Less than 24 hours ago, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1) attempted to become a simultaneous two-division champion when took on the light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (28-8). Unfortunately for Adesanya, his dream was put on hold, as Blachowicz outpointed him to retain the light heavyweight belt.
Before the bout, many considered Jan’s power his biggest strength and gave him a puncher’s chance against Israel. However, Jan proved all doubters wrong and showed that he can get technical if needed.
Post-fight, Adesanya described “The Polish Power” and revealed what went wrong for him.
“He [Jan Blachowicz] took his time tonight,” Israel Adesanya said during the UFC 259 post-fight press conference. “I think he respected me as well like I [respected] him. I respected his power. I felt his power — I can handle that Polish thing.”
Israel Adesanya on Jan Blachowicz’s Size, Defense, and the Judges’ Scorecards
Adesanya, who is a phenomenal striker, is not that great of a wrestler. He is known for his exceptionally good takedown defense, which he showed in the first half of the fight.
The 31-year-old’s game plan revolved around drawing out Jan’s attacks and making him pay for his mistakes. Per Adesanya, the size played no part in the fight until his legs fatigued.
As the fight entered the later rounds, Adesanya was taken down and controlled on the ground. The three takedowns in rounds 3,4, and 5 tilted the action in Jan’s favor. But the fight was still close on the feet. At least that’s what most critics thought.
The judges saw a completely different bout. Two of them (Derek Cleary and Sal D’Amato) scored four rounds for Blachowicz, whereas one judge (Junichiro Kamijo) gave four rounds to Adesanya. Cleary and Kamijo also scored the final round as a 10-8 round in Jan’s favor.
A round is scored as 10-8 or 10-7 when a one fighter completely dominates the other. This was not the case with Adesanya, as he did well in the first half of the fifth round.
As expected, Adesanya did not agree with the scoring, but he accepted Jan was the better fighter at UFC 259.
“It wasn’t that big of a difference. I don’t know about those 10-8 rounds. I don’t know some of those scorecards from the judges, but yeah, I lost the fight to the better fighter tonight, the craftier fighter tonight. But it wasn’t like an a** whooping or anything.”
“The Last Stylebender” claimed he was expecting his opponent to be careless with his offense, which never happened. Moreover, he stated that Blachowicz’s size had nothing to do with his ability to take a shot and admitted that Jan’s defense was on point.
“I wouldn’t say the size because I can hurt big dudes. I think it was just his defense. He was really tight with his defense and smart with his defense. And also, like I said, he was not as careless with his offense like he usually is.”
Adesanya on the Jon Jones Fight: “Never Say Never”
The Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya storyline was hot going into this bout. After all, light heavyweight was Jones’ division a couple of months ago. The duo was expected to collide some time in the future. Nevertheless, Adesanya’s first loss in the UFC might have potentially delayed the fight.
When asked about the Jon Jones fight, Adesanya said, “Never say never.”
Jones, who was watching the fight, did not waste any time in using his most powerful weapon outside the cage – Twitter. He unleashed a series of tweets and mocked Adesanya’s greatness.
Adesanya later confirmed he would return to middleweight and defend his strap against the next contender. Besides that, he apologized to his fan base for not winning the bout.