- Date & Location: Saturday March 6 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas
- Odds: Jan Blachowicz (+215) vs. Israel Adesanya (-275) via Bovada
- Prediction: Adesanya via decision
On Saturday, March 6, the UFC presents a packed fight card. UFC 259, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, features three title fights at the top of the card. In the main event of the ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view event, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moves up to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz for his 205-pound title belt.
Adesanya is unbeaten as a pro-MMA fighter. He won his 20th career fight in September when he scored a second-round TKO win over Paulo Costa. That stoppage win was his second defense of the UFC middleweight crown. Adesanya joined the UFC in February 2018. His record with the promotion is 9-0.
Blachowicz claimed the vacant UFC light heavyweight crown in September when he knocked out Dominick Reyes in the second round of their matchup. Blachowicz has a career record of 27-8. He joined the UFC in 2014. Blachowicz had a rough start with the promotion, opening his UFC run with a 2-4 record. Since October 2017, he is 8-1 and on a four-fight winning streak.
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BLACHOWICZ vs. ADESANYA ODDS
BLACHOWICZ vs. ADESANYA PREDICTION & PICK
First, let’s address the size issue. Yes, Blachowicz competes at light heavyweight, but he gives up both height and reach to Adesanya. The New Zealand-based fighter is two inches taller and has a two-inch reach advantage over his Polish opponent, so size won’t come into play in this fight.
Blachowicz might not have a size advantage, but he will have the edge in power. He hits harder than Adesanya and will surely be the heavier man on fight night, as the lean and lanky Adesanya has said he will not bulk up for this contest.
I don’t think power will play all that large a part in this contest. Adesanya, who had a very active professional kickboxing career before he fully transitioned to MMA, is one of the best technical strikers in the UFC today. His management of time, space and angles in both his offense and defense is otherworldly. When you add the game planning and coaching skills of Eugene Bareman to the equation, Adesanya, as his perfect record reflects, has looked unstoppable during his MMA career.
Prediction: Adesanya -270 via BetOnline.
BETTING VALUE WITH ADESANYA
Blachowicz is a solid defensive fighter. He doesn’t put himself in bad spots often and he shouldn’t have problems dealing with Adesanya’s power as he has fought heavier hitters in the past. Since 2017, Blachowicz’s only loss was a third-round TKO at the hands of Thiago Santos, who is one of the more powerful fighters in the UFC. Other than that, his only other TKO setback came in 2011 via a leg injury. I feel confident Blachowicz can make it through this five-round fight without a knockout loss. However, I don’t see a way for him to win other than a defensive error from Adesanya, and with his unbeaten record, I don’t see Adesanya making a mistake in this contest.
Adesanya has 15 knockouts, but he seems to score those against fighters who rush in and leave their chins exposed. With that knowledge, I expect Blachowicz to be sound defensively. I also think the lack of a crowd will allow Blachowicz to fight more patiently.
I feel Adesanya becomes a two-division champion via decision in this contest.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Adesanya’s skill set puts him above most UFC fighters in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He can control where the fight takes place thanks to his kickboxing technique and he can control the pace of the fight as well because his opponents need to stay vigilant because he can throw strikes with his hands, knees and kicks from any position with incredible speed. Blachowicz has an edge in power, but Adesanya’s defensive ability to avoid strikes and his ability to roll with strikes when he gets tagged should negate any edge his foe has in those departments.
FIGHT STATS: BLACHOWICZ vs. ADESANYA
|Jan Blachowicz||Category||Israel Adesanya|
|3.49||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.10|
|2.74||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.33|
|1.10||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.00|
|0.20||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.30|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Adesanya is fighting to become the rare fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time. If he is successful, he’ll join Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Henry Cejudo, and Amanda Nunes in that select group. For Blachowicz, this is his first attempted defense of the UFC light heavyweight crown, there’s no way he wants to lose that belt, especially to a middleweight.
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