UFC: Israel Adesanya wins big despite loss to Jan Blachowicz

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Israel Adesanya has suffered his first loss of his MMA career at UFC 259 after a shocking defeat to Jan Blachowicz.

Although ‘The Last Stylebender’ was defeated, he went home with an estimated $1m for the fight and a guaranteed $40,000 fight week incentive while his conqueror, Blachowicz earned $750,000 for his win and $40,000 fight week incentive.

Israel Adesanya who entered his light-heavyweight title bout with Jan Blachowicz on the back of 20 consecutive wins was considered best fit to dethrone the 205lb champion and pick up his second UFC belt.

In the UFC 259 main event, things did not go Adesanya’s way. After three close and cagey rounds Blachowicz began to take over. The Polish power-puncher used his bigger frame to wrestle the talented kickboxer in the final two rounds.

Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Adesanya, disappointed but not disheartened, said: “Losses are part of life. Losses are something I deal with occasionally.

“Just this is my first one in MMA. As I say, it is what it is. If I was going to lose to anyone, what better guy to lose to than a guy like Jan?

“(He’s) a classy champion, a cool dude, a very nice guy – a guy who has a great story in himself.

“On his way to getting cut from the company, comes back and then dominates and becomes the light heavyweight champion and then hands this guy, a future legend, his first loss. Yeah, if I was going to lose to anyone, I’m glad I lost to him.”

‘Stylebender’ understood the risk he was taking by stepping up to light-heavyweight and insists he has no regrets despite losing.

“(I have) no regrets,” Adesanya said. “Like I said, I don’t know. I feel like the boxing model has made it a bad thing to lose. Yeah, it sucks losing. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s not like the end of the world.

“Like I said, I’ve lost before in the past. … Right now, me and my team, we’re just excited to get home and work on certain little details.”

Adesanya is of the opinion some minor changes to his UFC 259 gameplan would’ve seen him walk away the winner.

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He’ll now return to New Zealand and focus on his comeback.

“Honestly, I could’ve won this fight,” Adesanya said. “… Tonight he played a better game plan, and he was the better fighter tonight. That’s it. He respected me, and I respected him, and we had a great showing of ourselves.

“I’m not heartbroken. I hate losing. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m not like, ‘Oh my god. F*ck, he really embarrassed me. Like, that was it.’ Nah, I felt like I had a great showing for myself.

“I represented my team very well. Now we go back to the drawing board. It’s kind of fun. Like, I look forward to like, this is the dip in my story. (Do) you know what I mean? This is the valley, if you will. Then, I’ll rise again like the phoenix that I am.”