Nigerian kick boxer and UFC title holder, Israel Adesanya has lost world title fight to Polish MMA fighter, Jan Blachowicz.
Adesanya’s bid to become a double UFC champion has ended with the first loss of his mixed martial arts career.
After amassing a perfect 20-0 record, the reigning middleweight king finally met his match with the move up to light-heavyweight, as Jan Blachowicz (28-8) defended his title via unanimous decision.
The opening three rounds were very close, though Adesanya appeared to get better of the Polish powerhouse, showing a clear speed advantage against the heavier fighter.
However, the judges saw it differently. And with Blachowicz taking control during the final two rounds on the back of his grappling, all three officials awarded the bout his way, 49-46, 49-45 and 49-45.
Having held the middleweight belt since October 2019, Adesanya was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two separate divisions at the same time.
“Yeah, it didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but, you know … dare to be great,” he said in the octagon.
“You know, the critics are the ones on the sidelines but I’m the one putting it on the line.”
Despite an almost 10kg difference between middleweight and light-heavyweight, Adesanya opted not to bulk up for the fight and weighed-in 2kg lighter than Blachowicz.
Asked if he regretted that decision, Adesanya said: “Never. Never.
“That was just my legs being fatigued. I don’t know what from. I’ll have to watch the tape. I knew what to do and I was trying to do it.
“The size did play a factor but my technique could have been a lot finer. It was like a bad day in the gym except it’s in the office tonight.”
Adesanya’s middleweight title was not on the line on Sunday and while he has unfinished business at light-heavyweight, ‘The Last Stylebender’ plans to head back down for his next assignment.
Blachowicz, who defended his title for the first time, said the victory was the most satisfying of his career.
“If I had knocked him out it would’ve been better but, anyway, I love this win because he’s one of the best in the world. Now I’m going to be one of the best in the world,” Blachowicz said.
“I’m the first one to defeat him.”
Surprisingly, Blachowicz was happy to keep the fight standing in the first two rounds and Adesanya had little trouble avoiding his early blitzes.
It was a cautious start by Adesanya – it had to be against a man with Blachowicz’s power.
The Polish fighter showed a taste of what he could do early in the second, responding with a heavy combination to the body after eating a left hand by Adesanya.
He followed that up with his first takedown attempt but couldn’t stay inside Adesanya’s range long enough to inflict any major damage.