Polish fighter Jan Blachowicz has retained the light heavyweight title bout, shattering New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya’s hopes at becoming a double-champ at UFC 259.
Adesanya stayed at the lighter weight for the bout and when standing up, the pair appeared to be trading punches equally, with many believing Adesanya was up in the early rounds.
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But Blachowicz’s extra weight proved the difference in the closely-contested fight at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with Adesanya seeming to bite off more than he could chew.
The 31-year-old came out firing in the opening couple of rounds, but appeared to tire as the fight progressed into the fourth and fifth.
Blachowicz was in control of the final two rounds, particularly when the fight went to the ground.
AND STILL 🏆@JanBlachowicz does enough to get the decision win over Adesanya! #UFC259pic.twitter.com/SJ1em89Ifb
Blachowicz ultimately won the contest via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45 x2) — the large margin of victory baffling many punters.
The scorecard in the Adesanya fight.Source:Supplied
It was a margin that had many people stunned about the result with social media backing Adesanya to have banked at least two rounds.
49-45? Not sure about that. But on balance Jan probably deserved it in the end. #UFC259
Wow. Didn’t see the 49-45 coming. Big dude was just too big for Israel, but wow, didn’t expect it to be a blowout on the scoreboard #UFC259
But the scorecard revealed that the fifth round, that was dominated by Blachowicz, went 10-8 to the Polish champ.
At the post-fight presser, UFC president Dana White slammed the scoring, taking aim at a series of 10-8 rounds awarded.
“The scoring was insane, they’re giving out 10-8’s like…” he began. “There were two rounds in that fight that they gave as a 10-8. When I came up in the fight business, a 10-8 was an a** whooping. You got your a** whooped. You didn’t do s*** in that round if it was a 10-8. This 10-8 s*** is out of control right now. So hopefully we can get this fixed. They’re going to screw up a lot of fights if they’re handing out 10-8s like that. There was no 10-8 in that fight.
Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Israel Adesanya.Source:Getty Images
It was Adesanya’s first defeat in the Octagon, the Kiwi failing to become the UFC’s fifth simultaneous champion.
“It didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to go, I thought I’d win. But, you know, dare to be great,” Adesanya said after the defeat. “I knew what to do but the size was a factor.
“I’m going back down to 185 and I’m going to rule that b**** with my iron black fist.”
As for going up to the heavier division, fans were mixed about whether it was a good thing or not, with some taking aim at Adesanya, while other praised him for putting his unbeaten record on the line.
Big Props To Jan💯 Takedowns Were The Game Changer… Big Props To Izzy For Taking The Challenge🙏🏼 #UFC259
20-1….always stay your lane…#UFC259
Blachowicz clearly had more size and power over Adesanya tonight. Izzy hung in there and landed some clean shots, but couldn’t hang with him on the mat. I’d like to see him tack on more weight and try it again. #UFC#UFC259
The ground work in the later rounds was all part of the plan for Blachowicz as he waited for the right time to pounce and put his weight to use.
“I thought he would be a little bit faster, but he hit harder than I thought,” Blachowicz said.
“I knew that I was going to be better on the ground. I had to just wait for the good moment. He was a little bit tired so I waited for the good moment and tried to use it. If I would have knocked him out it would be better. But because he is one of the best of the world, I’m happy.”
Former double-champ in lightweight and heavyweight Daniel Cormier said the weight difference was all that stopped Adesanya.
It comes after the New Zealander didn't add much weight to fight in the heavier division, while Blachowicz appeared to put on around 15 pounds between weigh in and fight time.
“When it comes to grappling, there’s no substitution for size and technique,” Cormier said. “It also shows going up 20 pounds is very difficult.”
Jan Blachowicz of Poland celebrates.Source:Getty Images
As for what’s next in the lightweight division — it appears that Glover Teixeira is Blachowicz’s next preferred contentder.
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