Israel Adesanya will set out to do what only a few fighters have ever done before this Sunday at UFC 259 and that is to hold two UFC Championships simultaneously. To do this, however, he has to overcome a rise in weight and the most improved fighter of 2020, Jan Blachowicz. Here is The Wolf’s Jan Blachowicz v Israel Adesanya preview.
Blachowicz started off in the UFC back in 2014, losing four of his first six fights. Looking back on it, he has to consider himself lucky that he wasn’t cut from the roster. Since then, however, he has gone on a tear through the Light Heavyweight division, winning eight of his next nine fights. He most recently won the UFC 205lb belt by knocking out Dominick Reyes, who arguably gave light heavyweight GOAT Jon Jones his toughest ever fight.
The Nigerian born (but New Zealand raised) Adesanya has taken the UFC by storm since arriving in 2018. Possessing a kickboxing record of 75-5, he has well and truly lived up to the hype that surrounded him from day dot. He is as eccentric and brash as he is skilled, which has done nothing but raise his profile in the UFC even more. In his last three fights, he has taken out the best that the 185lb division has to offer, becoming champion after knocking Robert Whittaker out in Melbourne at UFC 243, then besting both Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa in his last two.
The Wolf is shocked at how short Izzy has come up here. Not only is he moving up a full weight class (and in this instance, it is 20lb) but he is up against a fighter who has similar reach (Israel clocks in at 80” whereas Jan has 78”). The Wolf thinks this could prove to be a huge factor in the fight, where Adesanya has traditionally kept his opponents at bay with his long limbs, throwing flashy kicks and then moving in and out of the pocket with ferocious punches. He may not be able to do that against Blachowicz, who is not only long but a very big 205-pounder.
Blachowicz has shown in recent times that he possesses serious power in his hands, finishing three of his last four wins by knockout. Now, standing up with Adesanya might not be the smartest idea for most fighters but The Wolf believes that he has the tools to get it done. Blachowicz main chances will lie in being able to close the distance against Izzy, neutralising his offence and pushing him up the cage. He should be able to do that, considering he is likely going to hold at least a 10lb weight advantage over him after they have weighed in.
If Jan can grind his opponent out for a few rounds and tire him out, it may not be too long before he lands one of his power strikes and puts him down for the count. At the current price, Blachowicz looks a great bet.