Israel Adesanya recently revealed in an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani that he might weigh under 200 lbs for his light heavyweight title fight against Jan Blachowicz. If this is the case, Chael Sonnen is all for Israel Adesanya's strategy.
In the latest edition of 'Ariel and The Bad Guy', Chael Sonnen expressed his opinion on Israel Adesanya's latest comments regarding his weight on fight night. Ariel asked Sonnen whether Adesanya's decision to remain underweight was a smart move or not, to which Sonnen replied:
"Yes. Yes, I do [think this is a smart idea]. I do not think you should start playing the yo-yo game with your body. And I think this is also one of the reasons that the 'champ-champ era' has largely been a one-night thing... I think, with Adesanya, he is showing great respect to his preferred division; which is the 185 lbs division; to the boys in the back [of] the rankings down there by saying, 'I'm gonna be in striking distance. I'm gonna come right back home to you. Whoever's next, you're gonna get your shot.'"
Fighting at 195-200 pounds is certainly beneficial for Israel Adesanya in terms of ability to shift between divisions. Adesanya also said in the interview that he typically walks around at around 195 pounds. Even though these factors work in his favor, there is still a major concern that many in the MMA field have pointed out.
Why is weighing in below 200 pounds a risk for Israel Adesanya?
Israel Adesanya will challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259 this Saturday. Therefore, 205 lbs will be the championship weight at the weigh-ins. Typically any fighter, like Jan Blachowicz, would cut weight to make limit. However, 'The Last Stylebender' plans to remain far below the required weight, come fight night.
On the other hand, Ariel Helwani stated that on fight night, Jan Blachowicz believes he will weigh around 220 pounds. The stark difference in weight may turn into a disadvantage for Israel Adesanya in terms of power.
With the addition of weight, the striking intensity and the ability to absorb strikes increases. An example of this is the difference between Dustin Poirier at featherweight and Dustin Poirier at lightweight.
While Dustin Poirier's last fight at featherweight ended in a round two TKO at the hands of Conor McGregor, 'The Diamond' has only lost twice in his lightweight tenure. His ability to absorb strikes has arguably multiplied since then.
Therefore, natural 205-pounder Jan Blachowicz may hold a considerable advantage in packing more power behind his strikes. Again, at his natural weight, with his chin accustomed to other natural 205-pounders. Nevertheless, Israel Adesanya told Ariel Helwani that he will depend on his fine technique and maneuverability to match the Polish fighter.