Israel Adesanya has been practically flawless throughout his career inside mixed martial arts (MMA) enclosures. In 22 fights, Adesanya has only lost once.
Indeed, 2021 started off on the wrong foot for the current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion as he tested himself up in weight at 205 pounds. Colliding with the then-titleholder at Light Heavyweight, Poland’s Jan Blachowicz, Adesanya would come up short on the wrong end of a unanimous decision (watch highlights).
The later rounds saw Blachowicz utilize his wrestling abilities to get “The Last Stylebender” to the ground and secure a victory. When looking back on it, Adesanya feels it was obvious who was the more lethal that night.
“Where in that fight did I actually get hurt?” Adesanya asked when speaking to ESPN (h/t MMA Junkie). “I mean, he beat me, you know — guaranteed. I know some people don’t agree, but I think he just beat me. But, where in that fight did I actually get hurt? I never felt in danger once in that fight. He was in danger because I rocked him. He even admitted it and he felt my power. But where in that fight was that actually hurt? I never felt in danger once.”
Adesanya and Blachowicz have had opposite results since their UFC 259 headliner in March 2021. Blachowicz would drop his title to Glover Teixeira, while Adesanya successfully defended his Middleweight strap for the third time in a rematch with Marvin Vettori.
UFC 271 goes down this Saturday night (Feb. 12, 2022) in Houston, Texas, hosting another Adesanya rematch as he looks to fend off Robert Whittaker. Adesanya took the belt from Whittaker in Oct. 2019 at UFC 243 in what was the most attended UFC event in promotional history, as 57,127 fans filled the arena (watch highlights).
In Whittaker’s recent victories, he’s incorporated a bit more of his grappling game into the mix. Thus leading many to question if he’ll try and replicate what Blachowicz was able to do against the Nigeria native.
“If that’s what he (Whittaker) wants to do to try and win the fight, try,” Adesanya said. “If he’s 225 pounds, but try — and he’s never felt me grapple. Everyone that’s felt me grapple, they know I’ve got that strength. But once they feel it, it’s different because of the frame. They look at me and think, ‘Oh, skinny boy, no power.’ But they find out.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 271 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV. Bet on UFC 271 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
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