The biggest and best card of the year, undoubtedly, takes place this weekend at UFC 259 and will be headlined by a super-fight between the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya challenging for the light heavyweight title against Jan Blachowicz.
Both fighters last competed back at UFC 253, where Blachowicz knocked out Dominick Reyes to win the vacant light heavyweight title after Jon Jones planned to move up to heavyweight. In the very next fight on the card, Adesanya cemented his run as the best middleweight champion since Anderson Silva with a stunning knockout win over rival Paulo Costa inside two rounds.
After cleaning out the division, ‘The Last Stylebender’ made the decision to move up a division instead of fighting Robert Whittaker again – the man he beat to become the undisputed champion.
He was supposed to fight Jon Jones in this super-fight. That was always his plan. That’s why he picked a fight with ‘Bones’ before he even became the middleweight champion.
But with Jones opting to move to heavyweight after cleaning out the 205lbs weight class, a fight seems further away than ever before from happening. But that didn’t stop Adesanya from making the move anyway, where he will take on Blachowicz’s ‘Polish power’ to become only the fifth dual-weight simultaneous champion in the history of the company.
Amazingly, the talk is that Adesanya isn’t planning to put on any weight for his fight up a division – despite the 20lbs difference between the weight classes.
It’s expected that the 31-year-old will instead just not cut any weight for the fight, which should still see him weigh in way below the limit considering he’s previously weighed in for title fights as low as 183lbs. After an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he revealed he usually walks around at around 203lbs so don’t be surprised to see a similar sort of weigh in weight.
Many people seem to be looking at this fight as a crowning for Adesanya, with Blachowicz being overlooked and almost looked at as a paper champion.
He never beat the previous champion to win the belt and the wide assumption is that Adesanya is going to come in and take the belt that he worked for over 13 years to earn as a professional fighter.
Blachowicz is going to be the biggest man he has fought in the UFC and by quite some distance. He has a huge power advantage, he’s more durable than most and he’s also an effective grappler if he needs to be, despite preferring a stand up war. He’s also vastly experienced in MMA in comparison to Adesanya.
That’s not to say Adesanya doesn’t have the ability to win. He has a speed and technical advantage while also having arguably the best striking techniques in the entire sport – regardless of weight class.
He’s also got one of the best brains for mixed martial arts too and while he’s never seen to be ‘picking his battles’ per say, he definitely knows which fights will be easier for him than others. He knew he’d be able to walk through Costa, he knew he’d have a war on his hands against Gastelum and he knows he can beat Blachowicz.
If he does get the win, Adesanya could be the man to become a really dominant two-weight world champion in a similar way to Amanda Nunes for the women. He could bounce between the weights, has shown a willingness to be active constantly throughout his career and has never turned down opponents before.
As Conor McGregor’s star begins to fade and Jones’ accolades come into question more and more with each poor performance, Adesanya is on the verge of becoming the biggest star in the sport.