," Blachowicz told Brett Okamoto of ESPN. "If not in the UFC, I will go to Albuquerque and fight him in his gym. We will do this. But I'm not thinking about Jon right now. In the future, yes, but not now."

For now, the 38-year-old fighter has secured his place in light heavyweight history. In the post-Jones era, he has separated himself as the best fighter in the division right now, and there are some intriguing non-Jones options for him in the offing.

Specifically, Glover Teixeira is on a hot streak right now and, much like Blachowicz, he's an aging fighter who is worthy of one more title shot before calling it a career.