UFC middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya has experienced a mind-blowing run in the sport. However, the 31-year-old will encounter his most challenging test to date at UFC 253 against Paulo Costa – a 29-year-old Brazilian powerhouse.
Costa and Adesanya both middleweight fighters are still now undefeated throughout all Mixed Martial Arts sectors, so the main event will determine with the first speck of their career.
The UFC 253: Paulo Costa vs. Israel Adesanya will take place on Saturday, 26th September, at a location is Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The main cards are exclusively for streaming live in the US on ESPN 2 pay-per-view.
But how do these two UFC middleweight champions compare against each other? And who among the two remarkable strikers will go home with the UFC gold from UFC 253?
Here is our report on why Paulo Costa beats Israel Adesanya at UFC 253: A Head to Toe Breakdown.
Striking, Grappling, and Submissions
Costa and Adesanya are both excellent strikers, but who has the advantage? Adesanya is among the most admired strikers in the UFC. The New Zealander, who was born in Nigeria, has been seen as a striking expert when operating at his peak. Adesanya went 5-1 as an expert boxer and 75-5 as an expert kickboxer before beginning his career as an MMA professional. These two backgrounds aligned quite well with his athletic and lean frame to establish what has become an amazingly talented UFC champion.
However, Costa does not slump when on his feet. While the Brazilian utilizes a somehow less methodical approach than Adesanya, the strong striker understands hat his strongest assets are and how to utilize them in MMA competitions. Costa is a talented pressure combatant who overpowers his opponents with his far-fetched power. He kicks and punches hard to the body and head, and he will enter the upcoming UFC 253 with an average of 8.43 strikes landed per minute, which is the best record in the history of UFC.
Generally, Adesanya is a skilled striker who is highly likely to defeat Costa in a kickboxing competition. However, UFC 253 will not be that, so Costa is expected to match Adesanya’s style much more evenly using his feet than most viewers might expect. Nonetheless, Adesanya will have a slight advantage over Costa in terms of striking because of his more well-rounded experience and natural creativity.
Both Adesanya and Costa prefer staying on their feet, but grappling is also crucial. Adesanya almost completely depends on his resolute striking expertise in UFC competitions. As a matter of fact, almost everything else about his fighting style is targeted towards maintaining the champion on his feet, which is something he has done exceptionally so far in the UFC. For instance, according to UFCStats.com, Adesanya has an 86% takedown defense, which is the second-highest in the history of the sector.
Costa also heavily relies on striking. He has only tried to a takedown in five UFC competitions, and he has not been successful in any of them. However, his takedown defense is strong – UFCStats.com ranks it at 80%. Above this, it is less crucial for the black Brazilian jiu-jitsu belt holder to remain on his feet than his opponent. Costa is more experiences and has a more powerful frame with jiu-jitsu grappling, which makes him the overall better grappler than Adesanya in UFC 253 should both of them end up on the ground.
What is the likelihood of a submission win?
Adesanya escapes going to the ground and has never won a competition through submission. As noted earlier, his fighting skills are focused around his exceptional striking skills, so he predominantly works on avoiding submission and takedown attempts. When he comes across those situations during a fight, his moves are primarily designed to get him back on his feet.
Costa, on the other hand, also loves staying on his feet, but he comes to UFC 253 with one submission win under his successful career, although he did it before he started his UFC career. However, the Brazilian black belt jiu-jitsu will probably have a perfect opportunity of getting the submission advantage over Adesanya at UFC 253 than the other way around.
Both prizefighters will come with noteworthy X-factors to the cage.
Adesanya’s X-factor – Counters and Pressure
Adesanya’s X-factor will be how effectively he can counter Costa with tough strikes. If the fight between Adesanya and Costa comes down to a single element, it will most probably be that. Adesanya must be able to strike Costa clean and hard enough to keep the unrelenting opponent from advancing forward. If he can accomplish that, Adesanya will be able to keep his title. But if he cannot keep the colossal threat from coming towards him, it will be a long night for Adesanya.
Costa’s X-Factor: Pressure and Counter
Costa’s style of fighting is that of pressure, but that does not mean that he is not intelligent. While much comes from his exceptional power and his remarkable confidence in that power, Costa is also proficient at throwing dodges and keeping his challenger guessing about where he is about to hit them during the fight night.
Costa will need to be cautious enough of Adesanya’s counters to stay safe but not too cautious that he replicates the mistake committed by Yoel Romero in UFC 248 that ultimately ended by offering Adesanya s comfortable victory.
The big question remains, who will go home with the UFC Gold? The battle between Costa and Adesanya promises to be a blockbuster between two undefeated champions in their peaks. Additionally, the two contestants use the same competing styles that will likely balance well into a naturally fair fight.
Regardless of who will emerge the winner on the fight night, a thrilling fight will be crucial for the UFC middleweight winner moving forward. Winning is one aspect, and entertaining fans is another element, and the fans expect both.
The UFC 253 fight between Adesanya and Costa will likely be determined by which one of them can either dodge or eat kicks and punches from their opponents while on the ground. Adesanya has been a great UFC fighter over the last few years, but Costa has exceptional power, persistent pressure, and adamant chin will likely increase his chances of getting more ringside scores. He is stronger and younger and appears to have more tactics at his disposal that can make him the champion.
UFC 253 results: Costa will defeat Adesanya through shared decision-making