Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Israel Adesanya will get his chance to become a two-division UFC champion in March.
UFC officials on Wednesday confirmed to MMA Fighting a plan to have Adesanya, the current middleweight champion, jump up to 205 pounds to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259. ESPN initially reported the news.
UFC 259 takes place March 6 at a location and venue yet to be announced and airs live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Blachowicz attempts his first title defense after capturing the vacant title with a second-round finish of Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. After losing four of five between April 2015 and April 2017, Blachowicz has gone 8-1 in his past nine appearances and has won four straight. The 37-year-old also holds stoppage wins over Corey Anderson and Luke Rockhold on the road to his first UFC title.
UFC middleweight champ Adesanya is undefeated in 20 pro fights, including nine straight in the octagon. “The Last Stylebender” captured the interim middleweight title with a unanimous decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in one of the best fights of 2019. The City Kickboxing standout became the undisputed champion when he put away Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout at UFC UFC 243.
The 31-year-old defended his title successfully in a pair of 2020 appearances, defeating Yoel Romero via unanimous decision and then finishing Paulo Costa in a masterful performance at UFC 253.