UFC 259 | Israel Adesanya vs Jan Blachowicz - Fight Breakdown

The biggest UFC fight card of the year takes place next week at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC 259 is stacked with three title fights and the main event being the light heavyweight champion vs middleweight champion.


Jan Blachowicz vs Israel “Stylebender” Adesanya.

Two high level strikers with contrasting styles that will be a very interesting matchup to watch. Before next Saturday’s card, let’s take a look at how this fight and breakdown how it might go.

We’ll first detail how the match came about and each fighter’s journey to this fight. Then we’ll list each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses and their keys to victory.

How did this fight come about?

All of these pieces seemed to align just right to make this champion vs champion match happen. Both divisions are in a strange place, where there were really no big contenders to challenge for the titles. Here is how we got to this place.

Israel Adesanya’s title reign

Stylebender Adesanya has been on one of the hottest streaks in MMA. He fought the best of the best in the middleweight division. Accepting every fight he was offered and looking to test his skills and prove he is one of the world’s best fighters.

Adesanya gained the title by stopping former champion Robert Whitaker in devastating fashion, earning his first UFC title. Though Stylebender was not satisfied and would look to further test his skills with another tough fight in his first title defense. Taking on longtime boogeyman of the middleweight division in Yoel Romero.

It was a scary fight to take on his first title defense, but Adesanya always looks for a challenge. Unfortunately styles make fights and it wasn’t the best performance by either fighter.

Since they are both counter fighters, the match was a stalemate as they waited for the other to make a move. Many fight analysts gave harsh criticism to both fighters and their performances.

Israel would make those critics forget about that performance in his next fight against Paulo Costa. It was a grudge match going into the fight as both fighters constantly hurled vicious insults leading to the fight.

Costa called Adesanya a BJJ white belt and looked to expose the champion. It wouldn’t turn out that way as the champion would pick the challenger apart. Ironically finishing Costa on the ground with strikes.

With no big contenders left in the middleweight division, Israel wanted to further test himself. He had always expressed interest in fighting at light heavyweight and finally got his chance against the reigning champion.

Jan the underdog champion

The Polish light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz is one of the most unlikely champions in UFC history. But after stringing together some big time wins along with Jon Jones stepping down, the opportunity was Jan’s to take.

In the 3 wins leading to the title match, Jan was a heavy underdog leading into the matches and ended up coming out on top. His first of these three wins was a devastating knockout of former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

Rockhold made the grave mistake of looking past Blachowicz and ended up knocked out cold with a broken jaw. Jan’s second win a row would be against world BJJ champ Jacare Souza edging out a split decision. Not as impressive as the win over Rockhold, but he was again the underdog and came out on top.

This led to a rematch with division standout Corey Anderson, who was again the betting favorite against Jan. Just like Rockhold did, Anderson made the critical error of overlooking the dangerous Polish striker.

Anderson would eat a straight right from Jan putting him out cold in the first round. Earning Blachowicz a title fight with his impressive performance.

Although it wouldn’t be against former champ Jon Jones as he dropped the belt and seemingly “retired.” Instead the pride of Poland would go up against former title contender Dominick Reyes.

In his first title match, Jan would find himself in the familiar, yet comfortable role as the underdog. Yet again, Jan would defy the odds and win his first UFC title with a 2nd round TKO.

With the 205lb division being like the 185lb division with no clear contenders, Jan was open to fighting the middleweight champ. Setting the stage for their showdown at UFC 259.

Fighter Strengths

Each fighter has some specific strengths and will look to use them to control and win the fight. Here are the strengths of each fighter starting with Adesanya.

Stylebender’s Strengths

  • Technical Striking: Israel is arguably the best technical striker in the world. In his 20 MMA fights, Styebender has dominated the striking in all of them with systematic precision. Landing a variety of combos at will.
  • Master of Range: No fighter can control the range in striking quite like Adesanya. He always keeps his opponents at the end of his punches and kicks without letting them on the inside.
  • Cage Control: Izzy is never not in control of the cage in his fights. Always putting his opponents exactly where he wants them to land his strikes.
  • Speed: Adesanya definitely has the speed advantage between the two. His ability to move and make angles make him extremely tricky to deal with.

