The clash of champions
In what could be the card of the year we head back to Las Vegas for UFC® 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya. There are three title fights on the main card, the first being between light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Coming into this one winning eight of his last nine bouts, Blachowicz may be facing his greatest UFC challenge yet. In his last bout, he stopped Dominick Reyes via strikes in the second round to claim the vacant UFC light heavyweight title, the first title of his professional 14-year career so far. He is versatile in his playing style, winning eight bouts by KO and nine by submission, his favoured grapple being the rear-naked choke, with which he has finished four opponents. He will need to be at the top of his game to win this title bout.
After an incredible 9-0 start to his career in the UFC and a 20-0 start to his professional career, Adesanya has made the move up a weight class and will be competing in his first light heavyweight bout. 15 of his 20 career wins have come via knockout, six of those were first-round finishes. Since unifying himself as middleweight champion, ‘The Last Stylebender’ won by unanimous decision against Yoel Romero and more recently was victorious over Paolo Costa, stopping him via strikes in the second round. He is the No.3 ranked man in the UFC pound-for-pound but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his momentum after moving up a weight class.
CHAMPION vs. CHAMPION: JAN BLACHOWICZ LOOKS TO SECURE HIS FIRST LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE DEFENSE AGAINST MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION ISRAEL ADESANYA
- Jan Blachowicz (27-8, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland) aims to kick off his light heavyweight championship reign by becoming the first fighter to defeat Israel Adesanya
- UFC light heavyweight champion
- No. 14 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter
- Nine wins by submission, eight via KO
- On a four-fight win streak
- Holds KO wins against Corey Anderson, Luke Rockhold and Ilir Latifi
- Israel Adesanya (20-0, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Lagos, Nigeria) looks to become only the fifth fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two UFC weight classes
- UFC middleweight champion
- No. 3 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter
- 15 wins by KO
- Undefeated in professional MMA career
- Holds wins over Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, and Kevin Gastelum
The roar of the Lioness
The co-main event sees another title defence, this time in the featherweight division as two powerhouses of the division face off.
Winning 13 of her last 14 bouts, Amanda Nunes finds herself as the no.1 rated female athlete in the UFC pound-for-pound. Nunes has recorded 13 wins by KO in her career as well as three via submission, finishing 13 opponents in the first round of bouts. ‘The Lioness’ has six career title defences so far, but this is only the second time she is defending her featherweight title. In her last bout, she triumphed over Felicia Spencer by unanimous decision.
On the back of two wins, Megan Anderson comes into this bout off the back of two first-round finishes, defeating Zarah Fairn by submission and, more recently, Norma Dumont by KO. The former Invicta FC featherweight champion has won seven of her last nine bouts and in her career so far has finished nine times in her 11 professional victories. Three of these finishes were in the UFC, which is the most in UFC featherweight history. Her opponent is on an 11-bout win streak, so Anderson will need to utilise her 3” reach advantage to give herself the best chance to win the title.
THE GOAT RETURNS: TWO-DIVISION CHAMPION AMANDA NUNES DEFENDS HER FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE AGAINST TOP CONTENDER MEGAN ANDERSON
- Amanda Nunes (20-4, fighting out of Coral Springs, Fla. by way of Bahia, Brazil) looks to continue building her legacy by claiming her seventh total UFC title defence
- UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight champion
- No. 1 UFC women’s pound-for-pound fighter
- 13 wins by KO, three via submission
- On an 11-fight win streak
- Holds wins over former UFC champions Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg and Miesha Tate
- Megan Anderson (11-4, fighting out of Kansas City, Mo. by way of Gold Coast, Australia) looks to achieve her dream of UFC gold by defeating the greatest women’s fighter of all time
- Former Invicta FC featherweight champion
- Five wins by knockout, three via submission
- Six first-round finishes
- Has won seven of last nine bouts
- Holds victories over Cat Zingano, Norma Dumont and Zarah Fairn
Title bout could get funky
The third title clash of this card sees the bantamweight title on the line as these two in-form athletes clash.
