Tyler Monahan shares his predictions and best bets for this week’s UFC 253 at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, including the headline fight between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.
The UFC has one of the most anticipated cards of the year ready to unfold this Saturday. UFC 253 comes to you live from Las Vegas and is headlined by a fight between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa for the former’s middleweight championship. That fight alone is enough of a reason to tune in, but the rest of the card makes UFC 253 a must watch.
UFC Record: 16-7
All odds from FOXBet Sportsbook.
Ketlen Viera vs Sijara Eubanks
This is a very interesting fight because in almost every aspect these fighters are completely different. Ketlen Viera has a very impressive track record, she has a 10-1 career record but she is coming off her first career loss, a first round knockout to Irene Aldana almost a full calendar year ago. She is a grappler and loves to bring a fight to the ground as evidenced by her four career submission wins.
On the other side of the octagon is Sijara Eubanks. Unlike Viera who last fought almost a year ago, Eubanks was last in action just two weeks ago when she stepped in for the injured Marion Reneau and fought Julia Avila to a decision in which Eubanks won. In that last fight Eubanks took some heavy hits and was dealt a considerable amount of damage, she won’t have to worry about taking those same punches against Viera. The real problem is taking another fight into the late rounds is sure to wear on her more than any other fighter simply because she just came off of fight that went the distance.
Eubanks is going to have to try and finish this fight quickly, if Viera can get out of the first round without getting knocked out like her last fight and take things to the ground I like her chances.
Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz
In a match for the vacant light heavyweight championship two of the hottest fighters in the UFC go head to head. Both Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz have ample proof to show why they deserve this title fight. Dominick Reyes opened a ton of eyes in his last fight, taking former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the brink of defeat but coming up just short by decision. That was Reyes’ first career loss as his record now stands at 12-1. Jan Blachowicz has won his last three fights and is 7-1 in his last eight.
Both have shown tremendous knockout power which is sure to come into play at some point in this fight, but Reyes must be careful of Blachowicz if this fight goes to the ground. Blachowicz has nine career submission victories in his 26 career wins, he is as lethal on the ground as he is on his feet. I do like Reyes in this fight but as such a heavy favorite I feel more comfortable that either of these tough fighters can knock the other out.
As a bonus pick I’m going to throw some extra money on Jan Blachowicz to win by TKO, KO or Submission in an attempt to hedge my bet against a potential loss. This way if Blachowicz wins by submission it offsets the other bet and if he ends up winning by KO or TKO then it is an extra win.
BONUS PICK: Jan Blachowicz by KO, TKO or Submission +275
Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa
In the main event of UFC 253 middleweight champion Israel Adesanya goes up against his latest challenger in Paulo Costa. The two don’t exactly like each other either which makes the potential of this fight to become a true slugfest that much better.
Neither fighter has lost so far in their career, Adesanya comes into this one with a 19-0 record while his challenger is 13-0. Even though Adesanya has a slight frame he can still go toe to toe with the seemingly bigger and stronger Costa because he uses his frame to create distance and makes it harder for an opponent to come inside and get meaningful punches in. Both of these top tier fighters are known for their knockout prowess, in the champions 19 wins 14 have come by knockout and Costa has knocked out 11 of his 13 opponents.
I think this fight is going to come down to how well Israel Adesanya does at keeping his distance from Paulo Costa. If this fight turns into these two fighting in a phonebooth I’ll give the edge to Costa but I think Adesanya is too smart to fight Costa’s style. I believe Adesanya will do a great job of making Costa work harder than he ever has before to land even the slightest of shots. If Adesanya can dictate the pace of this fight and make Costa work into the last rounds unlike he has previously in his career I believe Adesanya wins this and retains his title.