Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya are on the verge of making history. UFC 259 is nearly upon us to showcase what may be one of the most historic events in the promotion as UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has a chance to further cement his legacy in his quest to become a double weight champion (middleweight & light-heavyweight) when he faces current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz this coming weekend.
Here are a preview and fight breakdown.
Israel Adesanya – Chasing Greatness
Undoubtedly one of the most technically gifted fighters in the UFC roster today, a win for Adesanya (20-0) would see him join the elite list of fighters who have held two belts in different weight classes at the same time. Only four other fighters have become simultaneous two-weight champions; Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo.
Adesanya’s last fight saw one of his most impressive performances when he totally outclassed Paulo Costa to defend his belt for the second time by finishing the Brazilian by Round 2 TKO. Costa implemented a very strange game plan in which he did not use his pressure-boxing like he usually does allowing Adesanya to pick him apart from the outside with some deadly leg kicks.
Still undefeated in his MMA career, Adesanya has stormed through the competition since making his UFC debut back in February 2018. The Nigerian-born fighter became an undisputed UFC middleweight champion in less than two years when he defeated Robert Whittaker by TKO back in October 2019 at UFC 243.
On his way to the title, “The Last Stylebender” defeated Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, and Kelvin Gastelum. His fight against Gastelum has been heralded as one of the greatest fights in UFC history as the two fighters fought in a back-and-forth all-out action fight which showcased both fighter’s heart, grit, and determination. The fight saw Adesanya capture the interim UFC middleweight belt as he proved to the doubters that when things got tough, “Izzy” has got the fighting spirit within him to push through.
As Adesanya continues to chase greatness, he has undeniably become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. Already a superstar with sponsorship deals with the likes of Puma (the first UFC fighter to have a deal with Puma), many believe Adesanya will become one of the greats of the sport. A victory here to become a two-weight world champion would certainly leave no doubt. A legacy set in stone.
Jan Blachowicz – Never Count Out The Underdog
Jan Blachowicz (27-8) has seen a late-career resurgence which saw him capture the UFC light heavyweight crown in his last fight back in September. Coming in as a big underdog against Dominick Reyes, Blachowicz proved the bettors wrong when he knocked out Reyes in the second round which proved to be a relatively easy fight for the Polishman.
The “Prince of Cieszyn” dominated the fight as Reyes had great difficulty in cracking Blachowicz’s defense whilst taking damage numerous times from the “legendary polish power” as the light heavyweight champion likes to call it. Blachowicz was never in any trouble and used a nasty lead body roundhouse kick a couple of times which proved to be very successful. Jan Blachowicz broke Reyes’s nose moments later and subsequently knocked Reyes down with a short left hook to then ground and pound for the finish.
The finish was impressive and further cements the fact which everyone knows at this point. Blachowicz has dynamite in his hands and one well-placed punch can spell goodnight for the opponent. After going 2-4 in his first six UFC fights and seen almost like a journeyman at one point in his career, Blachowicz reinvented himself and went on a very impressive streak of 9-1 which saw him knock out the likes Luke Rockhold (former UFC middleweight champion) and Corey Anderson which saw the Polishman ultimately bring home UFC gold to Poland.
It seems the narrative for every Blachowicz fight has him as the underdog which I think the Polishman has no problem with as he proves everyone wrong time and time again. He was the underdog against Rockhold, Anderson, and Reyes. All of them were victims to the “legendary polish power” as they got KO’d viciously. And yet again in this upcoming fight in Blachowicz’s first title defense of his light heavyweight title against Adesanya, should we even be surprised that Blachowicz is being counted out again as the underdog? One thing we should count on is to never count out the underdog in the “Prince of Cieszyn”.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya: Fight Breakdown
Now I am not one to do fight breakdowns like someone like Dan Hardy as I am not as technical in my analysis as such a pro in Hardy. However, I will give my brief breakdown of this fight.
One thing is clear. Jan Blachowicz has the power advantage. He is not necessarily the bigger guy but definitely thicker than Adesanya. We have seen in the past that he has one-punch KO power with Anderson and Rockhold. The question is will he be able to hit Adesanya clean. Not many fighters have hit Izzy clean but we have seen the Nigerian rocked before when Gastelum landed a head kick on him.
If a small middleweight/large welterweight like Gastelum can rock him then I am pretty sure Blachowicz who is a fully developed light heavyweight, can inflict major damage on Adesanya. That is if he lands clean. Adesanya is very elusive. We saw that clearly in the Whittaker fight when the Australian would lunge forward in his attacks and Adesanya would almost glide away from them using his footwork and head movement.
Blachowicz tends to be flat-footed and does not pressure all that much against opponents and prefers to counter punch like Adesanya but will occasionally blitz forward with heavy punches then ending with a kick to either the body or head like he did against Reyes with those nasty body kicks.
We saw in the Costa fight, if you’re flat-footed against Adesanya, he will mercilessly pick you apart. The problem is if you blitz forward, then he will counter you like he did Whittaker. And we have seen Blachowicz get countered coming forward when he fought Thiago Santos.
Blachowicz in my opinion is in a tricky position if the fight stays standing. I think being the bigger man the Polishman can use his superior strength to perhaps grapple Adesanya to wear him out and control on the ground, so you take some of that kinetic energy away from Adesanya. However, we have seen in the past that it is not that easy to take Adesanya down. The man holds an 87% takedown defense. Nevertheless, we have seen in his fight against Vettori that he is not all that comfortable on the ground from the bottom and Blachowicz can take advantage of that.
Since both are counter punchers, there is a chance that the fight may end up being a chess match. Moving forward is very dangerous against either opponent. They are both similar reaches (78inch for Blachowicz, 80inch for Adesanya) so that could mean both fighters will be comfortable standing at range from each other.
The fight will be headlining the March 6th pay-per-view card at UFC 259 in one of the most stacked cards this year. Dominick Cruz the former bantamweight champion in the prelims should tell you how stacked this card is from top to bottom. Let’s hope none of these amazing fights get canceled.
- Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya – for the light heavyweight title
- Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson – for women’s featherweight title
- Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling – for the bantamweight title
- Drew Dober vs. Islam Makhachev
- Aleksandar Rakic vs. Thiago Santos
- Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney
- Kyler Phillips vs. Song Yadong
- Askar Askarov vs. Joseph Benavidez
- Amanda Lemos vs. Livinha Souza
- Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa
- Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Carlos Ulberg
- Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews
- Rogerio Bontorin vs. Kai Kara-France
- Aalon Cruz vs. Uros Medic
- Mario Bautista vs. Trevin Jones
Embed from Getty Images