UFC 253, highlighted by the main event of Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa, will take place on Saturday from Abu Dhabi. Although there are four other matches on the main card, UFC fans can’t wait for the clash between these two-highly skilled fighters.
Here’s a breakdown of the middleweight championship bout, plus what you can expect from the other four fights.
Main Event: Israel Adesanya (19-0, 14 KO) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0, 11 KO)
Adesanya Looks to Capitalize on Costa Mistakes
Adesanya, with a background in kickboxing, recently claimed the UFC middleweight championship. Out of his 19 total UFC wins, 14 have come via the knockout with the other five by decision.
The 6-foot, 4-inch middleweight utilizes his 80-inch reach to implement a standing fighting strategy. Adesanya likes to wait for his opponent to make a tactical mistake before attacking, but the champ closes the deal when he finally picks his spot.
Costa Hopes to Win Early Over Adesanya
Adesanya’s opponent, Costa, on the other hand, has vaulted to the top of the contenders looking to take a shot at the crown. In his last five UFC fights, Costa has four knockouts. Before he arrived in UFC, Costa ended fights quickly with eight straight first-round KOs.
Costa loves to attack aggressively, using both hands to force his opponent off-balance. If Costa pulls off the upset, it will come early as his “fists of fury” style tends to lose steam after the opening round.
Although Costa also likes to fight standing, he’s giving up eight inches of reach to Adesanya.
|Win By Knockout||Adesanya +155|
|Win By Decision||Adesanya +310|
|Win By Submission||Adesanya +1600|
Bets to Consider for UFC 253 Main Event
Adesanya to Win (-176) at DraftKings
Adesanya arrives in Abu Dhabi as the heavy favorite. Many bookmakers are looking for Adesanya to win the fight easily with his eight-inch reach advantage and undefeated record. DraftKings gives Adesanya the best odds to win the match at -176. These odds mean that you’ll need to bet $176 for every $100 you win.
Adesanya Win by KO (+155) at BetMGM
A knockout by Adesanya offers an intriguing and rare positive odds bet for the champ. At BetMGM, a KO by Adesanya holds +155 odds. Expect Adesanya to withstand a flurry of punches early in the fight from Costa. If he can hold on, the later rounds could see the middleweight champion find his opening for a rewarding knockout for bettors.
Costa Win by KO (+220) at FanDuel
Expect Costa to come out like a hurricane in the first round, using both hands to overwhelm Adesanya. If it works, Costa could score a knockout early. Odds for a KO by Costa peak at FanDuel, as they offer +220.
Costa Win by Decision (+850) at FoxBet
Since Costa is known to struggle the longer a match goes on, the fighter’s odds to win by decision are relatively high. FoxBet offers +850 on a Costa decision. If you feel he has a shot to go the distance on Adesanya and take the title, this provides a handsome return.
Avoid Win By Submission Bets
Also worth noting that neither fighter prefers to win via the takedown. You’ll notice that the sportsbooks reflect that in their win by submission odds. The best odds for a submission victory belongs to Adesanya at +1600 at a few of the sportsbook apps. Costa has +1800 odds across the board, except FoxBet, who has the fighter at +1600.
Other Main Card UFC 253 Matches
Match 2: Dominick Reyes (12-1, KO) vs. Jan Blachowicz (26-8, KO)
The fight that takes us into the main event pits the heavily favored Reyes against Blachowicz. The light heavyweight match features the undefeated Reyes looking to move to 13-0. Blachowicz, on the other hand, hopes to continue a solid run as he’s won seven of his last eight fights.
Bookmakers expect Reyes to continue his clean UFC run by using his kicks to set up a vicious left hand. At BetRivers, Reyes’ odds sit at -286, with Blachowicz posted at +230 for an upset win.
Match 3: Kai Kara-France (21-8, KO) vs. Brandon Royval (11-4, KO)
Kara-France comes into his match with Royval as the favorite for the Saturday night fight. Kara-France hopes to use Royval’s relative inexperience in the octagon against him. Don’t expect fireworks in this one as Kara-France’s last three wins all came via decision.
BetMGM gives Royval +200 odds to pull off the upset, with Kara-France slated at -250.
Match 4: Ketlen Vieira (10-1, KO) vs. Sijara Eubanks (7-4, KO)
Eubanks rushes back to the ring after her last fight, two weeks ago, to take on Vieira. The short turnaround could effect Vieira, especially knowing that Eubanks loves to take a match all the way. FanDuel slots Eubanks as the prohibitive underdog at +148 to win, with Vieira favored at -184.
Match 5: Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1, KO) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1, KO)
In the closest fight of the night, Dawodu plays a slight underdog to Tukhugov. At DraftKings, Dawodu holds +101 odds for a win, while the sportsbook gives Tukhugov -125 on a victory. Tukhugov likes to wrestle and grind opponents over a fight, so look for him to work Dawodu slowly.