By Matt Erickson |
September 25, 2020 4: 00 pm
The UFC is back on “Fight Island” this week with a pair of title fights to kick off another lengthy run in Abu Dhabi.
UFC 253 takes place Saturday at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
In the main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (19-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) puts his title on the line against fellow unbeaten Paulo Costa (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC). Adesanya is the favorite at around -170, and 10 of our 14 editors, writers, videographers and radio hosts are picking him to defend his belt.
In the co-main event, the light heavyweight title vacated by Jon Jones is up for grabs when Jan Blachowicz (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) takes on recent title challenger Dominick Reyes (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who suffered a close loss to Jones earlier this year. Reyes is a big -255 favorite, and he’s got a big 10-4 lead in the picks.
Also on the main card, Kai Kara-France (21-8 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is more than a 2-1 favorite in his flyweight fight against Brandon Royval (11-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Only two of our pickers are taking Royval in an upset.
Sijara Eubanks (6-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) makes a quick turnaround after a win two weeks ago when she takes on Ketlen Vieira (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in a women’s bantamweight bout. Vieira nearly is a 2-1 favorite, and all but two of our pickers are taking her to win.
And to open the main card, it’s a close betting line between Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC). The fight nearly is a pick’em with the oddsmakers, and our staff members are split down the middle, accordingly, at 7-7.
In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Costa (55 percent), Reyes (72 percent), Kara-France (76 percent), Vieira (72 percent), and Tukhugov (53 percent) are the choices.
Check out all the picks above.
Brandon Royval, Breaking, Dominick Reyes, ESPN UFC 253, Hakeem Dawodu, Israel Adesanya, Jan Blachowicz, Kai Kara-France, Ketlen Vieira, Paulo Costa, Sijara Eubanks, UFC 253, Zubaira Tukhugov, News, UFC