Poland’s Blachowicz produced a controlled, calculated performance to hand middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the first defeat of his MMA career.
Blachowicz and Adesanya traded shots through the first three rounds, with the faster, sharper Adesanya appearing to edge the action heading into the championship rounds.
But Blachowicz, 38, switched gears in rounds four and five and turned to his wrestling as he took the 31-year-old to the canvas midway through each of the final two rounds, and didn’t let the Nigerian-born Kiwi back to his feet as he dominated the action on the canvas.
After the bout went the distance, the three octagonside judges each scored the fight for the Pole, with Blachowicz registering the first defence of his title with scores of 49-46, 49-45, 49-45.
“It was a tough fight, it was a close fight,” Blachowicz said. “I’m happy I can be the first to beat him. He’s one of the best in the world. I had to defend the division and I did it.
“I proved I’m a true champion. Now I will celebrate. We have a whole fridge of beer. We are going to start drinking and I don’t know when we will finish.”