The UFC returns Saturday night with one of its most stacked cards in recent memory: four champions competing in three title fights at UFC 259 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Headlining the PPV will be middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who will attempt to become a two-division champion when he takes on light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
Adesanya (20-0) has been on a steamy streak since making his UFC debut in 2018. He has gone 9-0, with four of those wins coming in the form of stoppage. Along the way, he has toppled the likes of Anderson Silva, Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, and Kelvin Gastelum. He defended his middleweight title in a dominant fashion against previously undefeated Paulo Costa at UFC 253 with a second round TKO.
Blachowicz claimed the vacant 205-pound title with a one-sided knockout of Dominick Reyes in the UFC 253 co-main event. But his journey to that point was far from easy. The Polish fighter debuted in 2014 with a knockout over Ilir Latifi but then lost four of his next five fights. A four-fight winning streak followed; in it there were impressive victories over Nikita Krylov and Jared Cannonier. But a knockout loss to Thiago Santos set him back again. Since that loss, he has won four more in a row, with victories over Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Corey Anderson and Reyes.
Can Blachowicz prove he’s more than a transitional champion, or will Adesanya take his place on the 205-pound throne as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world?
The co-main event has the greatest female fighter of all time defending one of her titles. Amanda Nunes will be challenged by Megan Anderson for the UFC featherweight championship. Nunes has been an unstoppable force for the past six years with an 11-fight winning streak. She has defeated Cris “Cyborg” Justino, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm and Miesha Tate in her quest to become the Featherweight and Bantamweight Champion. Only Valentina Shevchenko, the reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion, has offered any resistance.
Anderson hopes to get the big surprise. The former Invicta FC featherweight champion has gone 3-2 during her UFC career, but she has a combination of power and skill that could pose a problem for Nunes.
Petr Yan will defend the UFC bantamweight title against top contender Aljamain Sterling in the third title fight on the undercard. Yan has yet to taste defeat inside the UFC Octagon. He won the vacant title last July by stopping José Aldo in the fifth round. He will make his first defense against Sterling, who has long been recognized as one of the best young talents in the division. He has chained five wins in a row to finally get a title shot, and his 90-second submission from Cory Sandhagen highlighted just how strong his fight can be.
UFC 259 Live Updates, Highlights of Israel Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz
9:30 pm: Kyler Phillips mixed it up wonderfully to keep Song Yadong off balance and secure an impressive unanimous decision victory. Yadong is known for his relentless pressing and punching, but Phillips’ footwork, angles, wrestling, and punches were simply excellent tonight. He will have a number next to his name next week.
9:02 pm: It may be time for Joseph Benavidez to consider his future in MMA, as Askar Askarov completely dominated him in a unanimous decision loss. Benavidez is a multiple-time title contender, but he has yet to win the big one and found himself on the wrong side of every facet of the game against Askarov. Meanwhile, Askarov has put his name in the hat for a future title fight with an exceptional performance against a longtime staple of the division.
8:30 pm: Well, guys. You have missed a lot if you just signed up. Six of the first seven fights ended within range, while Tim Elliott’s dominating decision over Jordan Espinoza included a segment in the fight where Elliott accused his opponent of domestic abuse in the middle of the fight. Yes, it was a lot. So here are some highlights:
What time does UFC 259 start?
- First preliminaries: 5:15 pm ET
- Preliminaries: 8 pm ET
- PPV main card: 10 pm ET
- How to watch: ESPN + PPV ($ 89.98)
UFC 259 broadcast coverage will begin with the UFC Fight Pass preliminaries at 5:15 p.m. ET, followed by the preliminaries at 8 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view event is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET. Adesanya and Blachowicz are expected to arrive in the Octagon around 12:15 am ET, although the exact time depends on the length of previous fights.
UFC 259 fight card and results
Main card (ESPN + PPV)
- Jan Błachowicz (c) vs. Israel Adesanya for the Błachowicz light heavyweight title
- Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Megan Anderson for Nunes Women’s Featherweight Title
- Petr Yan (c) vs. Aljamain Sterling for Yan’s bantamweight title
- Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober; light weights
- Thiago Santos against Aleksandar Rakić; light heavyweights
Preliminary card (ESPN / ESPN +)
- Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney; bantamweight
- Defeat Kyler Phillips. Song Yadong by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 29-28)
- Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-26)
- Kai Kara-France defeat. Rogério Bontorin by TKO in the 1st round (4:55)
First preliminaries (ESPN + / UFC Fight Pass)
- Defeat Tim Elliott. Jordan Espinosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-25)
- Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Carlos Ulberg by knockout in the second round (3:19)
- Sean Brady def. Jake Matthews via third-round submission (3:28)
- Amanda Lemos defeats Lívia Renata Souza by TKO in the 1st round (3:39)
- Uros Medic def. Aalon Cruz by technical knockout in the 1st round (1:40)
- Trevin Jones def. Mario Bautista by technical knockout in the second round (: 47).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.