Sport Israel Adesanya won't leave middleweights hanging if he wins second belt at UFC 259
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Saturday sees the UFC host its latest pay-per-view offering with three title fights atop a stacked fight card in Las Vegas. In the UFC 259 main event, light heavyweight champion will put his 205-pound title on the line for the first time against middleweight champi on Israel Adesanya in a champion-versus-champion clash. The co-main event has all-conquering two-division women’s champion Amanda Nunes against Australia’s Megan Anderson in a featherweight title defense.
Israel Adesanya‘s priority is to return to the middleweight division after.
Adesanya, the reigning champ at 185 pounds, will attempt to make history on Saturday (10 p.m. ET,) when he moves up to the light heavyweight division to challenge Jan Blachowicz.
A win would make Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) the fifth fighter in UFC history to be a simultaneous two-division champion. Only one in that group (Amanda Nunes) has moved back down after winning a second belt in a higher weight class, but “The Last Stylebender” said he has no intention of neglecting his championship responsibility should he also claim gold at 205 pounds.
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The UFC has three championships on the line Saturday. UFC 259 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+. In the UFC 259 main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) moves to light heavyweight to challenge champion Jan Blachowicz (27-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) in an attempt to become a two-division champion. Women’s dual champ Amanda Nunes (20-4 MMA, 13-1 UFC) defends her featherweight title against Megan Anderson (10-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC).
“I’ll definitely go back down to 185,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I have something else in my head that might interest (me after). But definitely going back down to 185 is my goal. I want to keep my division moving.”
It remains to be seen who could emerge as the No. 1 contender at middleweight for Adesanya’s next defense in that division. Darren Till meets Marvin Vettori in the main event of a UFC Fight Night event on April 10, then Robert Whittaker is scheduled to clash with Paulo Costa in a headliner on on April 17.
Adesanya didn’t put a specific timeline on when his middleweight belt could be up for grabs again but said any delay won’t be because his body isn’t ready to go back down.
Despite the 20-pound difference between divisions, Adesanya said he didn’t put himself through a physical transformation heading into UFC 259. He claims he’s essentially going into the cage as he would a middleweight, minus a weight cut.
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That may be viewed as a questionable tactic given Blachowicz’s size and power, but Adesanya said he’s trusting the elements of his game that have led to the perfect start to his career.
“(I’m going in) just like any other fight, to be honest,” Adesanya said. “I keep the same energy. Nothing’s really changed in my head. For the prep for this camp people ask, ‘Did you do anything different to get ready for this camp?’ All we ever do is get ready for the guy in front of us. That’s the same energy we kept for this camp.
“No weight cut and just doing what I always do. We’re keeping the same energy during fight week, as well. I think it’s silly to add more muscle for this contest when my strength had gotten me to the dance. I trust my body and I trust my skills.”MORE:
Joseph Benavidez torn after UFC 259 loss: 'I'm not who maybe I used to be' .
has endured some tough battles both physically and mentally. The multiple-time UFC title challenger has been questioning his standing in MMA after a string of defeats that have plagued the last year of his career. Benavidez (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) most recently came up short in…The multiple-time UFC title challenger has been questioning his standing in MMA after a string of defeats that have plagued the last year of his career. Benavidez (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) most recently came up short in a unanimous decision against top flyweight contender Askar Askarov this past Saturday at UFC 259.