Jan’s Strengths

  • KO Power: Jan is no slouch striking either delivering devastating KOs in 3 of his last 4 wins. He has the ability to KO any of his opponents at any time during the fight.
  • Well Rounded: It can be argued that Blachowicz is more well rounded than Israel. While he has recently been knocking out  most of his opponents, Jan has more wins by submission than KO. Showing that his grappling ability is just as good if not better than his striking.
  • Pressure: Blachowicz always brings the fight to his opponent. Always in their face and not giving them a second to breathe.
  • Heart: Jan’s heart is something you can’t teach. He defied the odds of losing 5 UFC fights to bounce back and became a champion. You cannot deny the light heavyweight champion’s will to win.

Fighter Weaknesses 

Now let’s take a look at the possible weak points of each fighter’s game.

Stylebender’s Weakness

  • Grappling: While Stylebender hasn’t shown that he has many weaknesses, one question mark many critics and fans point to is his grappling ability. He is a world class striker, but his grappling ability really hasn’t been tested in any of his UFC fights. 

  • Jan’s Weaknesses

    • Telegraphing Strikes: While Jan is a great striker, he has a tendency to telegraph his powerful strikes. Telegraphing too much against something with the striking ability of Adesanya could spell trouble for the pride of Poland.
    • Leaving Himself Open: Jan isn’t afraid to get into striking exchange, but he sometimes leaves himself open for a counter. Israel is a high level counter puncher and this could play into his game if Jan isn’t careful.

    Keys to Victory

    This is the biggest fight in the careers of these two champions. They will need to be at their best in order to get a career defining win at UFC 259. Here are the keys to victory for each fighter.

    Stylebender’s Keys to Victory

    • Control the Fight: Stylebender will need to control the range and pace of this fight. Jan is going to bring a fight to the middleweight champion much like Kelvin Gastelum tried to do. He’ll need to keep the Polish champion at the end of his strikes and keep him there.
    • Counter Strike: Izzy is a deadly counter striker and what he usually likes to do in his fights. Jan has a tendency to leave himself open during exchanges and when he does, Stylebender needs to land his counters.
    • Be Patient: Being patient is no problem for the middleweight champion, but it's a big key to winning this fight. Eventually Jan will leave himself open and when he does, Stylebender can land his strikes to end the fight.
    • Avoid Wild Exchanges: One of the only ways Israel can lose this fight is if he gets into a wild exchange with Blachowicz. Doing this will play right into the light heavyweight champions game, so Adesanya will need to keep his composure.

    Jan’s Keys to Victory

    • Pressure Stylebender: Kelvin Gastelum laid the blueprint to beat Stylebender. Although Gastelum lost, he severely damaged Adesanya’s face in the fight. If Jan can pressure the middleweight champion and land big strikes, he can walk out of the cage victorious.
    • Grappling/Wrestling: Jan has an underrated, but high level grappling game. Many feel that Adesanya’s grappling ability has yet to be tested during his MMA career. If he can mix his striking and land takedowns, then he has a good chance of winning this fight.
    • No Openings: Jan cannot leave himself open to be counter after he throws a combo. That plays right into Stylebender’s game and he’ll look yo finish Jan if he makes this mistake.
    • Be Perfect: Blachowicz is fighting the most talented fighter he has ever faced. He’s going to need to be perfect and have the performance of his career at UFC 259.

    Fight Prediction

    This is a very interesting fight to analyze. A high level technical striker vs a high level power striker has the makings to be a great fight.

    It’s tough to choose between the two since they are both great fighters and people. But when you match them up with one another it really seems like this fight favors Stylebender.

    Stylebender is the superior striker between the two by far and may be too technical for Jan. He is also a cage general that follows his game plan to a T.

    Adesanya never puts himself out of position or risks putting himself in danger blindly trying to take his opponent out. Blachowicz, while being well rounded and explosive doesn’t have the same composure as Izzy.

    Especially so now that he KO’d three of his last four fights in dramatic fashion. He could very well throw his game plan out the window to hunt the knockout and put himself in danger. A drastic mistake you cannot make against Stylebender.

    Izzy is going to be cerebral and patient until he gets the knockout. Even then if that opportunity never comes, he will still probably win a decisive decision by landing more strikes.

    A stoppage win by strikes for Izzy to become double champ is probably the most likely outcome of this fight.

    Recap

    The main event between these two champions at UFC 259 has the potential to be an all time great fight. Two fan favorite champions will battle it out to prove that they’re the P4P best in the world. Tune in on March 6th to see potentially the best card of the year headlined by two great champions.


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