An attempt by Nigeria-born Israel Adesanya to become a double champion in the UFC was dashed early Sunday morning.
Jan Blachowicz beat the previously undefeated Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) to retain his light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 259.
Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles concurrently.
The loss is Adesanya’s first in his professional MMA career and brings his record to 20-1.
He remains unbeaten at middleweight where he is the current UFC champion.
Blachowicz had a 107-78 edge in significant strikes, outlanding Adesanya in every round, including 28-12 in the fifth. Two judges scored the final round 10-8 for Blachowicz.
Blachowicz (28-8) has won five in a row. He claimed the UFC light heavyweight title in beating Dominick Reyes by second-round TKO at UFC 253 in September.
Adesanya (20-1), a former champion kickboxer, won his first nine fights in the UFC before Saturday.