When is UFC 253?
UFC 253 gets underway on Saturday 26th September. The card will take place behind closed doors again, with no fans allowed within the arena. The card is due to kick off in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Where is UFC 253 taking place?
The UFC is set to return to Flash Forum located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The promotion is back for a second time, with a successful run of fights held there in July this year, which saw the likes of Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masivdal and Max Holloway compete.
The UFC sees Abu Dhabi as key for its non-US fights, as it is an access point for fighters who cannot gain entry into the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.
UFC 253 Fight Card
This card is headlined by a middleweight title clash between Isreal Adesanya (19-0) and No.2 ranked contender Paulo Costa (13-0), with both fighters coming into this bout undefeated. The co-main event is for the vacant light heavyweight title between Dominick Reyes and Jan Błachowicz.
The full fight card is as follows:
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa (Middleweight World Championship)
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Błachowicz (Light Heavyweight World Championship)
Hakeem Dawodu vs Zubaira Tukhugov
Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Royval
Ketlen Vieira vs Marion Reneau
Diego Sanchez vs Jake Matthews
Brad Riddell vs Alex da Silva
Shane Young vs Nate Landwehr
William Knight vs Aleksa Camur
Juan Espino vs Jeff Hughes
* Fight schedule subject to change
UFC 253 Betting Tips
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa
Adesanya is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Yoel Romero and is now 19-0 in his UFC career. His CV is stacked full of wins over high calibre opponents including Anderson Silva, Kevin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya is arguably one of the best strikers in the UFC, who uses his quickness and kicking ability to destructive effect. His counters led to a knockout of Whittaker last October, with a more technical strategy on display against Romero.
Costa himself is also coming off a decision victory over Romero but prior to that had won each of his previous five fights by TKO. The Brazilian is one of the biggest fighters in the Middleweight division by size, with his power and explosiveness making this one of Adesanya’s most difficult title defences to date.
I worry that Costa himself may not make weight for this fight, as he looks to be extremely large in the build-up. However, if he does, I think his explosive power may be too much for Adesanya, who will need to be calculated if he is to retain his crown. Costa is likely to look for a knockout blow as it is doubtful he can outpoint a technician like Adesanya over five rounds.
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Błachowicz
Reyes vs. Błachowicz is the co-main event at UFC 253, as the two fighters battle for a title that Jon Jones held for around a decade. Reyes faced Jones at UFC 247 in February and lost via a unanimous decision in a very close fight.
Błachowicz has won seven out of his last eight fights and is currently on a three-fight win streak.
Prior to that defeat against Jones, Reyes has finished all but two of his previous nine opponents inside the first round, with six of those finishing by TKO/KO. Even though Błachowicz has only been stopped once in his UFC career, I believe Reyes has the knock-out power to finish Błachowicz.