Check out Palmerbet’s UFC 253 tips and previews for all five main card fights, including the UFC Middleweight Championship showdown between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. UFC 253 also sees the vacant Light Heavyweight title match up between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz as well as a host of tasty prelims.
- Adesanya 19-0 (14 by KO/TKO)
- Costa 13-0 (12 by KO/TKO)
- Adesanya def Yoel Romero @ UFC 248 – Rd 5 – Decision
- Costa def Yoel Romero @ UFC 241 – Rd 3 – Decision
Analysis: Israel Adesanya looks to put his UFC Middleweight Championship belt – and his undefeated MMA record – on the block against the heavy hands of Brazilian Paulo Costa on Fight Island at UFC 253.
Adesanya has taken all before him since his first appearance at UFC 221 in 2018. Rarely troubled, Adesanya has been able to convert the knockout power from earlier in his career into a stamina, move and bang game to grind out results as he’s faced more challenging opponents. His catalogue of wins have been against some of the greats including Anderson Silva, Aussie Robbie Whittaker and Yoel Romero, all former title holders, but his opponent brings an aggressive approach that threatens to overwhelm him.
Costa has been a KO machine since he announced himself at UFC Fight Night with a 2nd minute KO of Garreth McLellan. Since then he’s cleaned house at UFC 212, 217 and 226 with three second round knockouts. His Unanimous Decision victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 241 was a transition fight that started to show his ability to work the body as well as try to knock his opponent into next week.
Adesanya has done everything right. He’s clinical, his movement is elite and his ability to put one on the chin of his opponent at distance is such a weapon. Costa hasnt gone more than three rounds in his UFC career and will need to bring extreme heat early and get the job done via KO or Adesanya’s going to have a field day with his conditioning. This one is unlikely to end on the ground, so we’re looking for TKO or Decision for the title holder to retain.
- Reyes 12-1-0 (7 by KO/TKO)
- Blachowicz 26-8-0 (7 by KO/TKO, 9 by Submission)
- Reyes lost to Jon Jones @ UFC 247 – Rd 5 Decision
- Blachowicz def Corey Anderson – KO – Round 1
Analysis: Dominic Reyes enters this match up as favourite and unlucky to not already be the title holder after a strong showing against one of the UFC’s greats in Jon Jones at UFC 247. He out worked and out punched Jones but his lack of ground game and finishing power was exposed as Jones retained the title he has now vacated. The Light Heavyweight division is really thin for high quality fighters and presents an opportunity for Reyes to dominate for a number of years if he can get the job done here.
MMA journeyman, Blachowicz straps up for his first title shot in the UFC. With some serious experience, including 14 previous fights in the UFC, the Polish decision expert will not get a better opportunity to win a title. His impressive dispatch of Corey Anderson in February shows he’s got hands but we wouldn’t be surprised to see him work his submission game here and keep Reyes on the floor to reduce the striking threat as much as use his BJJ game.
Dominic Reyes goes in as a heavy favourite and the heir apparent to Jon Jones domination of the division. An elite competitor and shaping to be a serious title holder for years to come.
- Kara-France 21-8-0 (6 by KO/TKO)
- Royval 11-4-0 (3 by KO/TKO, 7 by Submission)
- Kara-France def Tyson Nam – Rd 3 Decision
- Royval def Tim Elliott – Submission
Analysis: Kiwi Kai Kara-France gets the chance to build momentum and climb the Flyweight rankings against the USA’s Brandon Royval. Royval is coming off an impressive entry to the UFC in May with a 2nd round submission of Tim Elliott. He’ll need to be more impressive here.
Royval’s ability to create submission opportunities quickly is going to be the biggest concern for the Kiwi. It will be interesting to see how KKF maintains distance from his US opponent as Royval must close in. We’re expecting plenty of dancing from Kara-France as he draws the fight out and backs his stamina. It’s that stamina that has led him to last the distance in 7 of his last 8 fights. His ability to work the legs whilst maintaining space also allowing him to grind out.
Royval is a man focussed on bending his opponents in directions they shouldn’t be bent in. Looking for takedowns, moving quickly in transition to submissions, Royval will want this one over quickly. His strength is his Jiu-Jitsu. His weakness is being relatively untested at the full three rounds.
KKF goes in as heavy favourite and has the top level UFC experience to back it up. 15 minutes is a lot of time to run away from someone of Royval’s ability though. We’re thinking upset here as Royval only needs KKF to make one mistake and he’s folded into a package he cant get out of.
- Vieira 10-1-0 (2 by KO/TKO, 4 by Submission)
- Eubanks 7-4-0 (1 by KO/TKO)
- Vieira def by Irene Aldana – Rd 1 KO
- Eubanks def Julia Avila – Rd 3 – Decision
Analysis: Vieira currently sits the 6th ranked female Bantamweight in the UFC and was it not for eating a punch at UFC 245, she was on the right path to title contention. Her impressive form over the past 4 years in the UFC has been solid but begging for something amazing. Mainly a BJJ exponent, she’s shown that she can last the distance with 3 of her last 4 being decision wins. Therein lies the rub for Vieira. She’s solid, but not dominant. If she wants to go anywhere, she’s got to get past Eubanks easily and quickly. From there it’s on to the likes of Holms, Ladd and eventually Nunes.
Sijara Eubanks is fighting for relevancy. With a bag full of decision victories, she comes in at long odds without a clear weapon. Her strength is ironically avoiding punches rather than landing them. It gets wins, but it doesn’t get you title shots. Having fought only two weeks ago, it raises questions of recovery. Time to crank it up in our opinion, get in an under Vieira’s height advantage and put some lights out to get your name back up in them.
This one could be a yawn fest because each fighter lacks true knock out power. Secondly, Eubanks has enjoyed just two weeks turnaround. It’s that stamina question mark that might demand a game plan switch from Eubanks as she searches for the next step. Can she do it? Not sure, so we’ll go with Vieira given submission is a nice arrow to have in the quiver.
- Dawodu 11-1-1 (3 by KO/TKO)
- Tukhugov 19-4-1 (2 by KO/TKO)
- Dawodu def Julio Arce @ UFC 244 – Split Decision
- Tukhugov def Kevin Aguilar – Rd 1 – TKO
Analysis: There’s a lot to like about this match up. Dawodu likes to bang and we love that! We’re talking stand in the middle of the ring and swing for round after round.
Canadian, Dawodu is putting together an impressive climb up the Featherweight rankings. Currently sitting 23rd, he’ll be pushing for a quick win and further opportunities on the big nights. His ability to go deep into fights shows his stamina. His ability to win Split decisions shows he needs accuracy improvements with his hands. Throwing lots of punches looks great to punters, but not to judges.
Tukhugov’s a mixed bag and probably the reason the betting is so even. On his day, he can take you to the cleaners as Kevin Aguilar’s face found out in February. A draw and a loss previous perhaps hid that ability to finish. The three year fight gap prior to that for a positive drug test further hides his ability. We expect the Russian to take this to the mat pretty quickly.
There’s a feeling that the Russian is riding his mate Khabib’s coat tails a bit to get on the main card. Time to show if he belongs!