When two undefeated fighters enter the octagon, only one can leave undefeated, and there was never doubt that Israel Adesanya would retain his middleweight title during the UFC 253 main event. Adesanya outclassed Paulo Costa from the start of the first round until the devastating TKO finish with just over a minute to go in the second round.
Leading up to the fight, Costa and Adesanya engaged in a lot of trash talking. Friday at the weigh-ins Costa threw a white belt at Adesanya, but on Saturday night it was Costa who looked like the white belt in the fight. Adesanya effectively slowed down Costa’s attempts to push forward by hitting him with leg kicks. The fear of Adesanya’s leg kicks left Costa exposed to the fists of Adesanya which were equally unforgiving.
The punch that sealed the victory for Adesanya came from a left hook that caught Costa in the left temple, dropping Costa to the mat where Adesanya would pound him out.
“I still don’t like him. I don’t know him personally, I don’t wish he dies or anything, he’s alive, I let him be alive, this is the game we play, this is violence and I told you guys that it was going to be violent and I said it, it’s going to be violent and it’s going to end fast and that’s what I did. I’m fresh, I can go next weekend, I can go anytime,” Adesanya said after the fight in an interview with ESPN.
As for what is next for the Middleweight Champion, he seems to have an opponent already picked out. “I already DMed Jared Cannonier. He’s a great dude, I like his energy. I said, ‘You beat Robert Whittaker and you’re next.’ If he beats Robert Whittaker, he’s next,” Adesanya said to ESPN.
The co-main event also had high stakes involved, as Jon Jones’ vacated light heavyweight title was up for grabs. Dominick Reyes went into the night as the biggest favorite on the main card; a lot of people were high on Reyes after his split decision loss where he pushed Jones to the limit. He would not live up to the hype and would turn in arguably the worst performance of any fighter on the main card. Jan Blachowicz seized this opportunity and picked apart a sluggish looking Reyes.
Blachowicz finished Reyes in the third round via TKO by punches. Blachowicz dominated and decided to call out Jon Jones after the fight. A return to light heavyweight would be shocking from Jones after he vacated the title, but the fighter did send out a tweet Saturday night saying, “Would you guys be annoyed if I went back and grabbed my belt real quick?” Jones acknowledging the call out is notable, but he is still expected to debut at heavyweight in the near future.
The undercard of UFC 253 also included Hakeem Dawodu beating Zubaira Tukhugov by split decision, Ketlen Vieira beating Sijara Eubanks by split decision and Brandon Royval winning by submission via guillotine choke in round two against Kai Kara-France.
The next scheduled UFC event will be a fight night on Saturday, Oct. 3. The main event will be Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana, competing for the women’s bantamweight title. The next UFC pay-per-view event will be UFC 254 on Saturday, Oct. 24, with Khabib Nurmagomedov vs, Justin Gaethje headlining that event in a bout for the lightweight title.