UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa (TV: ESPN2/ESPN+ PPV)
Saturday, September 26th, Prelims 7:00 PM ET (ESPN2/ESPN+), Main Card 10:00 PM ET (ESPN+ PPV), Flash Forum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Dominick Reyes (12-1) vs. Jan Blachowicz (26-8)
Fight odds: Dominick Reyes -270 Jan Blachowicz +230
Middleweight Title Fight: Israel Adesanya (19-0) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0)
Fight odds: Israel Adesanya -180 Paulo Costa +160
UFC 253 will return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi with two Title fights. The era of Jon Jones as the light heavyweight champion is over for now after he vacated the belt. Jon Jones is the greatest light heavyweight in UFC history because he never lost his Title in the octagon after winning the Title in 2011. Jones’ biggest enemy has been himself because of difficulties with sobriety and run ins with the law.
It remains to be seen if Jones will fight again and in what weight class. A new light heavyweight champion will be crowned when Dominick Reyes fights Jan Blachowicz for the vacant Title. The Middleweight Title will also be on the line between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. This is one of the biggest fight cards of the year and the UFC continues to give fans the fights they want to see.
The Co-Main Event will feature two top light heavyweights who are deserving of this Title fight in Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz. Dominick Reyes is 30, 6’4 and 205 lbs. with a 77 inch reach. Jan Blachowicz is 37, 6’2 and 205 lbs. with a 78 inch reach. Dominick Reyes has fought for the Title previously against Jon Jones, but lost by unanimous decision. It was a close fight and Reyes more than held his own against Jones in a matchup where both fighters had their moments. This was the only loss in Reyes’ career and he has 7 knockouts in his career. Reyes actually out-landed Jones in their fight landing 119 total strikes while Jones landed 107. This proves that Reyes can strike with the best in the division.
This will be a tough fight for Reyes because of the pressure that Blachowicz imposes along with his devastating knockout power. Blachowicz has looked like an absolute destroyer in his previous fights after knocking out Corey Anderson in his most recent fight. His last loss came against Thiago Santos in February of 2019. Santos hasn’t fought since a split decision loss to Jon Jones in July of 2019 after sustaining some injuries during that fight. Santos basically fought a majority of that fight against Jones on one leg and still pushed him to the limit. After that great performance against Jones, Santos deserves to fight the winner of Reyes vs. Blachowicz.
Expect this fight to be primarily a stand up battle because the wrestling skills of both fighters will most likely cancel each other out. A knockout for either fighter is likely since both combatants like to come forward and push the pace. Even though Reyes has a 2 inch height advantage, Blachowicz has a 1 inch reach advantage making it a pretty even fight. Blachowicz should have the advantage in wrestling and experience. Reyes should have the advantage in combination punching and kicking. Blachowicz is an excellent counter puncher that can catch a fighter coming forward with knockout power as seen against Corey Anderson and Luke Rockhold. Reyes faded in the later rounds against Jones, so expect Blachowicz to take advantage of this and get the upset win over Reyes by knockout.
The Main Event between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa will feature two fighters that don’t like each other and it will likely result in an exciting fight. Israel Adesanya is 31, 6’4 and 184 lbs. with a 80 inch reach. Paulo Costa is 29, 6’1 and 185 lbs. with a 72 inch reach. Adesanya is an excellent counter striker while Costa is a come forward fighter with knockout power. However, Adesanya has proven to be tough to hit in his career utilizing great head movement and flexibility to avoid strikes while countering effectively to catch his opponents off guard. Expect the fight against Costa to be dictated by Adesanya because he can control the range with excellent footwork and combination punching and kicking.
Costa’s most likely route to victory would be by knockout. However, if this fight goes to a decision, Adesanya should win it because he will most likely outland Costa and frustrate his opponent by making him miss punches as he throws wildly in desperate attempts to knockout the elusive Adesanya. Adesanya moves differently than most fighters and it is difficult to prepare for his movement, feints and clever striking.
Against Robert Whittaker, Adesanya completely outclassed his opponent with devastating counterpunching to knockout Whittaker in the 2nd Round. Adesanya neutralized the dangerous Yoel Romero en route to a unanimous decision victory by controlling the range and using kicks to weaken Romero’s lower body. Costa will try to push the pace against Adesanya and close the distance. This should be a great fight, but Adesanya should win by decision because of his superior striking, stamina and defensive instincts. Tune in for a great night of fights from Fight Island.