On Saturday, September 26th, the UFC returns to PPV with UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa. This stacked card features a main event showdown for the middleweight title as Israel Adesanya defends his belt against Paulo Costa.
The co-main event of the night is an exciting matchup where Dominick Reyes takes on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight belt. Also on the PPV portion of the show are notable fighters like Kai Kara-France, Ketlen Vieira and Hakeem Dawodu.
UFC betting sites have released odds for the entire PPV portion of the show. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these betting odds, identify any betting value, and calf kick these predictions.
The PPV opener is a featherweight bout between two prospects looking to crack into the Top 15. A win in this contest could go a long way for each fighter’s desire to move up into the division.
Hakeem Dawodu is making his 2020 debut as he hasn’t fought in 10 months where he beat Julio Arce via split decision. Dawodu lost his UFC debut over two years ago, but has won four straight fights and sits 4-1 inside the octagon.
Dawodu is a very dangerous striker with a Muay Thai background. Seven of his 11 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 4-0-1 when going the distance.
Zubair Tukhugov sports a 4-1-1 record in the UFC and last fought in February where he defeated Kevin Aguilar via 1st round TKO. Tukhugov is power puncher with strong grappling skills who is not afraid of grinding out a win on the mat.
Eight of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. Tukhugov is 11-2-1 when going the distance.
The first fight of the PPV will pit a grappler versus striker in what should be a highly competitive matchup. Tukhugov has the slight edge with the oddsmakers because he can fight both upright and on the mat.
The Over/Under is set at 2.5 rounds with the Over favored at -210. The fight is also favored to go the distance at -185. I believe both of these will hit.
Tukhugov has gone the distance in 14 of his 23 pro fights. Dawodu has seen the scorecards in three of his last four contests.
As for the winner, I am going with Tukhugov to pick up the decision victory. I see the Russian fighter getting this fight to the mat where he will be in control for long stretches at a time. As long as he survives the early storm from Dawodu, Tukhugov should be able to win via unanimous decision.
Hakeem Dawodu vs Zubair Tukhugov –Tukhugov (-120)
Over 2.5 rounds (-210)
Fight goes the distance (-185)
Tukhugov wins via decision (+185)
Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks
Ketlen Vieira (-170)
Sijara Eubanks (+150)
Over (-335)/Under (+275) 2.5 rounds
This is the only women’s fight on UFC 253 and it’s a Top 13 battle in the bantamweight division.
The 13th ranked Sijara Eubanks is making a quick turnaround as she fought two weeks ago and defeated Julia Avila via unanimous decision. Eubanks has won two straight fights and is hoping that a win this weekend will catapult her into the Top 10 and one step closer to a title shot.
Eight of her 10 pro fights have gone the distance. She sports a 4-4 record in these contests.
The 7th ranked Ketlen Vieira Started off 10-0 in her career and 4-0 inside the octagon before she suffered defeat to Irene Aldana last December. Vieira is looking to get back on track with a win over a rugged opponent this weekend.
Six of her 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. She’s 4-0 when going the distance.
Vieira is the bigger fighter of the two with a four inch height and two inch reach advantage. She also likes to turn her fights into a physical, grinding bout which is not what Eubanks wants here.
I give Sijara credit for the quick turnaround, but I think she’s bitten off more than she can chew in this contest. I expect Vieira to close the distance, keep this fight inside the proverbial phone booth or on the mat, and grind out the decision victory. Eubanks has never been stopped in her career.
Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-335) at MMA betting sites and for this bout to go the distance (-300). Four of Vieira’s last six fights have gone the full three rounds. For Eubanks, 80% of her pro fights have gone the distance.
The best value for this bout is with Vieira’s odds for a decision victory (+105).
Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks –Vieira (-170)
Over 2.5 rounds (-335)
Fight goes the distance (-300)
Vieira wins via decision (+105)
Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Royval
Kai Kara-France (-240)
Brandon Royval (+200)
Over (-170)/Under (+150) 2.5 rounds
For two Top 10 ranked fighters in the flyweight division, I am surprised at the disparity in these betting odds. One would think this fight should be closer with oddsmakers as it is with fight pundits.
The 9th ranked Brandon Royval was successful in his UFC debut by defeating Tim Elliott via 2nd round submission in May. 10 of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. He’s 1-4 when going the distance.
“I want to go out there make a statement, show my hard work, and show what I put out there. We’ll go from there. I definitely want a quick turnaround, but I’m fighting Kai Kara-France, and who knows what could happen. It could be a war. It’s going to be an exciting fight, and exciting fights don’t end up in quick turnarounds, so we’ll see.”
Kai Kara-France is 4-1 inside the octagon with all five of those contests going the distance. He last competed in February and beat Tyson Nam, via unanimous decision. 12 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO. He’s 9-4 when going the distance.
