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UFC 259: Jan Blachowicz uses key takedowns to get unanimous decision over Israel Adesanya

Jan Blachowicz (Getty Images)

Israel Adesanya was daring to be great, attempting to become the UFC's latest double champion.

Well, Jan Błachowicz made sure that didn't happen. Błachowicz used his grappling and scored two late takedowns to secure a unanimous decision victory over Adesanya to retain his light heavyweight title Saturday night. Judges at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas scored it 49-46, 49-45 and 49-45 all in favor of Błachowicz. DAZN News had it closer, as a 48-47 fight for Blachowicz.

"Polish Power" handed "The Last Stylebender" his first MMA loss by turning up his grappling in the fourth and fifth rounds. Each of those rounds had Błachowicz notching a big takedown and weighing down on Adesanya, who couldn't wriggle free.

"If I'd knocked him out, it would be better, but anyway, I love this win because he's one of the best in the world," Blachowicz said following his victory. "Now, I'm one of the best in the world. I'm the first one to defeat him, so that's really good. A lot of respect for him."

And with the victory, Blachowicz believes respect should be heaped onto his name as well.

"Now, I think I deserve respect," he said following his first title defense. "I'm the true champion right now."

Blachowicz certainly does deserve respect. Adesanya came out looking all too comfortable in the first round, keeping a healthy distance and tagging Blachowicz with some early shots. The next two rounds were a lot closer and could've gone either way. However, Blachowicz made sure the fourth and fifth rounds — and subsequently, the bout — belonged to him, and he did it with his grappling.

Blachowicz secured a takedown with three minutes left in the fourth round and kept Adesanya on the mat until the frame ended. At about the halfway mark of the fifth and final round, Blachowicz took Adesanya down again — this time additionally scoring with elbows and punches.

The late wrestling was enough to have Blachowicz' hand raised as he expressed his desire to face Glover Teixeira next.

Meanwhile, Adesanya took his first MMA loss in stride.

"It didn't go the way I wanted it to go, but dare to be great," Adesanya said. "The critics are the ones on the sidelines, but I'm the one putting it on the line."

UFC 259 FIGHT CARD

Main card

  • Jan Błachowicz (c) def. Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) to retain light heavyweight title
  • Amanda Nunes (c) def. Megan Anderson by first-round submission (armbar) to retain women's featherweight title
  • Aljamain Sterling def. Petr Yan due to intentional foul disqualification (illegal knee from Yan) to win bantamweight title
  • Islam Makhachev def. Drew Dober via third-round submission (arm triangle); Lightweight 
  • Aleksandar Rakić def. Thiago Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28); Light Heavyweight 

Preliminary card results
 

  • Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29); Bantamweight 
  • Kyler Phillips def. Song Yadong via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28); Bantamweight 
  • Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26); Flyweight
  • Kai Kara-France def. Rogério Bontorin via first-round TKO (punches); Flyweight 

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Blachowicz retains light heavyweight championship

A unanimous decision goes Blachowicz' way, as judges have it 49-46, 49-45 and 49-45, as "Polish Power" retains his title and hands Adesanya his first MMA loss.

Blachowicz vs. Adesanya; Round 5

Adesanya fires off a leg kick. Will Blachowicz go for another takedown? Adesanya is working from the outside, tagging Blachowicz with a jab. Blachowicz lands a short right, and Adesanya connects with a right of his own. Adesanya with a right that clips Blachowicz, too. Blachowicz is breathing heavily with his mouth open. Three minutes left. Blachowicz with a big takedown at about the halfway mark of the round. He took Adesanya right off his feet swiftly. Could this be the difference? He's going for elbows that rake instead of land with impact. Blachowicz is weighing on Adesanya. One minute left. Blachowicz has the mount and is raining down with punches on Adesanya. Let's see how the judges have it. (10-9 Blachowicz, 48-47 Blachowicz)

