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UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa Best Bets

UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa Best Bets

UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa - MMA Betting & DFS Preview

A middleweight bout between Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa headlines this UFC 253 main card. MMA expert Casey Olson runs down your best bets & DFS plays.
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UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa

#UFC253 MMA Betting & DFS Preview

Back to Fight Island we go as the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi on Saturday night for UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa. The headliner features middleweight champ Israel Adesanya putting the title on the line against undefeated challenger Paulo Costa in a fight that promises some serious action. The co-main will be somewhat of a historic moment. Jon Jones has left the light heavyweight title vacant as he moves up a weight class, providing top contenders Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz the opportunity to leave Saturday night as the new champ in one of the most talked-about divisions. Some exciting prelims can get things warmed up, with 11 fights in total scheduled for the event.

Prelims are scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. ET and the main card following at 10:00 p.m. ET this week. You can catch the prelims on ESPN2, with the main card PPV offered on ESPN+. Another successful week last week to build upon as wagers went 6-1-1 bringing the total to 135-52-4 (72%). Let’s get to it.

UFC 253 Details

  • DATE: SATURDAY 09/26/2020
  • BROADCAST: PPV – PRELIMS: ESPN 2
  • VENUE: UFC Fight Island
  • LOCATION: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • # of MATCHES: 11

MAIN CARD

MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 185LBS

(C) ISRAEL ADESANYA 19-0 VS #2 PAULO COSTA 13-0

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT 205LBS

#1 DOMINICK REYES 12-1 VS #3 JAN BLACHOWICZ 26-8

FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS

#7 KAI KARA FRANCE 21-8 VS #9 BRANDON ROYVAL 11-4

WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT 135LBS

#7 KETLEN VIEIRA 10-1 VS #13 SIJARA EUBANKS 6-4 #13

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

HAKEEM DAWODU 11-1-1 VS ZUBAIRA TUKHUGOV 19-4-1

PRELIMS

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155LBS

BRAD RIDDELL 8-1 VS ALEX DA SILVA 21-2

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

DIEGO SANCHEZ 30-12 VS JAKE MATTHEWS 16-4

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

SHANE YOUNG 13-4 VS L’UDOVIT KLEIN 16-2

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 205LBS

WILLIAM KNIGHT 8-1 VS ALEKSA CAMUR 6-0

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

JUAN ESPINO 9-1 VS JEFF HUGHES 10-3

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 205LBS

KHADIS IBRAGIMOV 8-3 VS DANILO MARQUES 9-2

MAIN EVENT PREDICTION

(C) ISRAEL ADESANYA 19-0 VS #2 PAULO COSTA 13-0

We’ve been waiting for this one for a minute. You know what they say, "styles make fights," and boy do we have a fight lined up for the main event. Israel Adesanya, the elusive technician, takes on challenger Paulo Costa, who’s fearless and will be looking to engage like a playground bully. Adesanya moved to 19-0 after he successfully defended his belt against Yoel Romero in March, which ended up somewhat of a dud. Romero, a common opponent for the champ and challenger here Paulo Costa, coincidentally happens to be Costa's last opponent. Costa was handed a unanimous decision in a very close fight, with 22 media members split down the middle on their cards. That win moved Costa to 13-0 and next in line for the shot at the belt.

Dissecting this one, you really can’t look past the overwhelming experience edge Adesanya will have on Costa. Let alone a perfect MMA record with 19 fights, Adesanya previously had six professional boxing matches and a 75-5 kickboxing record. Now boxing and kickboxing don't always translate smoothly into the MMA world, but in Adesanya’s case, I’d say the champ has validated his move went just fine. Adesanya has considerably improved his already impressive grappling defense and ability to get back to the feet if taken down. He's a general in there and will be the fighter controlling where this one goes. His elusiveness and unmatched technical standup ability have his opponents reaching points of frustration, as Adesanya picks them apart with the jab while mixing in constant faints bringing moments where he’s known to sneak the question mark kick.

On the other hand, Paulo Costa has just 13 pro fights on his resume and against a much easier strength of schedule opponent wise. Costa had some favorable matchups that have worked in his favor. His last match, his toughest to date, had a very low volume power striker Yoel Romero, doing weird stuff as he does in there, yet almost stealing the fight from the prospect. Before that, Costa TKO’d Uriah Hall, in a fight where Hall had his moments, yet the continual forward press and ability to take shots eventually gave Costa the opportunity he needed to get the fight waived off via TKO. Costa has fought fighters who will get pinned up against the cage (his preferred tactic) and more southpaws than the norm. When looking at those factors, coupled with Costa’s massive power and volume, it is easy to see why he has an 85% TKO/KO rate.

