It was announced this week that the first challenger for the newly crowned Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz will be the current Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
While this is certainly groundbreaking news, it is all happening tremendously fast. Many details, such as the when and where, still need to be worked out, but the news has certainly shaken the MMA world nonetheless.
Let’s take a look at this high profile fight and see who could win.
Let’s first look at why this fight is happening in the first place.
From Jan’s perspective, he is the newly crowned champion with no clear-cut number one contender. The case could be made that next in line will be the winner of the Glover Teixeira-Thiago Santos bout. While that could very well be the case, that fight has yet to happen and the UFC will want Jan to get back into the octagon as soon as possible. From Izzy’s perspective, he has essentially cleaned out the top of the Middleweight division. He’s beaten every top contender in the division who has earned a title shot.
There are notable names such as Darren Till and Jared Cannonier who have the skill level to fight for a title, are at the top, and have yet to face Izzy, but they are both coming off of loses. They could run back the Robert Whittaker title fight, but Izzy won the first bout so definitively that the UFC may not be eager to book that.
This high profile confrontation where Izzy would be attempting to garner “double-champ” status is certainly an attractive fight to book.
As for who would win this fight, it really depends on how Izzy approaches the weight gain. Israel Adesanya has no problem making the cut to 185, but can he make the bulk to 205? Izzy claims to have a natural walk-around weight of around 205 currently which would mean he’d have to cut little or no weight at all. However, he and his coaches will have to decide if he should gain muscle weight and still cut to 205 or stay about where he is now and cut very minimal amounts of weight. Izzy will most likely be a step slower already because of the added weight on his frame, but we will have to see if he also has the addition of a real weight cut on top of that. This will put Izzy into an interesting chess match with Jan who has real one-punch knockout power. Izzy will have to pick his spots against Jan in a striking battle but will have to do so wisely and quickly.
With the added weight, that could absolutely hinder Izzy. Jan will look to close the distance against Izzy and strike more often rather than let Izzy dictate the pace. Whoever wins round one of this fight will likely give us a good idea of who will win in the end. The fighter who wins round one will likely do so by dictating where the fight takes place, how often they exchange, and how powerful the exchanges are.
We would be remiss to not bring up the elephant in the room, Jon Jones. Jones vacated the Light Heavyweight Championship which Jan then claimed. Jan has now gone on record that Jones moved up to Heavyweight to avoid fighting him. Izzy has also made it known that he is following Jones and wants to face him in the future regardless of weight class.
Jon will certainly be paying attention to this fight despite moving out of the weight class. It is a very real possibility that Jones faces the winner of this fight in the future.
An extremely early prediction for this fight: Israel Adesanya.
None of us know what 205 Izzy will look like compared to 185 Izzy. However, he looks absolutely unbeatable currently. He last defeated Paulo Costa, another undefeated fighter at the time, and it didn’t even look like a challenge. Jan is an incredible fighter in his own right, but Adesanya is an all-time talent.
Who do you think will win this fight?
Featured Image: Julio Cortez/Associated Press