The clash of champions
In what could be the card of the year we head back to Las Vegas for UFC® 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya. There are three title fights on the main card, the first being between light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Coming into this one winning eight of his last nine bouts, Blachowicz may be facing his greatest UFC challenge yet. In his last bout he stopped Dominick Reyes via strikes in the second round to claim the vacant UFC light heavyweight title, the first title of his professional 14-year career so far. He is versatile in his playing style, winning eight bouts by KO and nine by submission, his favoured grapple being the rear naked choke, with which he has finished four opponents. He will need to be at the top of his game to win this title bout.
After an incredible 9-0 start to his career in the UFC, and a 20-0 start to his professional career, Adesanya has made the move up weightclass and will be competing in his first light heavyweight bout. 15 of his 20 career wins have come via knockout, six of those were first round finishes. Since unifying himself as middleweight champion, ‘The Last Stylebender’ won by unanimous decision against Yoel Romero and more recently was victorious over Paolo Costa, stopping him via strikes in the second round. He is the No.3 ranked man in the UFC pound-for-pound but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his momentum after moving up a weight class.
The roar of the Lioness
The co-main event sees another title defence, this time in the featherweight division as two powerhouses of the division face off.
Winning 13 of her last 14 bouts, Amanda Nunes finds herself as the no.1 rated female athlete in the UFC pound-for-pound. Nunes has recorded 13 wins by KO in her career as well as three via submission, finishing 13 opponents in the first round of bouts. ‘The Lioness’ has six career title defences so far, but this is only the second time she is defending her featherweight title. In her last bout she triumphed over Felicia Spencer by unanimous decision.
On the back of two wins, Megan Anderson comes into this bout off the back of two first round finishes, defeating Zarah Fairn by submission and, more recently, Norma Dumont by KO. The former Invicta FC featherweight champion has won seven of her last nine bouts and in her career so far has finished nine times in her 11 professional victories. Three of these finishes were in the UFC, which is the most in UFC featherweight history. Her opponent is on an 11-bout win streak, so Anderson will need to utilise her 3” reach advantage to give herself the best chance to win the title.
Title bout could get funky
The third title clash of this card sees the bantamweight title on the line as these two in-form athletes clash.
On a 10-game win streak, including a 7-0 start to his UFC career, Petr Yan looks near unstoppable. He is on the highest win streak in UFC bantamweight history and has been dominant whilst doing it, having a +3.07 significant strike rate per minute over his opponents. He has recorded seven KO victories in his career and will be looking for another one this weekend. Yan has only had one defeat in his professional career, against Magomed Magomedov, which he went on to avenge a year later.
Another athlete looking at the top of his game, Aljamain Sterling has won five straight and has seven wins in his last eight. He is a submission master, recording eight wins by submission, his speciality being rear naked choke, which he has used to win five bouts. The ‘Funk Master’ has the fourth most wins in bantamweight with 10, and like his opponent has been known to dominate his bouts, boasting a +2.82 significant strike per minute over his opponents, tied for third best in bantamweight history. With two players looking to dominate the bout this could go either way.