Blachowicz vs. Adesanya; Round 4

Another clinch from Blachowicz, who has Adesanya mashed up against the Octagon. Blachowicz catches Adesanya with a right, but it doesn't land with full force. Good body kick from Blachowicz. Stinging rights from Adesanya land. Blachowicz takes Adesanya down with three minutes to go in the round. Blachowicz has top position and is leaning on him, pressing his weight up against him. Blachowicz is trying to let loose with some power shots on top of Adesanya. Short right lands for Blachowicz. Thirty seconds left in the round. Blachowicz is still on top of him, and the round ends like that. (10-9 Blachowicz, 38-38)

Blachowicz vs. Adesanya; Round 3

Blachowicz tries digging in a couple of body punches, then adds a kick to the body as well. Blachowicz touches Adesanya with a left hook. He takes the back of Adesanya, who gets back on his feet and stings Blachowicz with a solid shot. That punch seemed to hurt the champ or at least make him think over his strategy a bit. Blachowicz grabs Adesanya in a standup clinch against the cage. That should momentarily stop Adesanya's movement and striking, as Blachowicz has him wrapped up. Adesanya is making Blachowicz miss while flicking out his own jab that lands. Adesanya's leg kicks showing damage on Blachowicz' lead leg. Nice jab from Blachowicz. Left hook from Blachowicz now. Blachowicz grabs Adesanya in a body lock and has him pressed up against the cage. (10-9 Adesanya, 29-28 Adesanya)



 

Blachowicz vs. Adesanya; Round 2

Adesanya fires a kick to the body. Blachowicz touches Adesanya with a right hand. Right-hand lands for Adesanya. But Blachowicz fires back with a solid shot and kick behind it to make sure "The Last Stylebender" feels his "Polish Power." Blachowicz is respecting all of Adesanya's feints. Blachowicz gets Adesanya in a clinch, but Adesanya wriggles out of it quickly. Adesanya with a stinging inside leg kick. And another. Blachowicz brushes Adesanya back with a right hand. Adesanya fires a kick that lands right on the cup. Blachowicz takes a moment and is ready to resume action once again. Blachowicz goes from the clinch to throwing a flurry of punches. He needs more of that kind of offense. More leg kicks from Adesanya, who is tallying up strikes. More volume from Adesanya. More significant strikes from Blachowicz. (10-9 Blachowicz, 19-19)

 
 

Blachowicz vs. Adesanya; Round 1

Adesanya fires off with a leg kick to check Blachowicz' temperature. Both fighters are trying to feel each other out. Blachowicz already looking for an opening to close the distance. Adesanya launches a head kick, which Blachowicz defends. Both fighters lobbying to assert position and spacing. Adesanya goes for another head kick, but Blachowicz defends again. Blachowicz with a head kick now that Adesanya defends. Adesanya goes for an overhand right seconds later. A body kick lands for Adesanya, who is doing a good job keeping space and fighting on the outside. A leg kick lands for Adesanya. Will Blachowicz try to get in a clinch next round? (10-9 Adesanya)

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya is moments away!

It's about to be that time, as Adesanya has made his way into the Octagon. The champ's entrance is seconds away.

Nunes dominates Anderson, wins by first-round submission

Nunes makes Anderson eat a punch in the opening seconds. Big overhand right from Nunes wobbles the challenger, and she takes Anderson down. Nunes is pounding her with hammer fists now. This could be over real soon. Nunes is going for a submission. She grabs hold of Anderson's arm and now cinches in an armbar. Anderson taps. It's a wrap.

All it took was 2:03 into the first round. Nunes is the GOAT for a reason. Nunes says, "It's not my fault," referring to the quick finish. A humble double champ.

Co-main event time

Amanda Nunes putting the featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson is moments away.

Aljamain Sterling named new bantamweight champion after Yan is disqualified

An intentional foul (the illegal knee) disqualifies Yan and Sterling is named the new bantamweight champion. This is clearly not how Sterling wanted to be crowned champ, as he tosses the title to the ground and sheds tears in the Octagon. At the time of the disqualification, two judges had Yan winning 29-28; the other had Sterling up by a point.

"To f—ing have the fight called like that ..." an emotional Sterling tells Joe Rogan following the anticlimactic win. "That's not the way I wanted to win. That's not how I envisioned this."

