This past weekend we had two incredible title fights. The light heavyweight championship was on the line after Jon Jones vacated it between Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes. This was the co-main event before UFC 253 was headlined with the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. These two fights were the most notable of the ones on the card with no other big names fighting on the main card. UFC great Diego Sanchez fought on the preliminary card, but he was defeated by Jake Sanchez.
Jan vs Reyes was supposed to be the most exciting fight of the night for me. I thought this was going to be a slugfest that would last for a few rounds before one of the big guys went down. Between the two of them, they have 15 knockouts in their 49 combined fights. With this type of finish rate, I fully expected the ending result to be what it was.
What I did not expect was for Reyes to be a bit gun shy and not throw as many strikes as we are used to seeing from him. He is known for his striking output and is the only man to have ever outstruck Jon Jones. He looked very shaky early on and Jan wasted no time finishing him in the second round. This was a dominating performance from him, and with no clear #1 contender in site, it will be interesting to see who he will go up against next.
Adesanya vs Costa was the most anticipated match on the card with the two having some history. They have been calling each other out for quite some time.
Usually when a brawler goes up against a technician, there is some gameplan that the brawler must implement to win the fight. It did not look like Paulo had a gameplan at all. Adesanya made him look like an unranked fighter the way he picked him apart. Paulo stood on the outside very patient, and Adesanya made quick work of the formerly undefeated #1 contender.
The striking dominance of Adesanya is something we have not seen since the great Anderson Silva. He has beaten everyone that the division has thrown at him and he has not taken much damage back to him. At this point, I don’t think anyone in the division can beat him. I can see him being an undefeated fighter for the entirety of his career seeing how the Jon Jones fight does not seem to be happening anymore. The winner of the Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker will fight Adesanya next.
The outcome of the title fights is something that I have predicted would happen, but I did not see it coming so easily for these fighters. This is the first time that these four guys have fought without the crowds in the background, and it is possible that it could have played a role in the outcomes.
When there are thousands of fans cheering your name, and you go to an empty arena for your next fight, it can mess with you mentally. Israel actually stated in a post-fight interview that he was going to do a dance while he was walking out, but without the crowd he did not feel the need to do it. Even so, it was business as usual and let’s stay tuned for more greatness to be displayed by the both of them.