UFC 253 Predictions, Free Bets & Picks: Paulo Costa to Stun Israel Adesanya

UFC 253 Betting predictions and odds

UFC 253 Betting Preview

Two titles will be on the line at UFC 253 on Fight Island this Saturday, but a middleweight championship bout between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa has stolen most of the headlines.

Both fighters boast unbeaten records thus far in their careers, but only one can leave the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi with a perfect slate intact.

Adesanya (19-0) will seek to defend the title for a second time having beaten Yoel Romero by unanimous decision in his last bout back in March. Costa (13-0) enjoyed an identical result when he met the same opponent in August 2019—the first time in his career he’s failed to finish a foe—though the Brazilian attracted bigger plaudits for his all-out approach compared to Adesanya’s dull meeting with Romero.

More than one year after he was last in action, Costa is a +141 underdog with Sugarhouse to get the better of his Kiwi counterpart. The unpredictability of this matchup makes those odds attractive considering anything could unfold between two special fighters, neither of whom have many glaring weaknesses to gauge.

UFC 253 Predictions

Our Prediction ob Adesanya and Costa is Costa by decision.

Adesanya, 31, has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the UFC, going from debut to a world title in a little more than one year. He enters the clash as -175 favorite, but there’s a feeling the forward momentum lies with Costa, the more powerful striker of the two by some distance.

Sugarhouse lists the fight as +175 to go the distance, which has appeal considering neither fighter has lost, never mind been finished. Costa has knocked out 11 of his 13 opponents and showcased superb stamina in his brawl with Romero; it’s very plausible the accumulation of his hard, high-level striking will have a greater impact over time on Adesanya.

Six-foot “Borrachinha” has an eight-inch reach deficit, is yet to go more than three rounds and has more bulk to carry, whereas his upcoming target has emerged as victor over that distance on three occasions. That said, no-one can deny the Costa’s freakish commitment to his conditioning, and this has been his first training camp preparing him for a trip into the championship rounds if required.

Adesanya could prove too elusive to finish, giving all the more reason for new Jersey customers to jump on Sugarhouse‘s +750 odds Costa will win via decision. Should his bullish style clearly earn him at least the first three rounds, even a struggle to the 25-minute mark could bag him the belt if he makes it across the line.

“The Eraser” is otherwise a +200 choice to win with any finish, as he has done for the majority of his career. The defending champion’s durability was proved to an extent after brawls with Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum; the issue for Adesanya is that Costa’s strength appears on another level compared to any other in the division.

Saturday’s fight looks likely to take place largely standing up, where each combatant is most at home, but the challenger boasts a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu compared to the champion’s blue, giving Costa the advantage should a ground battle ensue.

Expect to see the Adesanya forced to display some fine evasive manoeuvres to avoid heavy blows, but “The Last Stylebender” can’t afford to take too many of Costa’s precision punches. Numerous of Borrachinha’s knocks on Romero looked worthy of a knockout finish, and there’s no evidence to date Adesanya is as capable of responding to the same impact.

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Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa Moneyline Odds

Israel Adesanya: -175

Paulo Costa: +141

UFC 253 Info

Date: Saturday, September 26

Venue: Flash Forum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Viewing Info: ESPN/ESPN2, ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass

Card Schedule/Times

Early Prelims: 7 p.m. ET (12 a.m. BST)

Prelims: 8 p.m. ET (1 a.m. BST)

Main Card: 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. BST)

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