UFC 253 is going to be must-see television and feature one heck of an exciting fight when two undefeated bruisers vie for the middleweight championship.
Israel Adesanya, the current title holder, will enter the octagon looking to defend his belt against No. 1 contender Paulo Costa at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Sept. 26. Adesanya is currently unbeaten at 19-0, while Costa currently stands undefeated at 13-0.
When the smoke clears after this matchup, someone will have an ugly loss on their record.
Oddsmakers see this as an extremely close matchup. Adesanya is the favorite at this point with odds at -150, while Costa is the underdog at +120. This is the eighth time in Adesanya’s past nine fights that he has opened as the favorite. For Costa, this is the second time in a row he has been the underdog.
Adesanya has already defended his title once, defeating Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in March. He’s picked up several other quality wins in his UFC career, defeating the likes of Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum and Anderson Silva. Now he has the challenge of being the first to earn a win over Costa.
That won’t be an easy task. The Brazilian’s 13-0 record includes 11 career knockouts, of which four came during his time in the UFC.
The hype has been building as the beef between these two fighters has grown via social media banter. For a quick look at what’s coming, you can check out this promo video on YouTube.
Who’s going to win?
This is just the second time two undefeated fighters have fought for a UFC title — the other came in 2009 at UFC 98 when Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans with a second-round KO to take the light heavyweight belt.
Because of how Adesanya and Costa have fought during their careers, it’s difficult to separate the two in terms of ability.
However, we still see this fight going in favor of Adesanya. Costa showcases incredible power and likes to fight in a high-pressure style, and Adesanya will have to fight defensively while keeping out of Costa’s range whenever possible.
What is for certain is Costa isn’t going to bring anything surprising to the table. He’s a brutal bruiser with devastating close-range capabilities.
Adesanya, on the other hand, is going to have studied every aspect of his opponent’s style, and he’s going to be ready to keep out of his range, pepper him with leg kicks and quick body shots. He’s going to use his defensive ability and durability to exploit his foe’s weaknesses, and we believe he’s going to win the fight because of it.
Other fights of interest in UFC 253
Women’s MMA doesn’t get near the attention it deserves, especially when fighters like Claudia Gadelha are in the ring. The 185-pound fighter, who is 18-4-0, will be looking to continue her hunt to regain the title when she takes on Yan Xiaonan, who is 12-1-0.
Gadelha’s last fight was a victory against Angela Hill in May in a split decision. Prior to that bout, the Brazilian defeated Canadian Randa Markos at UFC 239.
Another victory could put Gadelha on the list as a possible contender against current strawweight champion Weili Zhang.
Xiaonan isn’t going to go down easy, however, and has the same goal of earning a shot for the title.
The 31-year-old, who was the first Chinese female fighter signed to the UFC, has not lost since 2010, and is undefeated at 5-0 in the UFC. She has 11 straight victories, including UFC wins over Karolina Kawalkiewicz and Viviane Pereira.
Other fights slated for UFC 253 include Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz (205 pounds), Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Royval (125), Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Matthews (170), Brad Riddell vs. Alex da Silva (155) and Nate Landwehr vs. Shane Young (145).
On the women’s side, Marion Reneau will fight Ketlen Vieira (135).