We have an incredibly exciting main event to look forward to this weekend at UFC 259, as UFC light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya battle it out for the UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Perhaps this isn’t the rightful championship fight to take place at 205 lbs; Glover Teixeira has had a remarkable career resurgence recently, winning his last five straight with four finishes. Not to mention, his last two victories, over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, put him in the No. 1 contender spot.
All of that, along with the fact that Teixeira is 41-years-old. He doesn’t have that awfully much time left, and he rightfully deserves to fight for the belt.
However, the UFC decided to push ‘The Last Stylebender’ into this position, and really, it’s still an incredible match up. Let’s just hope whoever wins this fight defends their belt against Teixeira.
We first got notice of Jan Blachowicz in October of 2014, where he TKO’d Ilir Latifi with a body kick two minutes into round one. He wouldn’t see much success after this for a while though, as he’d go 1-4 in his next five.
This included defeats to Jimi Manuwa (UD), Corey Anderson (UD), Alexander Gustafsson (UD), and Patrick Cummins (MD), with the lone victory coming over Igor Prokrajac (UD), who ultimately ended his UFC tenure with a 4-8 record.
It’s really something, the run he’s gone on since this. Since that skid, he’s gone 8-1 with five finishes.
First came a rear naked choke finish of Devin Clark, before winning back-to-back unanimous decisions over Jared Cannonier and Jimi Manuwa. Blachowicz then submitted (arm-triangle choke) Nikita Krylov in round two, before being TKO’d by Thiago Santos early in round three of his next bout.
Blachowicz rebounded by KO’ing former Strikeforce & UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, before winning a five-round split decision over another Strikeforce middleweight champion in Jacare Souza.
Next came the avenging of his second promotional defeat, to Corey Anderson, who he KO’d in round one this time around. This victory means he avenged each of his first two UFC defeats.
This was followed up by him facing Dominick Reyes for the vacant UFC light-heavyweight championship, the man who many believed beat Jon Jones in his fight prior. Blachowicz TKO’d Reyes in round two to claim the title.
We first got notice of Israel Adesanya in February of 2018, where he TKO’d Rob Wilkinson in round two. It’s crazy to think he only debuted in the UFC three years ago.
He was taken down a few times in this fight, but was able to wear Wilkinson down in order to set up his incredibly precise strikes. Adesanya then defeated Marvin Vettori via split decision, before being matched up in his first main event.
That main event came against a talented veteran in Brad Tavares, who Adesanya handily out-classed to a unanimous decision victory. This was followed up by him facing his first real test in NCAA Division II talent Derek Brunson, or at least we thought it’d be a test for him.
Adesanya pieced Brunson up that entire fight, stuffing every single takedown attempt, getting the knockout finish late in round one. Adesanya then faced, and defeated, 11-time UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva via unanimous decision.
Next came the toughest fight of his life, when he faced Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC middleweight championship. Though it was an incredibly hard-fought bout, Adesanya was the clear victor at the end, and was awarded the title for his efforts.
‘The Last Stylebender’ then defeated perhaps the second-greatest middleweight of all-time, then champion Robert Whittaker via KO in round two. This was such a masterful performance, he made it look so easy. Whittaker was 8-0 at 185 lbs before this fight, and he’s now 10-1 in the division.
The new champion wanted to face Yoel Romero next, even though he’d lost his last couple of fights. The way Adesanya looked at it, he could’ve won those fights, he’s the scariest guy in the division, he’s highly ranked, and no one wants that fight.
Though it was a lackluster affair, Adesanya defeated Romero via unanimous decision, and the first defense of his newly-claimed title was over with.
Adesanya then fought the next scariest contender in the middleweight division, the one who defeated Romero just before himself, Paulo Costa. Again, Adesanya couldn’t have had an easier night in there, as he handily TKO’d the knockout artist midway through round two.
Jan Blachowicz (27-8) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0)
Not only are these two champions in the UFC, but they were each also champions before coming over.
Blachowicz won the KSW light-heavyweight championship and defended it twice, before vacating it to join the UFC’s roster, and Adesanya won the AFC, as well as the Hex Fight Series middleweight championship in his two bouts prior to joining.
Both of these men got their starts in kickboxing as well, with Blachowicz going 34-0, and Adesanya going 75-5-1.
One thing that makes this fight so intriguing is that Adesanya has fought well above his natural weight before, and he’s had success at it. However, when he has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt like this Polish assassin in front of him, it may be a different story.
We have however seen, Adesanya makes adjustments and improves more in between camps than literally any of his peers, and he showed us in the Gastelum fight he can make the adjustments right then and there as well.
‘The Last Stylebender’ is perhaps the most knowledgeable striker we’ve ever had inside the octagon, and he has the perfect frame for it as well. Standing 6’4” with an 80” reach, not to mention how accurate he is with all of his strikes, this is going to be a very interesting fight.
The champion stands 6’2” with a 78” reach himself, and he too has shown the ability to use it.
We really could’ve never expected this out of Jan Blachowicz. To go 2-4 through his first six UFC fights, let alone who he lost to, to winning the most prestigious title in all of combat sports at age 37. He’s now 38, having had his birthday just two weeks ago.
The challenger is 31-years-old, turning 32 in July, and he’s very clearly right at the beginning of his peak.
Who walks away from UFC 259 as the UFC light-heavyweight champion?