 

 

Yan-Sterling; Round 4

Yan isn't having to put much effort into taking Sterling down, as he secures yet another takedown. Yan stands above Sterling and allows the challenger to get back up. Yan defends a takedown and tags Sterling with a left and right. A kick to the body seems to make Sterling grimace. Jumping knee from the champ moments later. Yan lands a left. Sterling is winded. Knee lands from the champ and a punch behind it. Overhand left brushes Sterling back seconds later.

Oh! Illegal knee from Yan drops Sterling. Yan launched the knee when he had Sterling down on one knee, pushing the challenger's head down. A 100 percent illegal knee, as Sterling's right knee was down when Yan blasted him with that knee. Sterling falls down, trying to get back up. The ref calls in a doctor to check on Sterling, who's laid out on his back. It's over, as it appears that Yan will be disqualified. Let's wait for the official word.

Yan-Sterling; Round 3

Both fighters exchange punches to the face. Yan launches a left and is looking to land something with worse intentions. Yan is defending Sterling's punches very well and takes down the challenger again. Sterling is up and Yan tags him with a left. Yan grazes Sterling with a kick off the clinch. Sterling seems to be fatiguing. (10-9 Yan, 29-28 Yan)

Yan-Sterling; Round 2

Sterling already on his back, with Yan looking down on the challenger. They're back up on their feet. Sterling is moving too quickly and fumbled a single-leg takedown just now. Yan, with his back against the cage, is putting his weight on him. Sterling is working on trying to get a takedown, but Yan is standing firm with his back against the Octagon. The champ sneaks in a strong knee. Sterling must be careful. Uppercut and right hand from Yan as well. Sterling tries to mount some offense on the feet with a kick to the body, a couple of jabs and a spinning backfist, but Yan defends all pretty well and takes the challenger down about 10 seconds before the bell. (10-9 Sterling, 19-19)

Yan-Sterling; Round 1

Sterling showing early pressure with side kicks and jabs. Sterling flicking the jab and sticks in a knee, backing the champ up. An assortment of offense from Sterling, who's showing a crazy pace early on. High knee from Sterling wobbles Yan. That hurt the champ, who takes cover. Yan drops Sterling with a thud with a solid right hand. Sterling shakes it off and gets back up, but clearly felt the champ's power there. Yan takes Sterling down moments later. The early offense from Sterling changed courtesy of Yan's power for the champ to take the round. (10-9 Yan)

Aljamain Sterling challenges bantamweight champ Petr Yan next

The first of three title bouts on the evening. Sterling has made his way into the Octagon and here comes the champion.

Makhachev makes Dober tap to arm triangle

After being overwhelmed on the ground for two full rounds, Dober taps to an arm triangle at 1:37 into the third round. Makhachev cinched it in tight, taking the air out of Dober and forcing the submission. 

Makhachev's takedowns were clinical, especially the inside-out trip he used to notch one in the second round and the bear hug he used to secure a takedown in the third. Makhachev says he's ready for anyone next. But is anyone ready for him? He's the real deal, especially with Khabib Nurmagomedov by his side.

 

Makhachev with another takedown

Dober has got to be exhausted, dealing with this kind of grappling force and pressure. He needs to strike as quickly as possible in the standup come round three because one more takedown, and it's over.

Makhachev already flexing superior grappling skills

It takes all but a minute for Makhachev to take Dober down. Let's see how Dober responds. He's feeling the pressure from Makhachev's elite grappling already. Makhachev is all over Dober on the ground. Serious, next level grappling, which almost delivered an armbar submission late in the first round.

Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober is up next

What's going to give when the stellar striking of Dober goes up against the all-around skills of Islam Makhachev in this lightweight matchup?

Aleksandar Rakić takes unanimous decision over Thiago Santos

Judges have it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, all in favor of Aleksandar Rakić. Though Rakić gets the win, he nor Santos took enough risks — if any at all. They showed each other a bit too much respect over three rounds. A two-way street of hesitation in the Octagon there. Rakić kept his distance with some stinging leg kicks but never capitalized even when he did damage with the attacks.

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