Three title fights featuring four champions who hold five belts top the card at Saturday night’s loaded UFC 259 in Las Vegas.
The main event is a champion vs. champion superfight, as undefeated middleweight king Israel Adesanya (20-0) of New Zealand goes up in weight and challenges newly crowned light heavyweight titleholder Jan Blachowicz (27-8) of Poland.
While Blachowicz must cut a good amount of weight to reach the 205-pound limit, Adesanya — who is hardly the biggest middleweight and relies on cat-like reflexes and a next-generation striking game — said he did not go out of his way to add significant weight for the bout.
“Same flex, baby,” Adesanya told ESPN. “Same thing. It’s just silly to me when people go and decide to add more muscles to their frame that they’re not used to over the years working this game.”
It’s unusual for a fighter who hasn’t yet cleaned out his division to challenge for a second belt, but Adesanya lobbied for and received the fight the against Blachowicz, who is making his first title defense. A win would make Adesanya the fifth fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold two weight-class belts, joining Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo.
In the co-feature bout, Brazil’s Nunes (20-4), the women’s featherweight and bantamweight titleholder, puts the former belt on the line against Australia’s Megan Anderson (11-4). Of the four UFC “champ-champs,” Nunes, who has reigned at bantamweight since 2016 and featherweight since 2018, is the only competitor who successfully went on to defend both belts. She’s won 11 straight fights, with seven finishes in that span.
Also on the card is an intriguing bantamweight title fight, as Russia’s Petr Yan (15-1) makes this first defense of his 135-pound belt against Long Island, N.Y.’s Aljamain Sterling (19-3). Yan brings a 10-fight win streak, which includes four finishes in his seven UFC fights, into the bout. Sterling has won five in a row and seven of eight.
–Field Level Media