Fight Island returned with a historic card as Israel Adesanya made short work of his fiercest rival so far while Jan Blachowicz became the undisputed light heavyweight champion with a stunning knockout win.
After all the build up and talk about a potential fight of the night in the main event Adesanya entered the octagon and completely dominated Paulo Costa, evading attacks and landing leg kicks at will for the first round before opening up in the second and securing a knockout win. The manner of the victory was an eye opener for many who believed that Adesanya has been gifted a route to greatness by the UFC. Costa was flattened after promising to expose Adesanya and he had no excuse other than he isn’t as good as his opponent.
Following the bout, Adesanya explained that the fight went exactly as he expected because “I’m smart and he’s dumb,” but it was more than that. The execution of techniques and a game plan were there for all to see and now Izzy can move on from his toughest test having put in the best performance of his MMA career.
He’s now turned his attention to Jared Cannonier, revealing that the two have spoken over Instagram DM’s to discuss a future bout. Cannonier is scheduled to fight former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 next month knowing a win will set up a fight for the title against ‘The Last Stylebender’ but whether that’s a favourable match up for him or not is up for debate. Adesanya seems to have the speed advantage over all the top middleweights in the world and his striking techniques are phenomenal.
This weekend was his 100th win in professional combat sports (kickboxing, boxing and MMA) and it puts him among the greatest 185lbers of all time with his idol Anderson Silva.
Up at 205lbs, Jan Blachowicz fulfilled a lifelong dream when he knocked out Dominick Reyes in the second round to become the light heavyweight champion. Despite being the underdog once again, the Polish fighter was never in danger at any point throughout the fight and after smashing Reyes’ nose to pieces he landed a huge left hook to win the fight.
Immediately after the fight he called out Jon Jones, who vacated the title to move up to heavyweight, but was also open to a potential rematch against Thiago Santos as his first title defence in the future.
The two fought each other back in February 2019 and Santos secured the knockout victory early in the 3rd round, but it’s the only defeat Blachowicz has suffered in his last nine fights. With Santos scheduled to fight Glover Teixiera in November now after twice being cancelled recently due to positive COVID-19 tests, it seems almost certain to be a number one contender fight. Jon Jones won’t be coming back to 205lbs any time soon with the heavyweight belt on his mind and that could leave the current division more open than at any point in the last 10 years.
With no Jon Jones to reign supreme, there are plenty of fighters who will fancy their chances at becoming champion in the near future. Santos, Teixiera, Reyes, Rakic and Smith will all believe that they are only two or three fights away from the title at any point in time and the match up are all favourable at different stages.
Interestingly it could be the weakest the division has been in a while but also the most entertaining with such openness at the top end. I don’t think any of the current crop will go down among the elites in the history of the sport but a few of them could end up as champions at one point or another.
If Adesanya has aspirations of becoming a double champ, this could be the ideal time for him to do it.