UFC 259 pre-event facts: Israel Adesanya’s champ-champ attempt comes with a twist

·11 min read

The UFC’s third pay-per-view event of the year takes place Saturday with UFC 259, which goes down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and features the most loaded lineup of the year.

For just the seventh time in company history, three championship fights are on the docket at a single event, meaning the landscape of the sport has the potential to alter significantly by the end of the weekend.

Check below for all the pre-fight facts behind UFC 259, which features Jan Blachowicz (27-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) for the light heavyweight title in the main event; Amanda Nunes (20-4 MMA, 13-1 UFC) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) for the women’s featherweight strap in the co-main event; and an Petr Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) bantamweight title grudge match in the featured bout.

UFC 259 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya

Jan Blachowicz

Blachowicz is one of two Polish champions in UFC history. Joanna Jedrzejczyk also accomplished the feat. Blachowicz's four-fight UFC winning streak at light heavyweight is the third longest active streak in the division behind Magomed Ankalaev (six) and Glover Teixeira (five). Blachowicz is 8-1 in his past nine UFC appearances dating back to October 2017. The only defeat in that stretch came to Thiago Santos. Blachowicz is one of two light heavyweights in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a body kick. He accomplished the feat at UFC Fight Night 53. Blachowicz lands 52 percent of his takedown attempts in UFC light-heavyweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Lyoto Machida (65 percent).

Israel Adesanya

Adesanya is one of 13 fighters in UFC history to win an undisputed title with an undefeated record. He can be the first to win two belts while undefeated. Adesanya is one of 11 undisputed middleweight champions in UFC history. Adesanya can become the eighth fighter in UFC history to win titles in two weight classes. Adesanya can become the fifth simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history. No one has held the middleweight and light heavyweight belts before. Adesanya's 20-fight winning streak is second longest among active UFC fighters behind Weili Zhang (21). Adesanya's 20-fight winning streak is the longest among active UFC middleweights. Adesanya's nine-fight UFC winning streak at middleweight competition is the longest active streak in the division. Adesanya has earned 15 of his 20 career victories by stoppage. That includes four of his UFC victories. Adesanya's 11 knockdowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (13) and Nate Marquardt (12). Adesanya's four knockdowns landed against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 are the single-fight record for a UFC title bout. Adesanya defends 86.5 percent of opponent takedown attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Krzysztof Jotko (87.1 percent). Adesanya's seven fight-night bonuses for UFC middleweight bouts are tied for third most in divisional history behind Silva (12) and Yoel Romero (eight).

Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson

Amanda Nunes

Nunes is one of four simultaneous two-division champions in UFC history. Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor and Henry Cejudo also accomplished the feat. Nunes is one of seven fighters in UFC history to win titles in two weight classes. Cormier, McGregor, Cejudo, Georges St-Pierre, B.J. Penn and Randy Couture also accomplished the feat. Nunes is the only fighter in UFC history to record title defenses in two divisions while simultaneously holding multiple belt. Nunes' eight victories in UFC title fights are tied with Jose Aldo for third most among active fighters in the company behind Jon Jones (14) and Anderson Silva (11). Nunes' eight victories in women's UFC title fights are most in company history. Nunes has defeated six fighters who once held an undisputed UFC belt, tied with Jones for the most of any active fighter in the organization. Nunes' 13 victories in UFC competition are most for any female in company history. Nunes' 11 victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history. Nunes' 11-fight UFC winning streak is second longest among active fighters in the company behind Kamaru Usman (13). Nunes' 11-fight UFC winning streak in women’s competition is the longest in company history. Nunes' nine-fight UFC winning streak at women’s bantamweight is the longest active streak in the division. Nunes eight stoppage victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are most in divisional history. Nunes' seven first-round finishes in UFC/Strikeforce women's bantamweight competition are second most in combined divisional history behind Ronda Rousey (seven). Nunes' six knockout victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history. Nunes' three knockdowns landed in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history. Nunes' 14-second knockout of Julia Budd at Strikeforce Challenger 13 is the fastest knockout in UFC/Strikeforce women’s history. Nunes' victory at the 2:36 mark of Round 5 at UFC 224 marked the second latest stoppage in a women’s UFC title fight. Only Miesha Tate’s win at the 3:30 mark of Round 5 vs. Holly Holm at UFC 196 came later. Nunes' four fight-night bonuses for UFC women’s bantamweight fights are second most in divisional history behind Rousey (seven).

Megan Anderson

Anderson competes in her sixth UFC women’s featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history. Anderson's three victories in UFC women’s featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Cris Cyborg (four). Anderson's three stoppage victories in UFC women’s featherweight competition are most in divisional history. Anderson's two knockout victories in UFC women’s featherweight competition are tied with Cyborg for most in divisional history. Anderson has the only triangle choke submission finish in UFC women’s featherweight history. She accomplished the feat at UFC 243.

Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling

Petr Yan

Yan seven-fight UFC winning streak at bantamweight is the longest active streak in the division. Yan's four knockout victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind T.J. Dillashaw (seven), Eddie Wineland (five) and Rob Font (five). Yan's eight knockdowns landed in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Dillashaw (nine) and Cody Garbrandt (nine). Yan lands 1.3 knockdowns per 15 minutes in UFC bantamweight competition, the second best rate in divisional history behind Garbrandt (1.58).

Aljamain Sterling

Sterling's five-fight UFC winning streak at bantamweight is the second longest active streak in the division behind Yan (seven). Sterling's 10 victories in UFC bantamweight competition are fourth most in divisional history behind Dillashaw (12), Urijah Faber (11) and Raphael Assuncao (11). Sterling’s four submission victories in UFC bantamweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Faber (six) and Rani Yahya (five). Sterling is one of three fighters in UFC history to earn a submission victory by Suloev stretch. He accomplished the feat at UFC 228. Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kenny Robertson has also won with the technique. Sterling landed 174 significant strikes at UFC 238, the second most in a single UFC/WEC bantamweight bout. Yan holds the record with 194 significant strikes landed vs. Aldo at UFC 251. Sterling absorbs just 2.01 significant strikes per minute in UFC bantamweight competition, the second best rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Montel Jackson (1.28).

Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober

Islam Makhachev

[autotag]Islam Makhachev[/autotag]'s (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) six-fight UFC winning streak at lightweight is tied for the second longest active streak in the division behind Charles Oliveira (eight). Makhachev absorbs 0.76 significant strikes per minute in UFC competition, the best rate in company history. Makhachev complete 68 percent of all takedown attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Thiago Santos

[autotag]Thiago Santos[/autotag] (21-8 MMA, 13-7 UFC) is 3-2 since he moved up to light heavyweight in September 2018. Santos became the first person to earn a winning scorecard over Jones in his split-decision defeat at UFC 239 in July 2019. Santos has earned 16 of his 21 career victories by stoppage. That includes 11 of his 13 UFC wins. Santos' 11 knockout victories in UFC competition are tied for third most in company history behind Derrick Lewis (12) and Vitor Belfort (12). Santos' eight knockout victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Anderson Silva for most in divisional history. Santos' four knockout victories stemming from kicks in UFC competition are tied with Belfort, Machida and Edson Barboza for second most in company history behind Donald Cerrone (seven).

Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney

Dominick Cruz

[autotag]Dominick Cruz[/autotag] (22-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) enters the event with consecutive losses for the first time in his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since June 2016. Cruz is one of 10 fighters in UFC history to have two or more title reigns in one weight class. Cruz became the second fighter in UFC history to win a belt by split decision when he defeated T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 81. Robbie Lawler also accomplished the feat against Johny Hendricks at UFC 181. Cruz’s 12 victories in UFC/WEC bantamweight competition are tied with Dillashaw and Urijah Faber for most in combined divisional history. Cruz has earned four of his five UFC victories by decision. He has earned 14 of his 22 career wins overall by going the distance. Cruz landed 243 total strikes in his WEC 53 victory over Scott Jorgensen, the second most in a single UFC/WEC bantamweight bout. Yan holds the record with 258 total strikes landed vs. Aldo at UFC 251. Cruz defends 68.5 percent of all significant strike attempts in UFC bantamweight competition, the second-highest rate in divisional history behind Vaughan Lee (71.5 percent). Cruz's 50 takedowns landed in UFC/WEC bantamweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov

Joseph Benavidez

[autotag]Joseph Benavidez[/autotag] (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) is the only fighter in UFC history to go 0-4 in undisputed championship fights. Benavidez competes in his 19th UFC flyweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history. Benavidez's 13 victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied with Demetrious Johnson for most in divisional history. Benavidez's six stoppage victories in UFC flyweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Johnson (seven) and Deiveson Figueiredo (seven). Benavidez’s five knockout victories in UFC flyweight competition are most in divisional history. Benavidez's four fight-night bonuses for UFC flyweight bouts are second most in divisional history behind Johnson (nine). [autotag]Askar Askarov[/autotag] (12-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 UFC) has earned both of his UFC victories by decision.

Rogerio Bontorin vs. Kai Kara-France

Kai Kara-France

[autotag]Kai Kara-France[/autotag] (21-9 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has earned all four of his UFC victories by decision. Kara-France defends 90.9 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa

Tim Elliott

[autotag]Tim Elliott[/autotag] (16-11-1 MMA, 5-9 UFC) is 3-5 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in December 2016. Elliott has landed 44 takedowns in UFC flyweight competition, tied for the second most in divisional history behind Johnson (58). Elliott landed 270 total strikes at UFC 164, the single-fight record for a UFC flyweight bout. Elliott's three fight-night bonuses for UFC flyweight bouts are tied for third most in divisional history behind Demetrious Johnson (nine) and Benavidez (four).

Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews

Sean Brady

[autotag]Jake Matthews[/autotag] (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is 6-1 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in November 2017. Matthews has earned five of his six UFC welterweight victories by decision. Matthews defends 68.5 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC welterweight competition, the third best rate in divisional history behind St-Pierre (73 percent) and Luigi Fioravanti (71.9 percent). UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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