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Adesanya loses first UFC fight after close contest

Israel Adesanya has failed in his quest to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship after suffering a close loss to defending champion Jan Blachowicz, but vows to be back.

Going into the fight, much was made of the weight advantage Blachowicz had, and it proved to be a pivotal for the Pole, who won the fight off the back of two takedowns in the fourth and fifth rounds.

The fight started cautiously, both men trading leg kicks as they tried to spot a weakness in each other’s defence.

Adesanya landed a shot early in the second round but it remained an even contest.

The fight opened up in the third round, Blachowicz grappling Adesanya before the Kiwi escaped and hit Blachowicz with a quick jab.

The Pole clinched Adesanya in the corner but Adesanya forced him to release through a series of shots to the head.

It was still anybody’s fight at the end of the third, Adesanya appearing to have a slight advantage.

But Blachowicz performed a strong takedown in the fourth round, leaving Adesanya in a tough position as he struggled to escape from his heavier opponent.

There was everything to fight for in the final round with the scores tied, and although Blachowicz had been in control in the fourth, it appeared to have taken the energy out of him.

But he still had enough strength to hit Adesanya with another takedown, seeking to take control and retain his title.

Adesanya just could not escape from beneath his far heavier opponent and ultimately it cost him.

However, he remained upbeat post-fight and said he would be back.

"It didn't go exactly how I wanted it to go, but dare to be great," he said.

Earlier in the card, Kiwi Kai Kara-France earnt a spectacular knockout victory, while Carlos Ulberg suffered a tough loss.