BROCKTON, MA – Former Kickboxing and current UFC middleweight champion Isreal Adesanya, 31, is finally making the long anticipated step up in weight to 205. He moves up to face a new challenge at a new weight on March 6, 2021 at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The title was vacated by Adesanya’s frequent twitter sparring partner Jon Jones after another casual masterclass and customary bender/retirement. A win over Dominck Reyes saw Jan Blachowicz, 38, pick up the vacant title Jon Jones dropped. With Adesanya making his highly anticipated step up in weight, the world wonders how the somewhat lanky kiwi will cope with fighting for a title against a bigger man.
Each man is coming off a fleet footed performance that saw their kicking game shine. Adesanya is coming off a win after demolishing Paulo Costa’s lead leg with low kicks. By the 2nd round Costa’s leg looked like it was covered in a zebra stripe pattern of shin bone bruises. Costa could barely walk before Adesanya finally took him out with his hands. Blachowicz posted and oddly similar performance to win his light heavyweight championship. The biggest difference being it was Blachowicz body kick that made Reyes ribs look like one of Ridley Scott’s Aliens left a chest burster in his liver. Reyes dropped his hands and the Pole put him out with a straight shot.
At 6’4” with an 80 inch reach Adesanya still has the height and reach advantage despite coming up in weight. Given his kickboxing pedigree Adesanya will look to maintain long range and counter from the outside. Use those spindly limbs to keep Jan out at distance and turning as Adesanya tries to pivot out. Not to discount Izzy’s ability to fight at any range, or in any capacity, but his ‘A’ game sits at arms length while striking.
This presents a few problems for Blachowicz but nothing he hasn’t seen before. The low leg kicks Adesanya was able to abuse against Costa in his most recent win, also gave Jan his biggest highlight to date. Corey Anderson walked himself onto Jan’s heavy right hand as he tried to hack at his lead leg. Anderson isn’t quite as lanky or crafty as Adesanya but Jan’s power isn’t up for discussion. Both men can be notoriously patient in looking for their opportunities, both are deadly when they find it.
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There’s other factors of course like whether Adesanya packs the same power at 205, or how he’ll fare with a bit less of a height advantage while fighting stronger men. It’s not impossible that Blachowicz is forced at some point to try and make the death walk through Isreal’s crisp striking. It’s also not impossible that Jan turns up the pressure in response to the reach and starts to grind Adesanya down. If that is the case we may be looking at another fight of the year like Izzy’s clash with Kelvin Gastelum. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Izzy’s plan, even at 205, is a kick to mouth before they get that close.