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UFC Fantasy: Significant Stats - UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya

Take a deep dive into the key stats of some of the biggest match-ups at UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya

(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of February 24, 2021, and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)

Main Event: Jan Blachowicz vs Israel Adesanya

Jan Blachowicz

Jan Blachowicz Career Retrospective
Jan Blachowicz Career Retrospective
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Key Stats: 52% takedown accuracy (1st), 54.2% significant strike defense (7th), 6 knockdowns (4th)

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What It Means: Although Blachowicz’s “legendary Polish power” takes most of the headlines (and rightfully so), the newest light heavyweight champ is a vastly underrated grappler. His submission skills give him all the confidence he needs wherever the fight goes. On the feet, though, he’s a patient fighter with good footwork and a strong sense for distance management. He rarely puts himself out of position going for a big strike but rather sets it up methodically over the course of the fight.

Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria kicks the head of Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Israel Adesanya of Nigeria kicks the head of Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Key Stats: 11 knockdowns (3rd all-time among MW), 86.5% takedown defense (2nd all-time among MW), 65.2% significant strike defense (2nd among MW)

What It Means: Adesanya is one of the highest-level strikers in the UFC, and he has only improved his ability to slide in and out of range while punishing his opponents for sloppy advances. He has shown solid technique in stuffing takedowns and hustles out of less than ideal positions against the fence or on the mat. On the feet, he’s technical offensively and defensively, with each movement, feint and strike carrying both strategic purpose and malicious intentions.

UFC 259 FREE FIGHTS: Aljamain Sterling vs Cory Sandhagen | Amanda Nunes vs Ronda Rousey | Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo

What to Look For in the Fight: The most obvious factor is the size difference. Blachowicz is a big light heavyweight, and Adesanya, while a tall, long and deceptively strong middleweight, probably hasn’t faced someone with the champion’s size. Whether he can maintain range and stay off the fence in the smaller Octagon is a question, as is Blachowicz ability to outmuscle Adesanya. On those clinch exchanges, watch for Blachowicz’s wicked hooks and uppercuts off the break. That said, Adesanya and the City Kickboxing team have showed a great ability in gameplanning and adjusting mid-fight to find success.

Co-Main Event: Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson

Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates after defeating Cris Cyborg of Brazil in their women's featherweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California.(Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)
Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates after defeating Cris Cyborg of Brazil in their women's featherweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California.(Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)

Key Stats: 4.44 strikes landed per minute, 2.53 takedowns per 15 minutes, 53% takedown accuracy

What It Means: Nunes is considered the G.O.A.T. for a reason. She is excellent anywhere the fight goes, and moreover, she can dictate where the bout goes more often than not. On the feet, she is as good countering as she is pressing forward, wielding rare and real one-punch knockout power. She uses a strong variety of kicks at distance before she gets into the pocket and unleashes devastating overhand punches. Her grappling is sound, displaying both patient top control and slick submission skills when called upon.

 

Megan Anderson

Megan Anderson of Australia punches Zarah Fairn of France in the Women's featherweight bout during UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Megan Anderson punches Zarah Fairn during UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Key Stats: 53% takedown defense, 1.82 strikes landed per minute, 5:23 average fight time

What It Means: The first Australian woman to challenge for UFC gold, Anderson is a legitimate featherweight who uses every bit of her 6-foot frame and 72-inch reach when she is striking. She has a diverse attack and is always apt to throw knees in the middle of combinations and end with a high kick. Anderson also holds real knockout power in her hands and is tricky off her back when it comes to submissions.

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What to Look For in the Fight: Although this fight features two legitimate power punchers, don’t be surprised if Nunes implements a similar gameplan to her title defense against Germaine de Randamie in which she chose to grapple and control the fight on top. That said, Anderson is really strong at timing knees and doesn’t need much of a windup to land a devastating strike, so Nunes can’t just enter in lazily.

 

Other Fights to Watch (Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling, Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic)

Petr Yan

Journey To Champion - Petr Yan
Journey To Champion - Petr Yan
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Key Stats: +3.07 striking differential (1st all-time among BW), 6.32 strikes landed per minute (4th all-time among BW), 88% takedown defense (4th all-time among BW)

What It Means: The newest bantamweight champion is a well-rounded beast everywhere the fight goes and fights with that kind of maliciousness as well. Yan’s boxing is as clean as it gets. He often starts the beginnings of rounds patiently, pouncing late with a heavy combination. He doesn’t need a lot to generate power, and his 1-2 combination is as stunning as any. Yan has also shown some crafty offensive wrestling and adept awareness of when he can land kicks.

Aljamain Sterling

Top Finishes: Aljamain Sterling
Top Finishes: Aljamain Sterling
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Key Stats: 1.89 takedowns per 15 minutes, +2.82 striking differential (3rd all-time among BW), 2.01 strikes absorbed per minute (2nd)

UFC 259 COUNTDOWN: Blachowicz vs Adesanya | Nunes vs Anderson | Yan vs Sterling

What It Means: “Funkmaster” is most comfortable in the wrestling department, but he’s not your usual brute grinder when it comes to takedowns. He latches onto his opponents with swiftness and looks to either drag his foe to the ground or quickly take their back, utilizing his long limbs to latch on and remain in control. His striking is sharp as well. He focuses on using his length and movement to keep his opponents out of range and off rhythm, and he is particularly strong utilizing leg and body kicks to make the most of his range.

What to Look For in the Fight: On the feet, Yan likely has the power advantage, but Sterling is often the busier striker. Where Yan starts to take over is when he unleashes his strikes and starts to swarm his opponent with pressure and his movement inside the pocket. Sterling will probably have windows to grapple when Yan presses forward, and that’s when the Russian could get caught with a submission when the two are in transition. Both have moves and countermoves for each other, so this should be a tense, close affair.

Thiago Santos

Key Stats: 11 KO/TKO wins (tied 2nd all-time), 4.36 strikes landed per minute, 64% takedown defense

What It Means: Santos is perhaps light heavyweight division’s most potent knockout artist. He is never not looking to put his opponent out with every strike he throws, and he has the athleticism and ferocity to put him in the right position to do just that. He is an explosive striker in the pocket and has a variety of kicks he uses as well. He is most at home in a firefight.

Aleksandar Rakic

Key Stats: +2.67 striking differential (2nd all-time among LHW), 54.9% significant strike accuracy (5th), 44.1% control time percentage (2nd)

What It Means: Rakic is a powerful but patient fighter who likes to lean on his distance management and skill level while possessing the ability to end the fight in a blink. He is long-limbed and methodical with his approach, picking his shots and confusing opponents so as to mute their offense. Rakic is able to mix things up and grapple a bit as well, and he exhibits great strength along the fence in clinch situations.

What to Look For in the Fight: While both fighters have their share of knockout power, Rakic is likely going to favor a more methodical pace to the fight whereas Santos will want to pick his spots to explode for the knockout shot. Rakic often fights longer than his foe and might try to impose himself physically along the fence, but that’s a dangerous game against Santos, who looked powerful against Teixeira before Teixiera was able to exhaust “Marreta.” It wouldn’t be surprising for Rakic to look to implement a similar game plan.