UFC 253: Preview & Predictions
The upcoming UFC 253 card will be the start of the second series of exciting events to be hosted on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The company successful staged 52 bouts over four different dates earlier in the year and returns to the United Arab Emirates with a plethora of top-class fights lined up.
UFC 253 will be headlined by a clash between two undefeated middleweights, as champion Israel Adesanya goes head-to-head with Paulo Costa.
The vacant light heavyweight title will also be on the line as Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz face each other in the co-main event. Read on as we preview the top fights at UFC 253.
Adesanya Ready for Costa Onslaught
Adesanya has insisted that Costa will pay a heavy price if he tries to implement his usual all-out attacking style.
The Kiwi star is the 8/13 favourite to defend his title and plenty of punters will be using the DraftKings Sportsbook promo code to back him to do just that that.
Both men head into the fight on the back of victories over Yoel Romero, although it is fair to say that Adesanya’s win came in a much more tactical affair.
However, 'The Last Stylebender' believes that his ability to mix things up will stand him in good stead against an opponent he says is ‘reckless’.
“He’s dumb,” Adesanya told ESPN. “He’s dumb and he walks forward and he throws shots. That’s what makes it really exciting, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.
“I’m looking forward to this big, inflated ignoramus, running up on me, trying to throw shots as I keep moving and sticking him.”
Costa Blasts ‘Disrespectful’ Adesanya
The Brazilian fighter has won 11 of his previous 13 fights by knockout to earn himself a crack at Adesanya’s middleweight title.
He is rated as a 5/4 shot to defeat the champion and his legion of fans can bet with OBC if they fancy him to maintain his unbeaten record.
Costa has made it clear in the run-up to the fight that he has little regard for Adesanya and says he will teach him a lesson when the pair meet.
“Adesanya is a disrespectful fighter - everybody knows, and if you don’t know just Google his name and you will see him talk bad things about the American people,” he told ESPN.
“So that’s why I don’t like him. He says disrespectful things about me also so I brought this fight as a personal fight.
“I don’t want to just become the winner above him. I’d like to, I want to hurt him badly.”
Reyes Eager to put Jones Defeat Behind Him
Reyes will be out for redemption when he faces Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title in the co-main event at UFC 253.
The 30-year-old suffered a controversial defeat against Jon Jones at UFC 247, with many pundits believing he was robbed by the judges.
Jones has subsequently vacated the belt as he pursues a move up to heavyweight, handing Reyes the chance to prove he is the main man in the light heavyweight division.
There has been speculation that Reyes would meet Jones again further down the line, but he has insisted that he aims to remain in his current weight class for the foreseeable future.
“Light heavyweight’s my division and I’m about to prove it for a long time,” Reyes said. “If I win this, I’m probably fighting the winner of Thiago (Santos) and Glover (Teixeira) and we’ll go from there.
“I’m not really looking too far ahead. I’m looking at that fight being sometime next year.”
UFC 253 Fight Card
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa - Middleweight
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz - Light Heavyweight
Yan Xiaonan vs Claudia Gadelha - Women's Strawweight
Hakeem Dawodu vs Zubaira Tukhugov - Featherweight
Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Rovyal - Flyweight
Ketlen Viera vs Marion Reneau - Bantamweight
Diego Sanchez vs Jake Matthews - Welterweight
Brad Riddell vs Alex da Silva - Lightweight
Nate Landwehr vs Shane Young – Featherweight
UFC 253 Prediction: The clash between Adesanya and Costa could be one of the best of the year and the reigning champion is strongly fancied to retain his belt. Reyes looks a good bet to win the light heavyweight title in the co-main event.