Jan Blachowicz was the headline winner at UFC 259, successfully defending his light heavyweight championship belt after defeating middleweight champion Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision.
The action at UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Sunday morning also saw the greatest female fighter in mixed martial arts history, Amanda Nunes, successfully defend her featherweight belt against Megan Anderson. Bantamweight champion Petr Yan lost to Aljamain Sterling in four rounds.
Blachowicz said: “For sure it was a tough fight (against Adesanya), it was a close fight, but Izzy kicked a little bit more than I did. I think my boxing was a little bit better than his. My wrestling was much better than his.”
He added: “Thank you Izzy for this fight. It was a pleasure for me to fight against someone like you … I’m happy that I can be the first to beat him, one of the best in the world.”
Blachowicz said he deserved the win and tactically the fight had worked out as he and his team had envisioned.
“I’m a true champion, I deserve what I got. It was a hard job for me tonight, but I do my best,” he added.
“What we prepared for him in the gym we did in the fight … I should’ve wrestled him a little bit more a little bit earlier. I should’ve put more pressure on him. I should’ve put more of my boxing skills on him. But he’s a great fighter, he wouldn’t let me go. But anyway I did almost everything that we trained for.”
The 38-year-old from Poland said at some point he had trouble breathing freely, despite feeling he had trained in a “perfect” manner for the fight.
“I started to feel that my breath wasn’t so good, but after 30 seconds I focused a little bit more, I relaxed and my breath came back to normal and I saw it was ok,” he added.
“That was a moment but I survived. Maybe that was after one of his kicks, I don’t know, I don’t remember, but that was only one moment in the fight.”
The Brazilian Nunes had forced a submission out of her Australian opponent Anderson after 2:03 of the first round, and revealed that she has different strategies for different opponents.
“I can’t go in the cage without strategies A, B and C, because you don’t know if something is going to go wrong,” the 32-year-old said.
“You have to be ready, so for Megan I wanted to finish her, I didn’t want to knock her out. I paced myself. I saw she was done already, but I wanted to finish the fight on the floor with my jiu-jitsu,” she added.
“I feel like this is the moment that I wanted for so long. I worked hard for this moment. I’m hungry. I always go to the gym to get better and better. I chose this to be my job. I love to do this. Every time that I think about it, it’s driving me forward and motivating me. Whatever happens next, I’m going to be here to defend. It’s not something that I’m going to go away. I have two belts. I have to come back and defend them, and I’ll be very happy to do it.”
After defeating Yan via disqualification at 4:29 of the fourth round, Sterling revealed that it was not how he wished to win the fight.
“I wanted to continue. The fight was fast paced. It was a lot of action. I know the fans were enjoying that,” said the Jamaican American.
“This was potentially going to be one of the fights of the year, or one of the greatest bantamweight fights in history for the title. The action was nonstop until that point,” he added.
“Sorry fans. Sorry that the fight went like this. I hope we get to run it back, do it again and give you the fight you guys deserve.”