Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to “Fight Island” last weekend to stage UFC 253 and it turned out to be a massive success.
According to a recent report by The Athletic, UFC 253 pulled in over an estimated 700,000 PPV buys worldwide. The PPV card was led by a main event grudge match between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and previously undefeated contender Paulo Costa, which was pegged as one of the most important fights of 2020.
Adesanya, who was defending his 185-pound title for the second-straight time, ended up finishing Costa via second-round TKO (see it HERE). Many have criticized the lack of offensive output by Costa in the main event bout, but Adesanya’s performance was simply mesmerizing and should not be overlooked.
When stacked up against the other major UFC PPV cards of 2020 the event comes in behind UFC 251: ‘Usman vs Masvidal,’ which did 1.3 million buys, and UFC 246: ‘McGregor vs. Cerrone,’ which brought in 1 million PPV buys.
What makes these numbers for UFC 253 even more impressive is the fact that Adesanya was coming off one of the worst title defenses in recent memory against Yoel Romero at UFC 248. Some thought “Last Stylebender” may have lost some of his trajectory due to that lackluster performance, but that simply wasn’t the case.
It should be noted that UFC 253 did feature a co-main event title fight between light heavyweight contenders Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes. Blachowicz ended up defeating “Devastator” via second-round TKO (see it HERE) to claim the vacant 205-pound title.
At this point in time, it’s safe to say that Adesanya is one of the biggest stars in the sport. He’s currently undefeated, has a true gift of gab, and seems to get better every time he steps inside of the Octagon. It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers “Last Stylebender” can produce moving forward without a red-hot Costa rivalry fueling the masses.