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Israel Adesanya to move up to light-heavyweight and challenge champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259

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UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya embarks on a new journey as he moves up in weight to challenge light heavyweight titlist Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 on March 6, UFC president Dana White told ESPN.

Adesanya (20-0) has proven dominant at middleweight since arriving in the promotion in 2018. He won and unified the middleweight title when he knocked out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. Adesanya made two successful defenses in 2020, taking a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 248 and stopping Paulo Costa at UFC 253.

 

If "The Last Stylebender" can dethrone Blachowicz, he would join an exclusive but growing club of fighters who can say they owned UFC championships in two different weight classes simultaneously.

The first competitor to achieve this was Conor McGregor, who capped mixed martial arts' historic return to New York at UFC 205 by making short work of Eddie Alvarez to Madison Square Garden to add the lightweight title to his featherweight championship.

Since then, Daniel Cormier has snared the heavyweight and light-heavyweight belts at the same time, while Amanda Nunes has collected the women's bantamweight and featherweight titles before becoming the first to defend both as an active double champion successfully. Henry Cejudo is the most recent addition to the club, following his acquisition of both the bantamweight and flyweight titles, though he has since vacated both and announced his retirement.

Blachowicz (27-8) looks to defend his belt for the first time after stopping Dominick Reyes on the aforementioned UFC 253 to capture the vacant belt. 

UFC 259 fight card

  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya for Blachowicz's Light Heavyweight title
  • Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson for Nunes' Women’s Featherweight title
  • Aleksandar Rakic vs. Thiago Santos
  • Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney
  • Askar Askarov vs. Joseph Benavidez
  • Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews
  • Randy Costa vs. Trevin Jones
  • Aalon Cruz vs. Uros Medic
  • Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa

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