Jan Blachowicz overpowers Israel Adesanya to retain title


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: (L-R) Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: (L-R) Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

LAS VEGAS — Jan Blachowicz put an end to Israel Adesanya’s dream of making UFC history, using his size to take a unanimous decision victory to retain the light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 259.

Adesanya, the reigning middleweight champion with a 20-0 record, was trying to win the light heavyweight title and become just the fifth champ-champ in UFC history.

He knew he’d have to do it by speed and guile and beating Blachowicz to the punch. He also knew he couldn’t do it if he couldn’t keep the fight on his feet.

Blachowicz cemented the fight by taking Adesanya down in each of the final two rounds and basically holding him on his back for more than half the round. He landed some hard shots at the end of the fight as Adesanya was unable to defend.

Judges scored the fight 49-45 twice and 49-46 for Blachowicz, who was the 2020 Yahoo Sports Fighter of the Year. Yahoo Sports had it 48-47 for Adesanya, giving him the first three rounds and Blachowicz the final two.

Glover Teixeira, the light heavyweight contender who could get the next title shot, was watching from cageside.

“He’s a great fighter,” Teixeira said of Blachowicz. “I was rooting for him and he did a great job.”

Adesanya was unable to hurt Blachowicz, though his jab was landing and he was able to avoid major damage himself. Blachowicz, who won the vacant title last year by knocking out Dominick Reyes, never stopped trying to pressure.

His size and strength was too much for Adesanya and he managed to pull out the biggest win of his career.

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