Official result: Jan Blachowicz def. Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45). Blachowicz retains the title in a big upset!
UFC 259 results, highlights: Jan Blachowicz upsets Israel Adesanya to retain light heavyweight title
Blachowicz was a betting underdog against the rising champion Adesanya on Saturday as he held on to his 205-pound title
Jan Blachowicz has been doubted at every turn on his rise to becoming the light heavyweight champion, and it continued ahead of his first title defense on Saturday. But once again, Blachowicz defied the odds and retained his championship in the main event of UFC 259 with a win over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the Kiwi's bid to become a two-division champion.
Blachowicz and Adesanya fought a tense first three rounds, with both men looking to minimize mistakes and make the other pay. While Adesanya was the better technical striker, as expected, Blachowicz continued to throw punches and kicks with the former high-level kickboxing standout.
The feints of Adesanya seemed to trouble Blachowicz as much as any landed strikes. In fact, Blachowicz outlanded Adesanya in total strikes in every round of the fight according to the UFC's official stats.
While Blachowicz teased some grappling in the first three rounds, he was unable to take Adesanya down for any meaningful amount of time. It was in the championship rounds that Blachowicz showed off his bona fides, finally using his size and strength advantage to take down Adesanya and grind away with ground and pound.
A taste of the power from @JanBlachowicz! 💥 #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/0VV3HGb6rR— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
Piling away the points in those big closing rounds allowed Blachowicz to pull away on the scorecards, earning the victory by scores of 49-46, 49-45 and 49-45. Two of the three judges gave Blachowicz a 10-8 round in Round 5, rewarding him for dominant ground work, including closing the fight in mount and dropping heavy punches to the face of the middleweight champ.
"I thought that he would be a little bit faster, but he don't hit so hard," Blachowicz said following his victory. "He was slower, but he hit harder, this was something I don't expect. I should do my left hand a little bit more, I should do more jabs, put more pressure on him. But game plan is one, and fight is second, a different thing."
As for what's next for the champion? Blachowicz believes the next man up should be veteran light heavyweight Glover Teixeira.
"I think [Teixeira] deserves it," Blachowicz said. "He'll have to wait a little bit, so I can rest and be with my family. But he will wait, he will be next."
In defeat, Adesanya was respectful of Blachowicz, acknowledging the night was "like a bad day at the gym."
"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."
Adesanya said he would eventually return to the light heavyweight division. First, however, will come a return to the middleweight division to defend his belt.
"I rule them with an iron black fist," Adesanya said. "I'm going to go back down and handle business. If you want to get off the hype train, get the f--- off the hype train. We're just stopping for gas. If you want to stay on, I promise I'll make you proud."
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Blachowicz is now 9-4 in his UFC career when competing as an underdog, and he entered the Octagon as an underdog in his three most recent fights, including winning the vacant championship against Dominick Reyes.
"Now I think I deserve full respect," Blachowicz said of any doubters of his place in the sport. "I was the true champion before and I am the true champion now."
The rest of the PPV saw some interesting storylines emerge as well. Amanda Nunes made light work of top featherweight challenger Megan Anderson with a thorough dismantling of her opponent in just one round. Nunes dropped her taller foe before locking up and armbar submission to retain her title and extend her winning streak to 11. But the most-talked about result came from the men's bantamweight title fight where Petr Yan delivered an illegal knee to a downed Aljamain Sterling and was disqualified when his opponent was unable to continue. Sterling was awarded the 135-pound title despite being down on two of the three judges' scorecards heading into the fourth round.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 259 below.
UFC 259 card and results
- Jan Blachowicz (c) def. Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45)
- Amanda Nunes (c) def. Megan Anderson via first-round submission (armbar)
- Aljamain Sterling (c) def. Petr Yan via DQ in the fourth round (illegal knee)
- Islam Makhachev def. Drew Dober via third-round submission (arm triangle)
- Aleksandar Rakic def. Thiago Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Kyler Phillips def. Song Yadong via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Kai Kara-France def. Rogerio Bontorin via first-round TKO (punch)
WE NEED THOSE SCORECARDS ASAP 📝 #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/reG8UG0QD3— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
Blachowicz passed to half guard as Adesanya tried to scoot back to the cage. Blachowicz just kept throwing short punches while Adesanya couldn't find an escape. Blachowicz exploded with big strikes at the end of the fight, passing to mount. Big round and a great finish for the light heavyweight champ. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Blachowicz (48-47 Adesanya)
MASSIVE!— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
🇵🇱 @JanBlachowicz puts himself in position to secure the final round. #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/k5Q7CjdHad
Adesanya connected with a spinning back kick to the body and Blachowicz returned with a right hand. Blachowicz ducked under an Adesanya punch for a big double-leg takedown to put the fight back on the floor.