On a 10-game win streak, including a 7-0 start to his UFC career, Petr Yan looks near unstoppable. He is on the highest win streak in UFC bantamweight history and has been dominant whilst doing it, having a +3.07 significant strike rate per minute over his opponents. He has recorded seven KO victories in his career and will be looking for another one this weekend. Yan has only had one defeat in his professional career, against Magomed Magomedov, which he went on to avenge a year later.
Another athlete looking at the top of his game, Aljamain Sterling has won five straight and has seven wins in his last eight. He is a submission master, recording eight wins by submission, his speciality being rear-naked choke, which he has used to win five bouts. The ‘Funk Master’ has the fourth-most wins in bantamweight with 10, and like his opponent has been known to dominate his bouts, boasting a +2.82 significant strike per minute over his opponents, tied for third-best in bantamweight history. With two players looking to dominate the bout, this could go either way.
BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE: PETR YAN GOES FOR HIS FIRST BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE DEFENSE AGAINST SUBMISSION ACE ALJAMAIN STERLING
- Petr Yan (15-1, fighting out of Yekaterinburg, Russia) has his sights on another highlight-reel finish to secure his first title defence
- UFC bantamweight champion
- No. 10 ranked men’s pound-for-pound
- Seven wins by KO, one by submission
- On a 10-fight win streak
- Holds wins over Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, Douglas Silva de Andrade and Teruto Ishihara
- Aljamain Sterling (19-3, fighting out of Uniondale, N.Y.) hopes to make the most of his first title shot by capturing UFC gold
- No. 1 ranked UFC bantamweight contender
- Eight wins by submission, two via KO
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former NCAA Division III wrestling standout
- On a five-fight win streak
- Holds victories over Cory Sandhagen, Cody Stamann, Johnny Eduardo and Takeya Mizugaki
OTHER FIGHTS ON THE CARD INCLUDE
- No. 14 ranked lightweight contender Islam Makhachev (18-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) looks to defend his spot on the 155-ladder when he takes on dangerous finisher Drew Dober (23-9 1NC, fighting out of Denver, Colo.)
- Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger and No. 2 ranked contender Thiago Santos (21-8, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) locks horns with No. 4 Aleksandar Rakic (13-2, fighting out of Vienna, Austria)
- Former UFC bantamweight champion and No. 11 ranked contenders Dominick Cruz (22-3, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.) looks to stop the momentum of surging Casey Kenney (16-2-1, fighting out of Tucson, Ariz.)
- No. 14 ranked bantamweight contender Song Yadong (16-4-1 1NC, fighting out of Heilongjiang, China) aims to push his unbeaten streak to 10 bouts when he faces The Ultimate Fighter season 27 veteran Kyler Phillips (8-1, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.)
- Former UFC flyweight title challenger and No. 2 ranked contender Joseph Benavidez (28-7, fighting out of Las Cruces, N.M.) squares off with undefeated No. 3 Askar Askarov (12-0-1, fighting out of Khasavyurt, Dagestan, Russia)
- Rogerio Bontorin (16-2 1NC, fighting out of Colombo, Parana, Brazil) meets Kai Kara-France (21-9 1NC, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand) in a clash of No. 8 ranked flyweight contenders
- No. 12 ranked flyweight contender Timothy Elliott (17-11-1, fighting out of Lee’s Summit, Mo.) goes for another show-stealing performance against Jordan Espinosa (15-8 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) takes on unbeaten newcomer Carlos Ulberg (5-0, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand) in an exciting light heavyweight bout
- Sean Brady (13-0, fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.) faces Jake Matthews (17-4, fighting out of Epping, Victoria, Australia) in what promises to be an entertaining welterweight bout
- No. 15 ranked women’s strawweight contender Livinha Souza (12-4, fighting out of Araraquara, State of São Paulo, Brazil) takes on rising prospect Amanda Lemos (8-1-1, fighting out of Para, Brazil)
- Dana White’s Contender Series signees collide when Uros Medic (6-0, fighting out of Anchorage, Alaska by way of Novi Sad, Serbia) meets Aalon Cruz (8-3, fighting out of Tampa, Fla.) at lightweight
- Mario Bautista (8-1, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) steps in to face Trevin Jones (12-6 1NC, fighting out of Maite, Guam) at bantamweight