Israel Adesanya Dominick Reyes favoured in UFC 253 title fights –
Undefeated rivals clash at UFC 253 on Saturday as Israel Adesanya puts his middleweight title on the line when he takes on Paulo Costa as a -185 favourite on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Adesanya is coming off the first successful defence of his title, a unanimous decision win over Yoel Romero at UFC 248 that lifted his unblemished professional MMA record to 19-0 going into Saturday night’s bout at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Adesanya gained a reputation for finishing opponents quickly early on in his career, with his first 11 career wins coming inside 10 minutes, all by KO or TKO. However, he has regularly gone the distance since joining the UFC back in 2018, with five of his eight UFC fights getting settled by the judges, including three five-round contests.
The 31-year-old Nigerian has also defeated a number of top-flight opponents during his climb to the top of the UFC middleweight division. Adesanya earned a title shot with his three-round unanimous decision win over Anderson Silva at UFC 234. He won the interim title by unanimous decision against Kelvin Gastelum, and he unified the title by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243, earning the fourth Performance of the Night bonus of his career while paying out on -130 odds at online sports betting sites.
Costa returns to the octagon following an almost 14-month layoff pegged as a +150 underdog. The 29-year-old last fought at UFC 226, where he claimed a unanimous decision win over Romero as a +125 underdog. In addition to earning him his second career Performance of the Night bonus, the win also lifted Costa’s pro record to an unblemished 13-0.
Like Adesnya, Costa has a proven ability to finish opponents, with his first nine wins coming in the first round. However, he has never seen action in championship rounds, with his three-round clash marking the only time he has seen a fight go the distance.
Earlier on Saturday, the UFC light heavyweight title will be up for grabs as Dominick Reyes takes on Jan Blachowicz as -280 chalk. Reyes suffered the first loss of his career while battling Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight crown at UFC 247, but has seen nine of his 12 career wins come inside five minutes. Listed as a +220 underdog, Blachowicz has won three straight, capped by a first-round KO victory over Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 167 as a +195 underdog on the UFC betting lines.
Elsewhere on the UFC 253 odds, Kai Kara-France battles fellow flyweight Brandon Royval as -240 chalk, while Ketlen Vieira takes on Sijara Eubanks in a clash of women’s bantamweights as a strong -200 favourite.
Adesanya excels at the verbal business of fight promotion along with his skills inside the cage, and he hasn’t backed down from Costa’s declarations that the champion is an overhyped, underskilled athletic freak who can’t handle truly physical 185-pound fighters. If Adesanya can back up his words with a highlight-reel victory, that leap to stardom should be a small hop.
The lantern-jawed Costa is a daunting challenge for anyone, however. He has stopped 12 of his 13 MMA opponents by knockout or submission, with only Romero taking him the distance in their spectacular slugfest in August 2019. Costa has been inactive since then, waiting for his title shot.
Costa’s power seems even more dangerous than Romero’s famous punching prowess, but Costa doesn’t rely solely on waiting for a counterpunching opportunity. Adesanya will undoubtedly be forced to fight, and Costa thinks the champ won’t be able to handle it.
“I have a lot of power, so I feel like I can finish this fight anytime I want to,” Costa said. “He’s fake. He’s a good actor, but a fake guy.”