Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will try to add the light heavyweight belt to his collection when he takes on reigning 205-pound title-holder Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 259 on Saturday.
Adesanya comes in as a clear favorite over Blachowicz, despite being the smaller fighter.
Fighters say size doesn’t matter
Adesanya (20-0) says that he has no plans to gain weight in order to come in near the 205-pound light heavyweight limit, and might be far lighter at Friday’s weigh-in.
“Safe flex, baby,” Adesanya said, via ESPN.com. “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.”
Adesanya normally fights at 185 pounds, where he’s run through every opponent the UFC has thrown at him. He told ESPN that he might be around 195 pounds when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday.
|Blachowicz vs. Adesanya Odds (via PointsBet)|
|Jan Blachowicz: +185||Israel Adesanya: -240|
|Method of Victory|
|Blachowicz by KO/TKO: +380||Adesanya by KO/TKO: +110|
|Blachowicz by Submission: +750||Adesanya by Submission: +2500|
|Blachowicz by Decision: +800||Adesanya by Decision: +220|
If that’s the case, Blachowicz (27-8) would almost certainly outweigh the challenger by a significant amount. While Blachowicz must weigh in under 205 pounds on Friday, he’ll likely weigh more than that by the time of the fight.
But the champion isn’t convinced that Adesanya will really give up that much size come Saturday.
“I don’t believe in this thing,” Blachowicz told MMA Fighting. “I focus on me, on my preparation, on my camp. I train with faster, lighter guys, I train with guys from my category. I also train with heavyweight guys. Because we will see on the day, one day before the fight, and fight day his size, and then we’re going to be ready for everything.”
Adesanya favored over powerhouse Blachowicz
Regardless of Adesanya’s weight, Blachowicz says his own size and power will present the middleweight champion with a new challenge to overcome.
“He’s going to feel something different than he’s felt before,” Blachowicz said. “Because at 205, everything is different. Power is different. Speed is different … This is good for me. 205 is my category. I do this all my life.”
Adesanya enters as a -240 favorite over Blachowicz (+185), according to PointsBet. Most see this fight as a battle of speed vs. power, and with nobody having solved the “The Last Stylebender” just yet, Blachowicz may be reliant on stopping Adesanya cold if he wants to hold on to his title.
Adesanya doesn’t see that happening. In fact, the Nigerian wants to go beyond the realm of the light heavyweight ranks. He’s eying a heavyweight crown too, perhaps in a super-fight against the legendary Jon Jones.
“I’ve been thinking about moving up just to show off,” Adesanya said on the UFC 259 Countdown show. “I’ve done it in kickboxing, I moved up to heavyweight. I’ve done it in boxing when I was a boxer, and moved up and fought a world-class heavyweight. So it just has to happen in MMA. What I’m expecting is myself to be my best. [Blachowicz] is not sharper than me. I expect to finish him.”