The Ultimate Fighting Championship Carnival returns to ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi for a UFC 253 card marked by a massive all-or-nothing middleweight title fight. Read on to discover the stories and tales surrounding Saturday’s fight for the king of the 185lbs division at UFC 253.
Israel Adesanya’s defense of his crown against Paulo Costa has been a long time coming, and the challenger’s record of 12 stoppages in his 13 career fights underscores the risk of the Brazilian claiming his belt.
UFC 253 – where and when?
UFC 253 will take place behind closed doors on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island on Saturday, September 26th.
The first preliminary rounds begin in the USA at 7:00 p.m. CET. The main card is expected to begin around 1
ESPN + is your location in the US and we have more details below.
With a real dislike between the two fighters outside the octagon, a memorable grudge game is about to begin. Adesanya has won 8-0 in his UFC career, Costa with a 5-0 record, but neither of them have any losses in terms of MMA either.
The strong bill also features a co-main event in the form of the light heavyweight fight for the vacant title between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz, with the belt on the line after Jon Jones decided to move up to the heavyweight division.
UFC 253 is the first in a series of five new events planned for the UFC Fight Island campus in Abu Dhabi, following the successful series of events on the island in July. Upcoming events on Yas Island include UFC Fight Nights with Holly Holm, Marlon Moraes and Chan Sung Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie”.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about UFC 253, or head straight to our UFC 253 live stream info page if you just want to know where to catch the event from your corner of the world .
UFC 253 FAQ
Who are Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa?
Nigerian-born, New Zealand-based Israel Adesanya has seen a rapid rise in the UFC ranks, moving from newcomer to middleweight champion in less than two years. The big anime fan, nicknamed ‘The Last Stylebender’, has a 19-0 career record with an 8-0 in the Octagon. All of these eight UFC wins have come since February 2018.
The 31-year-old claimed his title last October by defeating Robert Whittaker. The former kickboxer beat Yoel Romero in an extremely disappointing decisive battle in March.
Paulo Costa, nicknamed “The Eraser” has a 13-0 career record, 11 of which were knocked out.
The Brazilian, who saw a similar meteoric rise as Adesanya, made his professional UFC Fight Night debut in March 2017. A massive man for the 185-pound division, Costa is only the middleweight in UFC history to begin his octagon career with four knockout wins in a row.The ratio of 8.43 hits per minute is the highest rate in the UFC History.
Who is the favorite to win the battle between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa?
Adesanya’s champion status may give him the advantage with the bookies, but it’s not a significant one – Briton William Hill ranked him a -170 favorite with Costa listed as a +150 underdog.
When was the last time Adesanya and Costa stepped in the cage?
Adesanya’s last appearance at the Octagon and his first title defense hurt his reputation as one of the sport’s great entertainers as the Kiwi was noticeably cagey and unwilling to make the UFC 248 headline against Yoel Romero. Despite the uncomplicated performance, Adesanya still gave a unanimous decision on points.
It’s been over a year since Costa’s last fight, which was also played against Yoel Romero. The Brazilian also kept his distance and won by a unanimous decision on points at the UFC 241 clash.
What are the other highlights of UFC 253?
As mentioned above, in addition to the main event, there is also another title fight on the bill, with Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz’s light heavyweight showdown.
The card also features an exciting flyweight match between Kai Kara-France in seventh and Brandon Royval, as well as an intriguing bantamweight match between Ketlen Vieira and Sijara Eubanks. Vieira wants to return to winning ways after her first career loss to Irene Adlana last December.
How to watch UFC 253 online in the US exclusively on ESPN
Over in the US for the perfect UFC 253 stream? ESPN + has had exclusive rights for a year, which means it’s the only place you can watch it.
There are two cost options that depend entirely on whether or not you have already subscribed to the service. If you don’t, the best way to go is to get a UFC bundle that will cost you $ 84.98. That gives you both the UFC 253 PPV and a one-year subscription to ESPN + (that would typically cost $ 50 alone).
You can also just purchase access to UFC 253 for $ 64.99. You can tune in to catch the full action including the preliminary matches on Saturday, September 26th from 7pm.
What does a UFC fan get with their ESPN + subscription?
In addition to all of Abu Dhabi’s Saturday promotion, a subscription to ESPN + opens up access to exclusive live UFC fight nights, as well as original content like Dana White’s Contender series, UFC Destined and Ariel & The Bad Guy, as well as classic fights and reruns and there is too the benefit of less advertising.
The UFC 253 card completely:
Israel Adesanya (c) versus Paulo Costa – middleweight
Dominick Reyes versus Jan Błachowicz – light heavyweight
Kai Kara-France versus Brandon Royval – flyweight
Ketlen Vieira versus Sijara Eubanks – women’s bantamweight
Hakeem Dawodu versus Zubaira Tukhugov – featherweight
Brad Riddell versus Alex da Silva – lightweight
Diego Sanchez versus Jake Matthews – welterweight
Shane Young against ovudovít Klein – featherweight
William Knight versus Aleksa Camur – light heavyweight
Juan Espino versus Jeff Hughes – Heavyweight
Khadis Ibragimov versus Danilo Marques – light heavyweight