Light Heavyweight Championship -- Jan Blachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya -- Round 5: Adesanya landed leg kicks early and Blachowicz returned the favor. Blachowicz landed a sharp jab and missed with a sweeping hook. Blachowicz again landed a good jab. Adesanya came over the top landing a right hand with Blachowicz seeming to be fatiguing badly.
The round came to a close with Blachowicz still on top. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Blachowicz (39-37 Adesanya)
Blachowicz advanced to half guard, starting to work some punches from top position. Blachowicz remained heavy on top, keeping Adesanya from escaping back to his feet. Blachowicz advanced to side control and landed some good punches.
Blachowicz continued landing a few more punches, having his best stretch of the fight. Adesanya landed a nice right hand and then a left elbow, leading Blachowicz to drive forward and score a big takedown.
A taste of the power from @JanBlachowicz! 💥 #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/0VV3HGb6rR— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
Light Heavyweight Championship -- Jan Blachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya -- Round 4: Adesanya landed a few punches early and Blachowicz drove forward, trying to attack the legs for a takedown. Adesanya managed to escape, but did eat a right hand on the way out and Blachowicz followed up with another big right hand and a few good jabs.
Blachowicz landed a heavy jab and then a good left hook as Adesanya came forward. Blachowicz again clinched up and drove Adesanya into the cage. Adesanya was able to escape from the position without being taken down yet again. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Adesanya (30-27 Adesanya)
Adesanya landed a heavy kick to the body and Blachowicz clinched up. Adesanya drilled Blachowicz with punches to the side of the head to force the break. Blachowicz missed a head kick and ate a few hard, straight punches from Adesanya, snapping the head back.
Left hook landed for @stylebender 💥 #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/ZDOSUblXRO— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 7, 2021
The light heavyweight champ @JanBlachowicz with a nice sequence of his own 💪 @espnmma #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/vx0vzreJdK— ESPN (@espn) March 7, 2021
Light Heavyweight Championship -- Jan Blachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya -- Round 3: Blachowicz managed to land a good left hook and charged forward with a series of punches before scoring a takedown. Blachowicz nearly scored a rear-naked choke but Adesanya escaped and they traded big shots with Adesanya buzzing Blachowicz visibly.
Blachowicz threw a flying knee that missed but continued into a good body kick. Blachowicz nearly landed a big right but Adesanya closed the round with a few more leg kicks. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Adesanya (20-18 Adesanya)
Blachowicz landed a body kick and Adesanya threw a body shot. An Adesanya kick landed to the cup of Blachowicz, leading to a brief break in the action.
Adesanya slipped to the canvas after a missed head kick but got to his feet without any danger. Adesanya continued throwing to the legs but Blachowicz clinched and nearly got the fight to the ground before Adesanya broke free.
Light Heavyweight Championship -- Jan Blachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya -- Round 2: Adesanya opened with more feints, as he poked with a few punches and landed a leg kick while Blachowicz missed with some punches. Blachowicz got in a slight right hand but it had no effect. Adesanya landed a good left hand but Blachowicz landed a right hand and a good kick to the body. Adesanya missed with another head kick and then landed to the legs.
Adesanya landed again to the legs after missing another head kick. A slow round comes to an end with neither man making a big statement beyond Adesanya making it clear that his feints may dictate how the fight plays out. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Adesanya.
Blachowicz threw his own head kick, which Adesanya blocked. Both men continued throwing leg kicks, but Blachowicz started to mix in some kicks to the body. Adesanya landed his own front kick to the body, working off feints and trying to throw off Blachowicz's timing.
Adesanya again threw a leg kick and then went high with a head kick that Blachowicz picked off with his gloves. Blachowicz missed with a left hook. The pace remained slow, with both men being cautious early, feeling each other out. Adesanya went back to the head kick, but it was blocked again.
Light Heavyweight Championship -- Jan Blachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya -- Round 1: Adesanya switched stances immediately and landed a leg kick before avoiding a kick in return from Blachowicz. Blachowicz landed a leg kick moments later and poked with a jab to the body.
Both fighters are in the octagon. Introductions are done and it's main event time! Five rounds. Light heavyweight championship. Champion vs. champion.
No elaborate entrance for Adesanya. He takes a very straightforward walk to the Octagon for the biggest fight of his career, one that could define his legacy.
Up next, it's the main event. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya vs. light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz for Blachowicz's 205-pound title.
Introducing the mom champ 🏆🏆 #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/1khcVXiQSv— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
ONE FOR EACH SHOULDER 🏆🏆 @Amanda_Leoa #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/clzFXZOfGk— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
GOAT STATUS.— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
🏆🏆 @Amanda_Leoa didn't need long! #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/LADS0snV0b