Adesanya will not fall into this Costa game plan we’ve seen fight after fight. Adesanya’s ability to limit the cage cuts, or pinning against the cage, will put him back in the driver’s seat moment after moment in this one. We will see his jab go to work, causing eventual frustration from the challenger. This frustration will open more opportunities for Adesanya to score. Costa historically gets hit in there, and will Saturday night. As a matter of fact, looking at this entire card, he absorbs more strikes per minute than any other fighter scheduled on Saturday night (6.84). It only takes one punch, and we’ve seen Adesanya get flatlined before. Once. One time in 105 total combined fights.

Adesanya will have the ability to wear down Costa and potentially end the fight inside of five rounds, or he should win on points without any issues. Costa never leverages his BJJ blackbelt, and I believe he only has one takedown ever in the UFC. He could surprise us, but highly doubtful. Additionally, leg kicks will be and should be part of both fighter’s game plans here. Successfully implementing and landing will determine where this fight goes. Expect Costa to bully Adesanya out of the shoots while looking to land the big shot. Costa eventually will fade, wearing some damage from the champ as time goes on.

PREDICTION: ISRAEL ADESANYA -160

OTHER WAGERS

(C) ISRAEL ADESANYA 19-0 VS #2 PAULO COSTA 13-0

  • 8-inch reach advantage for Adesanya.
  • Costa has finished 12 of his 13 fights in less than 8 minutes.
  • Adesanya has a 75-5 kickboxing record before MMA, only being finished once.
  • Costa, a BJJ blackbelt, has only attempted one takedown in the UFC and has never landed one. Typically a standup fighter, yet dangerous on the mat.
  • Costa was the first fighter to the scale Friday morning.

#1 DOMINICK REYES 12-1 VS #3 JAN BLACHOWICZ 26-8

  • Blachowicz is 7-1 in his last 8.
  • Reyes has never been finished.
  • Reyes' only loss is against Jon Jones in a fight many thought he won.
  • Reyes wears down as the fight goes on, and Blachowicz is much more well-rounded.
  • Disrespectful line move here.
  • BET: JAN BLACHOWICZ +230

#7 KAI KARA FRANCE 21-8 VS #9 BRANDON ROYVAL 11-4

  • Kara-France has only lost once at 125lb. (8-1)
  • Royval is a submission specialist who has won his last three via submission.
  • Kara-France's average fight time is 8:53 but has gone to the decision in all five of his UFC fights.

#7 KETLEN VIEIRA 10-1 VS #13 SIJARA EUBANKS 6-4 #13

  • Vieira has won via decision in four of her last five wins.
  • Eubanks has the edge in all striking statistics.
  • Eubanks, only 6-4, has won two in a row, including a fight just 14 days ago.

HAKEEM DAWODU 11-1-1 VS ZUBAIRA TUKHUGOV 19-4-1

  • Dawodu has been promised a top 10 opponent with a win here.
  • Dawodu will have a 5.5-inch reach advantage.
  • Tukhugov has had three of his last four fights go to split decisions.
  • Tukhogov came in 4 lbs over the weight limit.
  • Originally was going to wager Dawodu, but I will hold off with the missed weight from his opponent.

BRAD RIDDELL 8-1 VS ALEX DA SILVA 21-2

  • Silva is back after over a year out.
  • Riddell has won 5 straight fights.
  • Silva is a finisher, winning 21 of 23 inside the distance.
  • Riddell is an outstanding striker, also 30-5 in kickboxing.

DIEGO SANCHEZ 30-12 VS JAKE MATTHEWS 16-4

  • Sanchez has lost by KO in the first round in three of his last four losses.
  • Sanchez won his last fight via DQ in a fight where he was getting blown out.
  • Matthews has won by decision in four of his last five wins.
  • Matthews has the advantage in all striking and grappling stats, except sub attempts.

SHANE YOUNG 13-4 VS L’UDOVIT KLEIN 16-2

  • Young has never been finished.
  • Young has been out for 19+ months.
  • Klein is making his debut on just nine days' notice.
  • BET: YOUNG/KLEIN U2.5 RDS -110

WILLIAM KNIGHT 8-1 VS ALEKSA CAMUR 6-0

  • Knight, making his UFC debut after his TKO win on DWCS.
  • All of Knight’s wins have ended via KO.
  • Camur comes out of heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic’s camp.
  • Camur most recently defeated Justin Ledet, who typically fights at heavyweight.
  • BET: KNIGHT/CAMUR U1.5 -110

