UFC 253: Two title fights for UFC fans to enjoy this weekend and we preview both, along with a recommended bet for each.

Last week’s huge Fight Night event has served as the perfect appetizer for UFC fans as they prepare for the latest PPV event this weekend, back at Fight Island, which sees Israel Adesanya defend his Middleweight belt against Paulo Costa.

Adesanya v Costa

A true worldwide affair heads the bill at UFC 253 as Nigerian-born and New Zealand based Israel Adesanya faces off with Brazilian powerhouse Paulo Costa. Adesanya, a kickboxer by trade, is both the champion and an undefeated fighter, with a 19-0 professional record, and so comes into this as the 1.55 favourite. Across from him will stand Costa, a knockout artist who is also yet to taste defeat after 13 fights, and can be backed at 2.52.

Adesanya is coming off an underwhelming points victory over Yoel Romero in his first title defence back in March, where he did just enough to get his hand raised, in what many described as a snoozefest. Similarly, Costa’s last appearance in the octagon was also against Romero back in August 2019, winning via decision also. Since then however, Costa has had surgery on his arm, hence the delay in this fight coming together.

When the bell rings in the early hours of Sunday morning, expect to see Adesanya utilize his unique movements to his advantage whilst the more immobile Costa will come forward with pressure, in search of a KO. Adesanya will no doubt look to his kicks to keep his foe at a safe distance, but in his own words he is expecting “fast violence”.

Cardio could prove to be the key in this fight. In his five UFC bouts to date, Costa has only ever gone three rounds on one occasion, and he has never been in a five round fight. Comparatively, Adesanya has spent 25 minutes in the octagon in three of his eight UFC contests, including a war for the ages against Kelvin Gastelum last year.

It should be a cracking clash of styles, physical attributes and personalities, but based on his speed, accuracy, and experience in these big events, we’ll go with the champ to keep hold of his UFC gold.

Recommended bet: Back Adesanya to win at 1.55

Reyes v Blachowicz

The co-main event at UFC 253 is also a title fight as Dominick Reyes (12-1-0) and Jan Blachowicz (26-8-0) will battle it out for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt, previously held by Jon Jones. Despite hiding in the shadow of the main event, this fight should not disappoint.

Due to the vacation of the belt, this will be Reyes’ second consecutive title fight at this weight. In his last outing, he may have suffered decision loss to Jones, but in doing so showcased his emerging talent and proved he belongs at this level. He now sits as the #1 ranked Light Heavyweight, is a 1.36 favourite to come out victorious, and rightfully so.

Meanwhile Blachowicz, seven years his opponent’s senior, comes into this fight off the back of a hat-trick of wins in just over twelve months, with his most recent a brutal knockout of Corey Anderson back in February. The Polish veteran is aiming to become the first man from his country to claim a UFC title, in what is most certainly his last opportunity to do so. The underdog can be backed at 3.35.

Stylistically speaking these two fighters differ in that Reyes is a striker, with three KO wins since his UFC debut in 2017. Blachowicz focuses on Brazilian jiu-jitsu but packs a punch at the same time. Looking at the Pole’s last eight fights, only three have been left in the hands of the judges. He has won two via submission, two via knockout, and has one defeat in that time to the only man between Blachowicz and Reyes in the rankings.

For this one, we are going to go with Reyes. Age is on his side, and at 30 years old he is in his prime. He’s just gone five rounds, toe-to-toe, with the Greatest of All Time, and providing he produces a performance of similar standing, Reyes should have his hand raised before the final bell is out.

Recommended bet: Back Reyes to win at 1.36