Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabu, United Arab Emirates, this Saturday (Sept. 26, 2020) with a title doubleheader and a strong supporting cast. UFC 253’s ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) event pits UFC Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, against unbeaten contender, Paulo Costa, while Dominick Reyes takes on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt.
UFC 253’s PPV main card also features a clash between top-ranked Flyweight contenders Kai Kara-France and Brandon Royval, as well as Featherweight prospect Hakeem Dawodu against fellow up-and-comer Zubaira Tukhugov.
It’s hard to justify shelling out $65 for a PPV in this economy, but here’s how to make it a little easier on your wallet.
What Went Wrong at UFC Vegas 11?
Well, I said you could laugh at me if Johnny Walker pulled out another ridiculous first-round stoppage, and the offer stands. Ryan Spann damn near had him on multiple occasions, but “almost” doesn’t count in this sport. At least Tyson Nam and Mayra Bueno Silva ensured a slight overall profit.
UFC 253 Odds For The Undercard:
Brad Riddell (-335) vs. Alex da Silva (+275)
Jake Matthews (-750) vs. Diego Sanchez (+525)
Shane Young (-125) vs. Ludovit Klein (+105)
Aleksa Camur (-160) vs. William Knight (+140)
Juan Espino (-290) vs. Jeff Hughes (+245)
Khadis Ibragimov (-155) vs. Danilo Marques (+135)
Thoughts: I see two UFC debutants having two very different introductions to the Octagon. Ludovit Klein is a terrific bargain at positive odds, while Aleksa Camur isn’t getting enough credit for how badly he out-classes “Contender Series” alum, William Knight.
If you’re not familiar with Klein, he’s worth looking up. This guy has the look of a top-shelf prospect at 25 years old, boasting impressive power and speed at just 25 years old. Shane Young has some Octagon experience, sure, but his wins came over Rolando Dy and Austin Arnett, who went a combined 2-7 in the world’s largest fight promotion. Klein’s the bigger hitter and the more likely of the two to score a finish, so invest in a fresh face.
I don’t understand why people keep trying to take William Knight down at all costs — the man doesn’t have much stand up to speak of outside of leg kicks and one-two combinations. Camur is the better striker by a huge margin and has the takedown defense to keep the fight in his wheelhouse. So long as he doesn’t fall into the same trap so many other fighters did and gas himself out in the grappling before getting swept and battered, he should run “Knightmare” over without issue.
UFC 253 Odds For The Main Card:
Israel Adesanya (-170) vs. Paulo Costa (+150)
Dominick Reyes (-280) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+240)
Kai Kara-France (-240) vs. Brandon Royval (+200)
Ketlen Vieira (-170) vs. Sijara Eubanks (+150)
Zubaira Tukhugov (-120) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (EVEN)
Thoughts: I am all-in on Israel Adesanya ...
I’ll go into more detail in my main card prediction piece later this week, but the TL;DR is:
- Costa’s only faced one striking technician in the Octagon, Uriah Hall, and took quite a few heavy shots before his pressure paid off. Adesanya moves exponentially better than Hall.
- Adesanya has three inches of height and eight inches of reach on him.
- Costa doesn’t have a wrestling game with which to muzzle Adesanya’s offense.
I see this being a significantly easier task for Adesanya than Kelvin Gastelum or Yoel Romero. Therefore, bet accordingly.
On the underdog side, I like Sijara Eubanks to upset Ketlen Vieira. Eubanks’ wrestling and cardio both looked stout against Julia Avila a couple weeks back, which is bad news for a straightforward top control specialist like Vieira. In addition, Eubanks looks to have the edge in the striking and has a superior BJJ pedigree, badly limiting Vieira’s avenues to victory. I can’t pick Eubanks’ fights to save my life, but I hope the reasoning here is sufficiently sound.
UFC 253 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Aleksa Camur and Israel Adesanya: Bet $60 to make $94.80
- Single bet — Ludovit Klein: Bet $40 to make $42
- Single bet — Sijara Eubanks: Bet $40 to make $60
With the sort of talent and matchmaking on display, I’m hard-pressed to imagine UFC 253 not producing fireworks. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 253 fight card this weekend, starting with the early ESPN 2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance (also on ESPN 2/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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