JUAN ESPINO 9-1 VS JEFF HUGHES 10-3

  • Espino has had eight of his 10 fights end in the first round.
  • Hughes is also training with Miocic camp.
  • Espino has been out of action for over 21 months.
  • Hughes is 0-2 in the UFC.
  • Espino is a submission specialist, and Hughes has never lost via submission.
  • BET: ESPINO (look via SUB +150)

KHADIS IBRAGIMOV 8-3 VS DANILO MARQUES 9-2

  • Marques will be making his UFC debut, and last fought in February of 2018.
  • Ibragimov is 0-3 in the UFC, looking for his first win under the banner.
  • Marques has finished his opponent in eight of his nine wins.
  • BET: IBRAGIMOV/MARQUES U2.5 -130

FULL MAIN CARD & PRELIM PREDICTIONS

  • ISRAEL ADESANYA defeats PAULO COSTA
  • JAN BLACHOWICZ defeats DOMINICK REYES
  • KAI KARA FRANCE defeats BRANDON ROYVAL
  • KETLEN VIEIRA defeats SIJARA EUBANKS
  • HAKEEM DAWODU defeats ZUBAIRA TUKHUGOV
  • BRAD RIDDELL defeats ALEX DA SILVA
  • JAKE MATTHEWS defeats DIEGO SANCHEZ
  • L’UDOVIT KLEIN defeats SHANE YOUNG
  • WILLIAM KNIGHT defeats ALEKSA CAMUR
  • JUAN ESPINO defeats JEFF HUGHES
  • KHADIS IBRAGIMOV defeats DANILO MARQUES

UFC PREDICTION BET SUMMARY

  • Fight card predictions overall: 292-151-8 (66%)
  • Targeted matchups (wagers): 135-52-4 (72%)

Be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook options as well, on top of the daily fantasy tournaments available for Saturday. The sportsbook has lines up and available for fight lines, method of victory, and round betting!

UFC 253: DraftKings Sportsbook

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See all of the UFC Fight Night moneylines at DraftKings Sportsbook

UFC 253 DFS Plays & Strategies

  • Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on his/her way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. Just like any other DFS traditional sport, you want the active, offensive player that scores. Key metrics here are SLpM and TD AVG/15min.
  • Play the heavyweights. The approximate overall finish rate in the UFC is 54%. Most weight divisions range from 40%-60%, while the heavyweights push a 75% finish rate. You will receive bonus points for finishes inside the distance.
  • Try always to include the main event or title fights. Five round fights mean more time to rack up points if you pick the right fighter. In some cases, even if you have the loser, the points can be more than a three-round winner.
  • Don’t get excited and rush a pick based on stats; consider sample size. Some fighters have limited fights compared to their opponents when looking at metrics. Stats could be exaggerated. Do your research. Watch for spots with debuting fighters as well. Always check the records of the opponents they faced on their way to the UFC. Always pull fight tape as well. You’d be surprised at what you will find.
  • Review methods of victory. I supply the finish rates within this article, and as you dive in more, you can compare method of victory to method of loss for the matchups. For example, you can find matchups where Fighter A has a high percentage of submission victories matched up with Fighter B, with a high number of submission losses.

As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC 253. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are in MMA DFS. Take a glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual matchups below.

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Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents; watch your points rack up quickly. Here's my Offensive Output Meter for the card. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday.

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UFC 253 Final Recommendations

  • Fighters that typically press the action, land takedowns, and/or high finish rates matched up against those that get finished, roster. (see my charts above)
  • Fights projected to NOT go to a decision
    • Knight/Camur -280
    • Reyes/Blachowicz -230
    • Adesanya/Costa -210
    • Hughes/Espino -190
    • Ibragimov/Marques -175
    • Young/Klein -155
    • Riddell/Da Silva -150
  • As usual, take a look at the main event with five rounds to score. I’m siding with Adesanya.
  • Top-tier fighters to build around include Espino & Riddell.
  • Mid-tier fighter considerations are Adesanya & Klein.
  • Live dogs are Knight & Blachowicz

MORE UFC

- Adesanya, Costa Put Undefeated Streaks on the Line at UFC 253

UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa

#UFC253 MMA Betting & DFS Preview

Back to Fight Island we go as the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi on Saturday night for UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa. The headliner features middleweight champ Israel Adesanya putting the title on the line against undefeated challenger Paulo Costa in a fight that promises some serious action. The co-main will be somewhat of a historic moment. Jon Jones has left the light heavyweight title vacant as he moves up a weight class, providing top contenders Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz the opportunity to leave Saturday night as the new champ in one of the most talked-about divisions. Some exciting prelims can get things warmed up, with 11 fights in total scheduled for the event.

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