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UFC 253 Preview: Israel Adesanya defends middleweight title against Paulo Costa, and more

Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa will headline UFC 253
Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa will headline UFC 253
Soumik Datta
ANALYST
Modified 26 Sep 2020, 05:05 IST
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Fight fans all around the world are geared up for yet another exciting week of action featuring the highly-awaited UFC Middleweight Championship clash between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa at UFC 253. The middleweight pair will finally cross paths against one another at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, as Dana White and his promotion return to the Yas Island AKA UFC Fight Island.

However, that's not all in-store. The co-main event of the evening will mark the beginning of a historic title reign, as for the first time in years the UFC is set to crown a new light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier. Fighting for the vacant title is Dominick Reyes, who faces The Pride of Poland, Jan Blachowicz.

UFC Middleweight Championship (Main Event)- Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa

Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa have been feuding against one another for months now. Matter of fact, the two have been going at each other prior to Adesanya's last title defense over Yoel Romero and the two undefeated fighters will finally settle the beef this weekend.

In his first 25 months on the UFC roster, Adesanya went 8-0 inside the Octagon, winning the interim middleweight title in one of 2019’s best fights opposite Kelvin Gastelum before unifying the belts with a second-round finish of Robert Whittaker last October. In his first title defense, “The Last Stylebender” edged out Yoel Romero in a tactical chess match that allowed the Nigerian-born New Zealander to maintain his place atop the division.

 Speaking to the media ahead of UFC 253, Adesanya said:

“The only people he ever beat that are worthy of anything are two guys that are ranked, Uriah Hall and Romero. Who else has he beat that’s ranked? I can list you four guys that I have. You have to understand there’s levels to this. Like I said, he’s dumb, but that’s what makes him dangerous as well because he’s not scared to walk forward and throw punches and kicks all around the Octagon. I don't like these kind of trash-talkers. This sport don't need this kind of attitude. You don't need this to sell a good fight. You just need to go and make a good fight.”

Costa made his UFC debut in 2017 by knocking out Garreth McLellan in 77 seconds. Costa followed that win with three second-round knockout victories over Oluwale Bamgbose, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. The Brazilian has a perfect 5-0 record inside the Octagon and is 13-0 overall, with his Fight of the Night-winning victory over Romero at UFC 241 last summer standing as the best fight of his career to date.

Speaking to the media ahead of UFC 253, Costa took a jibe at Adesanya and said:

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“I really think he has good skills. His best skill is running away, avoiding the fight. He’s very good on that. Very good when he wants to do that. I try to ask him why he just stood when he faced Romero. The only thing more disturbing than his hair was his fight against Romero.”

The highly anticipated main event between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa could be over within the blink of an eye. This fight has been labeled as 'Precision vs Power', based on the style of the champion and the challenger. However, there is a possibility that this one goes the full five rounds of a championship fight. The only thing that remains certain is that the entire world is counting down the hours and is waiting for Adesanya and Costa to finally square-off, in a fight that is guaranteed to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (Co-main event)- Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz

The UFC Light Heavyweight Division will mark the beginning of a new era this weekend, as Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz are set to battle for the vacant title.

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Dominick Reyes is a former NFL hopeful with sneaky athleticism, long limbs, and proven finishing abilities but will be entering this fight on back of a loss to Jon Jones in February. Prior to his UFC 247 encounter with Jones, the American has comfortable wins over Chris Weidman and posted quality performances against former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Ovince Saint Preux to solidify his standing as one of the top contenders in the division. Now, seven months after nearly dethroning one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, Reyes ventures back into the Octagon, focused on walking out with the light heavyweight belt around his waist this time around.

Speaking to the media ahead of one of the most important fights of his career, Reyes said:

“My goal in every fight is to finish the fight. You never go into a fight looking for a decision, but sometimes you run into some dude that can just take everything you’ve got and it goes to a decision. That’s not something I’m thinking about or worrying about it all. I obviously enjoy finishing fights, I like finishing fights – there’s no better feeling in the world than knocking someone out. I love that feeling and I want to get back to it.”

At one point, Jan Blachowicz lost four out of five bouts in UFC, winning one against a low-profile Igor Pokrajac. After that, Blachowicz won seven out of eight bouts, the last one against Corey Anderson, avenging the defeat from UFC 191. Following that knockout in February, the 37-year-old Blachowicz is now the No. 3 ranked fighter in the 205-pound division. The Polish veteran is fundamentally sound and well-rounded with a lot of power and a sneaky good submission game which was his go-to strategy in fights against Nikita Krylov, Luke Rockhold, and Corey Anderson.

 Speaking to the media ahead of UFC 253, Blachowicz said:

“I’m going to be ready, for sure, 100%, for this fight. I hope he will be ready also. I don’t want any excuse after the fight. That’s it. We’ve got the same time. I’ve got six weeks, he’s got six weeks, so for me, it’s not a problem. I’m happy, I’m excited, I cannot wait to step into the octagon and start punching him.”
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With both fighters sitting at the top of the light heavyweight division, both men have proved that they equally deserve an opportunity to fight for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. The only question that now remains is, will the second time be the charm for Reyes to claim the belt this year, or will Blachowicz once again flash his Polish power and earn UFC gold in the process?

How, where, and when to watch UFC 253 in India?

The UFC 253 main card will be telecasted on September 27, 2020, and will be LIVE and Exclusive on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 2, and Sony Ten 3 (In Hindi). The LIVE telecast begins at 7.30 AM IST.

Watch UFC 253 - featuring two title bouts on September 27, 2020 LIVE and Exclusive on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels from 7.30 am IST

Published 25 Sep 2020, 23:48 IST
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