Israel Adesanya’s quest to become a dual-weight UFC champion saw the middleweight titleholder beaten for the first time in his MMA career, as he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Jan Blachowicz with the light heavyweight belt on the line in UFC 259’s main event.
In the first defence of his title in the 205lbs division, Poland’s Blachowicz (28-8) outpointed Adesanya (20-1) 49-46, 49-45, 49-45.
The main event at UFC’s Apex institute on Saturday night was a close, technical affair for the majority of its duration, before Blachowicz controlled his challenger on the canvas for much of the last two rounds.
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Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya – who was attempting to add his name to a list of dual-weight champions that includes only Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Henry Cejudo and Amanda Nunes – appeared to win the first and third rounds. The second frame was close, with two of the three judges awarding Blachowicz the final round by a 10-8 score.
In the evening’s co-main event, Nunes (21-4) successfully defended her women’s featherweight title against Megan Anderson (11-5), submitting her challenger with a reverse triangle armbar in the first round.
The result further cemented the Brazilian’s legacy as the consensus greatest women’s fighter of all time, also extending her win streak to 12 since her last loss in 2014.
The card’s third and final title fight ended in dramatic fashion as Petr Yan (15-2) lost his bantamweight title via disqualification after landing an intentional illegal knee on Aljamain Sterling (20-3).
A knee to an opponent who is grounded on at least one of their own knees – depending on respective commissions’ rules – counts as a foul. Yan, upon advice from his corner, threw his strike in the fourth round after being warned by referee Mark Smith that Sterling was grounded, and the official stopped the fight after consulting a doctor, with Sterling too hurt to continue.
The challenger immediately removed the bantamweight belt after UFC president Dana White wrapped it around the Jamaican-American’s waist.
Full UFC 259 results
Blachowicz def. Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45)
Nunes def. Anderson via first-round submission (reverse triangle armbar, 2:03)
Sterling def. Yan via fourth-round DQ (illegal knee, 4:29)
Makhachev def. Dober via third-round submission (arm-triangle choke, 1:37)
Rakic def. Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Kyler Phillips def. Song Yadong via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Kai Kara-France def. Rogerio Bontorin via first-round TKO (punches, 4:55)
Tim Elliott def. Jordan Espinosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Carlos Ulberg via second-round TKO (punches, 3:19)
Sean Brady def. Jake Matthews via third-round submission (arm-triangle choke, 3:28)
Amanda Lemos def. Livinha Souza via first-round TKO (punches, 3:29)
Uros Medic def. Aalon Cruz via first-round TKO (punches, 1:40)
Trevin Jones def. Mario Bautista via second-round TKO (punches, 0:40)