- Date & Location: Saturday Sept. 26 @ TBA
- Odds: Israel Adesanya -165, Paulo Costa +135
The long talked about bout between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa headlines the upcoming UFC 253 pay-per-view card. The UFC has not announced the location of the September 26 fight card.
Both fighters sport undefeated records. Adesanya is 19-0 with one successful defense of the 185-pound title to his name. That defense was his March decision win over Yoel Romero. Costa is unbeaten in his 13 career professional MMA fights. Costa, who is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the official UFC middleweight rankings, also defeated Romero in his most recent bout. Costa earned a decision over the former title challenger in August 2019 in a fight-night bonus winning scrap.
This matchup is just the second time in UFC history that two undefeated fighters have fought for a title.
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ADESANYA vs. COSTA ODDS
ADESANYA vs. COSTA PREDICTION & PICK
There is no love lost between these two middleweights. The trash talk between Adesanya and Costa has been at a fever pitch for some time and now that the fight is official, don’t expect that to slow. However, that’s just the appetizer to what UFC president Dana White has declared will be the “fight of the year.”
In Adesanya, who goes by the accurate and appropriate nickname of “The Last Stylebender,” you have one of the most talented fighters to join the UFC roster in some time. The champion’s striking game and technical ability have been exponentially higher than that of his previous opponents. That fact holds true in this fight, but it doesn’t mean that Costa doesn’t have a shot to dethrone Adesanya from the top of the 185-pound heap. He does.
While Adesanya might have the skills, Costa has power and aggression on his side. He is likely to come out strong and use his strength to push Adesanya around and look for an early knockout. Of his 13 professional victories, Costa has scored 11 knockouts and eight of those came in the first round.
I see Adesanya’s technical ability carrying him to victory.
Pick: Adesanya (-165)
BETTING VALUE WITH ADESANYA
Adesanya is a dangerous and aggressive striker. However, I don’t think he will be very offensive-minded in the early going of this matchup. Costa has never gone the five-round distance and he has only gone three rounds once before. I think Adesanya will play a safe defensive game in the early going of this fight, hoping Costa drains his cardio early. If that happens I believe Adesanya will pick up his attacks.
It’s not out of the question that Adesanya will score a knockout later in the fight or off a counter early. He has 14 wins by knockout. Taking everything into account, I believe Adesanya keeps his title with a decision victory, but a knockout bet for either man is not entirely out of the question.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Adesanya is coached by one of the best minds in MMA today. That man, Eugene Bareman, is the head coach at Auckland, New Zealand’s City Kickboxing. Bareman does not have a big team, but it has been one of the most successful fight teams in the world over the past few years. Bareman’s attention to detail and his ability to get his fighters to buy into his planning gives his fighters an advantage no matter the opponent. When you add Adesanya’s talent and understanding of the fight game on top of Bareman’s coaching, it’s hard not to give the middleweight champion the edge in this fight.
FIGHT STATS: ADESANYA vs. COSTA
|Israel Adesanya||Category||Paulo Costa|
|3.96||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||8.43|
|2.40||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||6.84|
|0.00||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.00|
|0.30||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.00|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
White is setting the expectations very high for this matchup. One month before the event, White promised that it will be the best fight of 2020 and that is entirely possible. With both fighters having zero takedowns during their UFC careers, fight fans can expect this bout to take place on the feet as long as it lasts.
The 185-pound title is the big prize when Adesanya and Costa face off, but coming in a close second will be the victor’s ability to gloat about handing the vanquished fighter his first and only career loss.