UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya says that UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz beat him fair and square at UFC 259.
Adesanya lost a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards in a failed bid to become the new champ at 205lbs. The judges scored the fight 49-46, 49-45, and 49-45 in favor of Blachowicz, who successfully defended his light heavyweight belt for the first time. However, there was a lot of discussion about the scorecards afterward. Some thought that Adesanya deserved to get the nod, and UFC analyst Daniel Cormier was criticized for pushing the narrative that he was winning the first few rounds of the fight. Adesanya, however, doesn’t see it that way. Even though he’d love to be the 205lbs champ, he admits he lost the fight.
Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Adesanya said that he agreed with the judges’ decision. In his opinion, he won the first and third rounds, but he would give Blachowicz the second round, the fourth round, and the fifth round, resulting in a 48-47 Blachowicz scorecard.
“Nope, hell no. He won the fight. I’m not disputing that. He won the fight. He won it through crafty veteranship. He played the game very well. It’s chess, not checkers, so I’d give it to him. He won the fight and I didn’t underestimate him. I gave him full respect after the fight and he gave me full respect after the fight, saying that I hit a lot harder than people think,” Adesanya said.
“I had it 2-2 going into the fifth. I took round one, I’ll give him round two, I took round three quite easily. Then he realized what was happening from there. He was tired, he knew he couldn’t sustain that (striking) output, so he knew, ‘Ok, I gotta take him down.’ He did it at the right time as well, which is something I need to fix.”
While “The Last Stylebender” admits that he lost the fight fair and square, he doesn’t agree with the two judges who gave 10-8 rounds to Blachowicz in the fifth. In Adesanya’s view, someone such as Tim Elliott, who controlled Jordan Espinosa in a flyweight bout on the undercard and dominated him on the ground, deserved to get a 10-8 round. But Blachowicz, in Adesanya’s view, only had 10-9 rounds. Either way, Adesanya admits he lost the fight on points.
“Those 10-8 rounds, man. I don’t know understand what these judges are watching. Tim Elliott’s fight, that last round was a 10-8 or even a 10-7 if I really want to use the 10-9 must system, because he controlled the fight for 4:59 seconds of the round,” Adesanya said.
“If you control the fight for three minutes (like Blachowicz did), and you didn’t do damage, I don’t think that’s a 10-8. It was only until the last 10 seconds I was like, ‘Oh, clapper’s on.’ I shouldn’t have let him pass my guard. But I’m still here, I’m still pretty. I didn’t take any damage in the fight.”
How did you score the Israel Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz fight at UFC 259?