Kara-France pushes a high pace and is active from the opening seconds of the fight. Royval has the gas tank to match his pace, which makes this flyweight contest a contender for a fight night bonus.
With that said, I expect this bout to go the distance. It’s been six years since Kara-France has been stopped in a fight and I just don’t see that happening here. He should be able to navigate any grappling exchanges and defend most takedowns.
Furthermore, Kara-France will probably land more strikes, which should give him the edge on the scorecards. Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-170) and for this fight to go the full three rounds.
I do believe that Royval is worthy of a flier as he does have a realistic shot at pulling off the upset. He offers a nice payout at +200 odds and is definitely a “live dog” in this contest.
Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Royval –Kara-France (-240)
Over 2.5 rounds (-170)
Fight goes the distance (-160)
Kara-France wins via decision (-130)
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz
Dominick Reyes (-280)
Jan Blachowicz (+240)
Over (-120)/Under (+100) 2.5 rounds
On any other card, this would be the main event. That’s what makes UFC 253 even more exciting as we are treated to two explosive world title fights. Dominick Reyes is the #1 ranked light heavyweight while Jan Blachowicz is ranked 3rd.
Jan Blachowicz is a large underdog in this matchup and I have to say that I’m a bit surprised at this. Yes, Reyes is a great striker, but Jan Blachowicz is no slouch in the standup category.
“He is a really great fighter, dangerous in the standup, good takedown defense. If you take him down he stands up quick. It will be a tough fight but I believe I can beat him and will beat him. I see myself knocking him out in the third round.”
Reyes’ only blemish on his record is a controversial unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones in February. Some fans and pundits feel that Reyes actually won that fight. He’s currently 6-1 inside the octagon and boast of elite striking skills and a solid takedown defense as his opponent alluded to.
Nine of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-1 when going the distance.
I give Reyes all the credit in the world for how talented he is, but Blachowicz has more paths to victory. I see Jan either landing a powerful TKO/KO punch or getting this fight to the mat and finding a submission hold. The threat of a takedown will cause Reyes hands to drop at times and that’s where Jan will catch him.
I’m going with the upset as I see Blachowicz defying the oddsmakers and scoring the biggest victory of his career.
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz –Blachowicz (+240)
Over 2.5 rounds (-120)
Fight ends inside the distance (-230)
Blachowicz wins inside the distance (+330)
Blachowicz wins via TKO/KO (+440)
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa
Israel Adesanya (-170)
Paulo Costa (+150)
Over (-140)/Under (+120) 2.5 rounds
The main event of the night needs no introduction as it’s arguably the most anticipated fight of the year. These two men hate each other and they will put their undefeated records on the line this weekend. The fight was pushed back due to Costa’s injury which only served to make the feud more intense.
Costa entered the UFC in 2017 and has won six straight contests. He last competed 13 months ago and mauled Yoel Romero on his way to a unanimous decision victory. The win earned him a title shot and a year’s worth of trash talking to Adesanya.
12 of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s only gone the distance in one contest.
Costa’s game plan for this matchup is to apply “smart pressure” as he cuts off the cage and forces Adesanya to fight him. He’s not going to do what Romero did and just stand there for five rounds in an incredibly boring fight. Costa wants to finish off the champ:
“I’m going out there to finish him. I’m coming to show who I am. What I came here to do is to finish this guy and become the face of [the UFC]. I’m an educated fighter and I know I have to use my mind as well as my [physical] skills. I am a very good and smart striker.”
Adesanya is 8-0 inside the octagon with an impressive resume as he’s defeated Romero, Whittaker and Gastelum in his last three contests. He will now go up against the hardest hitter in the division and will be in danger of a knockout punch.
Yet, the champ’s all around skillset is just too brilliant to overlook. Not only can he effectively strike from a distance, but he can also counterstrike which could put Costa into trouble as Paulo pushes forward.
14 of his 19 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. Adesanya is 5-0 when going the distance.
The longer this fight goes on, the more it favors Adesanya as he will pick apart Costa. I do see this fight going over 2.5 rounds (-140) and into the championship rounds. Yet, I don’t see it going to a decision (-215).
I don’t like either of the moneylines for this contest as there’s no value on Adesanya and I just can’t put my money on Costa to win even though I think he has a real chance. I want to see him win, but Adesanya has a better resume and has the big fight experience to help him in this contest.
With that said, I really like the Over 2.5 rounds and for the fight to start Round 4 (-110). As for the winner, I am taking Adesanya to score a late round TKO/KO over Costa. There’s a small chance that this outcome can go the other way as well.
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa –Adesanya (-170)
Over 2.5 rounds (-140)
Adesanya wins inside the distance (+135)
Adesanya wins via TKO/KO (+155)
Fight starts Round 4 (-110)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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