The UFC middleweight title is on the line at UFC 253 when current champion Israel Adesanya takes on Paulo Costa on Sept. 19.
The fight, which seems to be the topic of conversation for most combat sports fans, will feature two men who truly do not like one another and who, over the last six months, have been openly verbally sparring.
Adesanya has the odds in his favor, standing at -150 to win the fight. Costa, who is the underdog at +120, is looking to prove oddsmakers wrong. Despite Adesanya being undefeated (19-0-0), he is going to have his hands full with Costa (13-0-0).
What makes this fight even more titillating is the fact they are the first undefeated fighters to meet with a UFC title on the line since UFC 98 in May 2009. In that event, Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans with a second-round KO to win the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Players and oddsmakers have shown plenty of love for Adesenya, who has been the favorite in eight of his last nine fights. Even when he was last the underdog (he opened at +160 to Robert Whittaker’s -185 in April 2019), he still won with a second-round knockout.
Costa, on the other hand, was the underdog in his last fight, as well as this one. He won that fight, defeating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision.
Who is going to win?
This fight isn’t likely going to come down to a submission or possibly even a decision. Both fighters are incredibly good at what they do, and both are considered to be some of the best strikers in their division.
Adesanya relies heavily on his kickboxing background (during which he won 75 of 80 fights) and uses his speed and striking ability to keep his opponents at bay. Costa is as aggressive as any fighter in the UFC, and he has incredible power and strength, and likes to get in close and keep pressure on his opponents.
The contrasting fighting style should keep things interesting, but Adesanya is a very tactical fighter who uses an impressive amount of studying and strategizing in his fights. Costa isn’t going to come out and surprise anyone with what he’s planning to do, but in that he may have created a weak spot for his Nigerian opponent to expose.
We’re still confident that while this fight is going to be intense and incredibly brutal, it’s Adesanya who is going to capture the victory.
It’s a tough call to make, and fights are never a sure thing, but we see the experience and tactical approach Adesanya brings to the octagon as an advantage. But no matter who is victorious when this match is over, it’s the fighting fans watching who will be guaranteed winners.