A five-week stay for the UFC on Fight Island kicks off in earnest on Saturday with UFC 253 from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main event will feature undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (19-0) looking to defend his title for the second time against an undefeated challenger in Paulo Costa (13-0).
It is only the second title fight in UFC history that will feature two unblemished records. It will also feature two men who genuinely dislike each other. The fight was supposed to take place earlier this year, but Costa underwent biceps surgery.
It will be Adesanya’s first fight since his decision over Yoel Romero on March 7, a fight that was widely panned for a lack of action. Few expect the same result from a fight with Costa, who is an aggressive fighter usually pursuing an early finish.
And because the fight is not in the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, the fights will be held in a bigger cage. Will that help Adesanya, who’s generally considered to have better movement and range?
And in the co-main event, the UFC’s vacant light heavyweight title is up for grabs between Dominick Reyes (12-1) and Jan Blachowicz (26-8). Former champion Jon Jones dropped the title earlier this year in an anticipated move to heavyweight. Saturday will witness the first 205-pound champion not named Jones or Daniel Cormier since 2011.
The UFC 253 main card starts at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV. Marc Raimondi, Brett Okamoto and Jeff Wagenheim recap the fights as they happen on Fight Island.
Still to come:
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya (c) (19-0, 8-0 UFC, -180) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0, 5-0 UFC, +160)
Light heavyweight: Dominick Reyes (12-1, 6-1 UFC, -270) vs. Jan Blachowicz (26-8, 9-5 UFC, +230)
Men’s flyweight: Kai Kara-France (21-8, 4-1 UFC, -230) vs. Brandon Royval (11-4, 1-0 UFC, +190)
Women’s bantamweight: Ketlen Vieira (10-1, 4-1 UFC, -185) vs. Sijara Eubanks (7-4, 4-2 UFC, +165)
Men’s featherweight: Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1, 4-1 UFC, +115) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1, 4-1-1 UFC, -135)
Lightweight: Brad Riddell (8-1, 2-0 UFC, -320) vs. Alex Da Silva (21-2, 1-1 UFC, +260)
Welterweight: Diego Sanchez (31-12, 19-12 UFC, +500) vs. Jake Matthews (16-4, 9-4 UFC, -700)
Men’s featherweight: Shane Young (13-4, 2-1 UFC, +100) vs. Ludovit Klein (16-2, 0-0 UFC, -120)
Light heavyweight: William Knight (8-1, 0-0 UFC, +135) vs. Aleksa Camur (6-0, 1-0 UFC, -155)
Heavyweight: Juan Espino (10-1, 1-0 UFC, -300) vs. Jeff Hughes (10-31 NC, 1-2 1 NC UFC, +250)
Light heavyweight: Khadis Ibragimov (8-3, 0-3 UFC, -160) vs. Danilo Marques (9-2, 0-0 UFC, +140)
(c) = defending champion
Source: Read Full Article