Jan Blachowicz upset the odds with a grinding unanimous points decision over the previously unbeaten Israel Adesanya to retain his world light heavyweight title at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Sunday.
“If I had knocked him out it would have been better, but anyway I love this win because he is one of the best in the world,” said the 38-year-old Polish fighter after the judges scored it 49-46, 49-45, and 49-45 in his favour.
It was the first defeat inflicted on the 31-year-old Adesanya, who was stepping up in weight, in his 21-fight career.
The New Zealander, the middleweight title holder, was looking to become only the fifth double-weight world champion in UFC history.
The Nigeria-born fighter found the bigger size of Blachowicz difficult to handle, especially when the Pole drew his opponent into clinches and down on to the mat late in the bout.
Blachowicz only really became a contender after passing the age of 35 and had also been the underdog when he won the vacant title last year against American Dominick Reyes.