“Precision beats speed and timing beats power.” Those words, made famous by the UFC’s first ever two weight champion Conor McGregor could well provide the platform for the achievements of another aspiring double champ when Israel Adesanya steps up to challenge Light Heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259.
Adesanya remains unbeaten after 20 MMA fight, winning 15 by KO/TKO. ‘The Last Stylebender’ has prevailed in all nine fights since joining the UFC in 2018, stopping four of his opponents with his lethal knees and punching power.
But the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion has taken up the challenge to move up a weight class. Consequently, he gets a title shot against Polish veteran Blachowicz, who brings a 27-8 record – and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship – into the bout.
CHAMP vs CHAMP.
— UFC (@ufc) February 28, 2021
Adesanya favoured to beat bigger opponent
Moving up in weight has brought many a UFC fighter undone. But Adesanya is no ordinary UFC fighter. Phenomenally skilful in the Octagon, the 31-year-old’s power set him apart from most middleweights.
Adesanya has declared he doesn’t intend to stray from his middleweight frame – which means he could give away 20 pounds to Blachowicz. But Adesanya is nevertheless a warm $1.45 favourite to add the Light Heavyweight Championship belt to his collection. One might think the decision by Adesanya to maintain his middleweight frame makes the now famous ‘Polish Power’ of Blachowicz an even scarier prospect, but it could well be the determining factor in the Last Stylebender’s path to victory.
Three years after his UFC debut Israel Adesanya is yet to meet his match.
After storming the 185lb division @Stylebender has history in his sights – becoming the fastest UFC Champ-Champ ever! 🏆🏆
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 28, 2021
The brash, Auckland-based phenom won the unified Middleweight Championship with a brutal second-round knockout of Aussie MMA great Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October 2019. He then outlasted Yoel Romero by unanimous decision in a dour fight last March. Adesanya returned to his entertaining best by stopping Paulo Costa via TKO in Round 2 at UCF 253.
Adesanya will rely on his superior speed and surgeon-like precision to get the job done in the UFC 259 main event.
All four of his knockouts under the UFC banner (and all 11 from his 11 MMA fights beforehand) came inside two rounds. Punters can get a juicy $4.50 for backing an Adesanya KO/TKO finish in Round 1 or 2.
Polish powerhouse peaking
A Light Heavyweight Champion under the KSW banner, Blachowicz took his time making a mark in the UFC. He lost four of his first five UFC bouts after joining the promotion in 2014.
But Blachowicz has won eight of his last nine fights, with only a third-round TKO loss to Thiago Santo in early-2019 against his name. Working his way up the contender rankings with a string of Performance of the Night nods, the Polish brute hit the UFC’s heights when he won the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship with a Round 2 TKO of Dominick Reyes at UFC 253.
Blachowicz’s size advantage, renowned power punching and relentless mid-section kicks is sure to lure plenty of punters in at his $2.78 underdog price. He should be able to absorb more punishment than Adesanya is accustomed to from his opponents. Meanwhile, Adesanya may be in for the shock of his glittering career if one of Blachowicz’s fists catches up with him.
Be careful what you wish for 🚧
— UFC (@ufc) March 1, 2021
But Adesanya is undefeated for a reason. He has rarely been challenged. Some pundits are touting him as an eventual contender to the G.O.A.T. crown the likes of Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva and co. are hypothetically grappling for.
Adesanya looks set to advance to 21-0 and the realms of multi-division champion.