Jan Blachowicz became the first man to defeat Israel Adesanya.
Blachowicz upset Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-45, 49-45, 49-46) to retain his light heavyweight title for the first time on Saturday during the UFC 259 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
"I thought he would be a little bit faster," Blachowicz said in his postfight interview. "But he hit harder than I thought. ... This is something I did not expect."
Adesanya, the middleweight champion who moved up to 205 pounds for the first time in his MMA career, had a strong start to the contest. He used his jab and leg kicks to pick apart Blachowicz in the stand-up department. But midway through the bout, Blachowicz started opening up and connecting with more shots.
The defending champion finally took Adesanya down in the fourth round and secured another takedown in the fifth. Blachowicz did a good job of controlling Adesanya and he kept the challenger on the mat for the remainder of both frames. Blachowicz pounded Adesanya with shots from top control in the final seconds of the fight.
"I'm bigger, stronger a little bit, so I knew I was going to be better on the ground," Blachowicz said. "Everyone knows his ground game is not so good like mine."
With the victory, Blachowicz extended his winning streak to five fights. The 38-year-old captured the vacant light heavyweight title last September with a knockout win over Dominick Reyes.
Adesanya fell short in his attempt to become the fifth simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history.
"The Last Stylebender" said he plans to fight again at light heavyweight but will defend his middleweight belt in his next outing.
"This is not a one-off," Adesanya said of his 205-pound stint. "I definitely will be back. Like I said, dare to be great. I'm going back down to 185 and I'm going to rule that b---- with my iron Black fist."
Adesanya defended the middleweight title twice against Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero since winning it in 2019.