This past Saturday at UFC 259, Israel Adesanya (20-1) moved up in attempt to become a two-division champion. Standing in his way was the man who became the king at 205 last year, Jan Blachowicz (28-8).
The fight didn’t go anything like I thought it would. For the first three rounds, it was a technical striking match. However, I figured Adesanya would have a much greater speed advantage than he had. I figured if they kickboxed at range, Adesanya would have the massive advantage.
He did not at UFC 259. Blachowicz held his own and in fact, all three judges gave the light heavyweight champion two of the first three rounds. The final two rounds were dominated by Blachowicz who switched to his wrestling.
Adesanya had no answer for the wrestling game of Blachowicz. Blachowicz successfully landed two takedowns in the fourth and fifth and the rest of both rounds found him on top of the UFC‘s middleweight champion.
In the end, all three judges gave four of the five rounds to Blachowicz. Israel Adesanya suffered his first career loss in the UFC and now will return to the middleweight division where he is still the champion.
What’s next after UFC 259?
As mentioned, following his failed attempt to become a two-division UFC champion, Adesanya will return to the division where he still holds the belt. Over the next two months, there are a lot of pivotal matchups in the middleweight division.
There are two fights in particular that I think will likely produce the next challenger for Adesanya. The first matchup is the fight between Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa. Whittaker is the former UFC middleweight champion and has only lost to Adesanya at 185 pounds.
Costa is still one of the top contenders in the division and his only career loss is to Adesanya. The other fight I have my eyes on is the Marvin Vettori – Darren Till matchup. Adesanya has been vocal that he’s always wanted to fight Darren Till.
Meanwhile, Marvin Vettori is surging and fought the UFC middleweight champion to a split decision not too long ago. I believe Adesanya’s next fight will come from one of these four men. However, before the year’s over, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kevin Holland enter that mix.