UFC 253 Main Event Title Fight: Paulo Costa vs. Israel Adesanya Odds, Preview, and Prediction
We may be looking at the 'fight of the year' Saturday night. The Middleweight championship will be on the line as Paulo Costa looks to dethrone Isreal Adesanya in the UFC's return to Fight Island. Both of these fighters are undefeated, but this will change for one of them after Saturday.
Middleweight Matchup (185): Israel Adesanya (19-0-0) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0-0)
We shouldn't let the snoozefest with Yoel Romero dictate our perception of Adesanya. Even though it was one of the most boring fights of all time in March 2020, Adesanya is usually an entertaining striker to watch. Also, some would argue that he's the most technical striker in the UFC as he possesses a high level kickboxing background. Adesanya has a high 78% KO/TKO rate with 14 of his 19 victories coming by KO/TKO. His last 3 fights have been against Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, and Kelvin Gastelum. We tend to forget that he had the 'fight of the year' against Gastelum in 2019 to win the interim UFC Middleweight Championship, and that he KO'd Whittaker to unify the UFC Middleweight Championship in October 2019. His success in the octagon has much to do with the fact that he is very 'long' for the division standing at 6'4 with a 80 inch reach. It should be noted that he will have a massive 8 inch reach advantage against Costa in this fight and he will certainly use that to his advantage. He will also look to use his championship experience of going 5 rounds that Costa doesn't have. His average fight time of 15:53 is much longer compared to Costa's average fight time of 5:21. At 31 years old, Adesanya will look to secure his second official title defense and climb the 'GOAT' rankings.
Costa will be looking to take the championship title away from Adesanya Saturday night. Costa is living up to this nickname 'The Eraser' because he has only gone to decision once in his career. He has a 92% KO/TKO rate in his victories and has scored 11 KO/TKO wins in his 13 career fights. But, as scary as Costa is on the feet, he also has a black belt in BJJ that he hasn't had to use in the UFC thus far. He is 4-0 in the UFC and most recently defeated Yoel Romero via split decision in August 2019. In that fight. he proved that he can keep a high pace for 3 rounds and that he has an iron chin. The biggest question coming into this bout is how he will fair in his first 5 round fight. Since he is a brick shithouse (walks around at 220 too), his gas tank will be tested if he's not able to put Adesanya out in the first 3 rounds. Costa has had a bit of a layoff due to injury, but he's licking he chops to fight a guy he doesn't like at all. He is a pressure fighter that always looks to come forward and go for the KO blow with both punches and kicks. Costa has an insane rate of 8.83 significant strikes per minute compared to Adesanya's 3.96 per minute. But, Costa absorbs 5.79 significant strikes per minute compared to Adesanya's 2.4 strikes per minute. Adesanya is elusive and very hard to hit, so Costa has to stay composed in the octagon if he finds himself missing his shots more than he's landing. He has to find the discipline to not chase Adesanya around the octagon and learn to pick his shots in this 5 round fight.
All I can say is that we can expect a stand up fight as none of these guys have attempted a takedown in the UFC. As far as betting in concerned, I think Adesanya as a (-185) favourite is steep considering how scary and powerful Costa has been thus far in the UFC. With that being said, I firmly believe this will be a tale of 2 fights. The first half of the fight will be Costa's chance to win by KO/TKO, while the last half of the fight will favour Adesanya to win by KO/TKO or a decision. My heart says Costa will win by KO/TKO, by my brain says Adesanya will win by decision. I just hope for our sake that it's not another boring title fight like the Romero one. But, everyone likes fighters that will bring it every time in the octagon and Costa has proven to do that, so let's take the dog in this one at a good price for a KO/TKO win. AND NEW...
Prediction: Costa (+155)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Costa by KO/TKO (+240)