UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa Main Event Odds and Picks

UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa Main Event Odds and Picks
Israel Adesanya. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a jam-packed schedule and this Saturday we are getting what should be a very entertaining title fight between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa

Saturday, September 26, 2020 – 11:59 PM EDT at UFC Fight Island

In the main event of the evening, Israel Adesanya defends his UFC middleweight championship against fellow unbeaten fighter Paulo Costa. UFC 253 takes place at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. There will not be fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With plenty of betting lines and markets currently available, let’s attempt to find some value for our UFC picks on Saturday’s main event.

Israel Adesanya. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Israel Adesanya

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

A former kickboxer, Israel Adesanya is a unique fighter who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and is based in New Zealand. The reigning UFC middleweight champion is undefeated in his career and he's been compared to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.

Adesanya trained taekwondo when he was young but his mother stopped taking him to class after he broke his arm. He eventually moved to New Zealand and started training in kickboxing when he was 18 years old. The Muay Thai movie Ong-Bak inspired him and he moved to China before returning to New Zealand. At the age of 21, he began to train at City Kickboxing with Kia Kara-France and Dan Hooker.

Adesanya's professional career began in 2012 and he fought in New Zealand, Australia and China, going 11-0 with 11 TKOs. The UFC signed him in December 2017 and he debuted at UFC 221, knocking out Rob Wilkinson in the second round. He is 8-0 in the UFC, with wins against Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.

Adesanya faced Whittaker in a title unification bout on October 5th, 2019 at UFC 243 and he won the fight via knockout in the second round to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. In his last fight, he won a unanimous decision against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on March 7th.

  • Born: July 22nd, 1989
  • Age: 31
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 185 lbs
  • Reach: 80″
  • Stance: Switch
  • Association: City Kickboxing
  • Class: Middleweight
  • Record: 19-0


Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
14 wins by KO/TKO3.96 Landed0% Accuracy
0 wins by Submission2.40 Absorbed86% Defended
5 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Rangy, technical striker
  • Went 75-5 as a professional kickboxer and 5-1 as a professional boxer
  • Strong takedown defense
  • Undefeated across all MMA promotions

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Can he weather the storm?

Paulo Costa. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images/AFP

Paulo Costa

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

Better known as Paulo Borrachinha in his home country of Brazil, Paulo Costa debuted in mixed martial arts in February 2012 and went 8-0 with seven knockouts and one submission over the next five years. Also nicknamed The Eraser, Costa debuted in the UFC on March 11th, 2017, knocking out Gareth McLellan in the first round at UFC Fight Night 106 to earn a Performance of the Night award.

Costa followed it up with wins against Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall and Yoel Romero in his next four fights. He beat Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 241 on August 17th, 2019 and won a Fight of the Night award. He comes into this fight with purpose: “I don’t want to just become the winner above him. I’d like to, I want to hurt him badly.”

Born: April 21st, 1991
Age: 29
Country: Brazil
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 185 lbs
Reach: 72″
Stance: Orthodox
Association: Team Borracha
Class: Middleweight
Record: 13-0


Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
11 wins by KO/TKO8.43 Landed0% Accuracy
1 win by Submission6.84 Absorbed80% Defended
1 win by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Terrific striker
  • Has incredible power
  • Strong takedown defense
  • Undefeated across all MMA promotions
  • Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Octagon Weaknesses

  • He's pretty hittable (6.84 significant strikes absorbed per minute)


Israel Adesanya's run in mixed martial arts has been incredible but he is facing his toughest test to date. Adesanya and Costa are both undefeated, which means that one of them will suffer the first loss of his career. Who will beat the UFC odds on Saturday?

Adesanya is a gifted champion with backgrounds in kickboxing and boxing while Costa is not as technical. Costa likes to overwhelm his opponents with his power. He's averaging 8.43 strikes landed per minute (more than any other fighter in UFC history).

Both fighters rely heavily on striking and have exceptional takedown defense. Per UFCStats.com, Adesanya's 86 percent takedown defense ranks second highest in the history of the division. Costa, on the other hand, has an 80 percent takedown defense.

Costa has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) but he loves to stay on his feet, just like Adesanya. Unlike Adesanya, Costa has a submission win under his belt, giving him a slight edge there. The key to this fight for Adesanya will be how well he can counter Costa with hard strikes. He has to find a way to keep him from coming forward. Costa has more weapons at his disposal but Adesanya has natural creativity and more experience.

My Pick: Israel Adesanya -160 at Intertops (visit our Intertops Review)

Israel Adesanya-160
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