Was Size an Issue For Israel Adesanya at UFC 259? Blachowicz and Bareman Weigh In

Israel Adesanya with a black mask at UFC 259 weigh-ins

UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz stunned the world when he stopped the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, from capturing a second belt at UFC 259. Not only did the fight cement Jan’s reign as the champion, but it also earned him the respect he deserved.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Jan reflected on the win and revealed what he could have done better.

“I can do much, much better, you know?” Jan said. “Like put more pressure on him, start wrestling a little bit earlier, use my hands more for boxing, but Israel is a really good fighter. One of the best in the world. So, not so easy fight, you know? It was a really good fight, a tough fight. But I was happy.”

Referee Herb Dean raises Jan Blachowicz's hand while UFC president Dana White wraps the belt around the Polish fighter.
UFC 259: Jan Blachowicz defeats Israel Adesanya

Besides his underrated striking, Jan’s grappling proved to be his biggest asset in the fight. The 38-year-old showed that size does matter when grappling is involved. Whenever he took down Adesanya, Jan imposed his size and weight to trap the former.

Jan Blachowicz Reveals Surprising Elements From the Adesanya Fight

Jan acknowledged Adesanya was tricky to catch at the beginning of the fight. He also underestimated the Kiwi’s leg kicks. However, he stated Adesanya was slower than he thought.

Jan Blachowicz punches Israel Adesanya with his right hand
UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya

“Two things. The most important — I think that he gonna be a little bit faster when I watched his fight. Inside the octagon, he was not so fast. But he kicks harder than I [thought]. So he was slower, but his kicks were harder than I [thought].”

Blachowicz advised Adesanya, who weighed in at 200.5 pounds for the bout, to put on more weight before moving up again but also warned him about being more hittable.

“I think yes. A little bit, you know?” Blachowicz said when asked whether Adesanya made a mistake by not bulking up. “When I [took] him down in the third round, he [could not] stand up, you know? Same in the last round. But [at] the beginning of the fight, he was tricky. I [could not] catch him… I don’t know maybe if he will be bigger, he will be much slower.”

Many speculated that the smaller cage (25 ft) at the UFC Apex would favor Jan and restrict Adesanya’s movement. But Jan claimed the cage size did not matter, as he found more success in the center.

Eugene Bareman Reviews Adesanya’s Performance

In a chat with Submission Radio, Israel Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman reviewed his pupil’s performance. Without getting too technical, Bareman admitted Blachowicz was better than Adesanya at UFC 259, especially on the ground.

“I think Israel performed well. But did he perform at his best? No. Did he perform terribly? No. He just had a really good opponent in front of him and a really good team who had a good strategy and who had the right answers… A lot of that was due to his opponent.”

Eugene Bareman reviews Israel Adesanya’s performance against Jan Blachowicz on Submission Radio

Bareman then said that Adesanya would put on more size the next time he moves up to light heavyweight, although he felt the size was not a huge element.

“I think the next time we go to light heavyweight, we’ll definitely stack on some weight and try to get our walk around weight and our fight weight a little higher, to a proper light heavyweight level. It [size] wasn’t too much of a factor.”

Professional Boxing and MMA writer at The Combat Magazine.