After Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya called his shot by taking on Yoel Romero, one of the toughest tests in the middleweight division, the champ has another beast waiting in the wings to capture UFC gold in Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa. The two will settle their differences in the main event of UFC 253 on September 26.
Online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on this fight and has listed the champ, Adesanya, as the -185 favorite with the challenger, Costa, coming back at +150.
Odds as of September 25 at Bovada
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Being the chalk in a fight is nothing new for the undefeated champion as he has been the betting favorite in seven of his eight UFC bouts. The Last Stylebender was a slight -105 underdog in his title fight with Robert Whittaker last October, a bout that Adesanya won via second-round knockout. As a favorite, the -165 line marks the second-shortest odds for the Nigeria native with only his dominant victory over Brad Tavares providing a tighter line at -115.
Meanwhile, Costa is coming off being an underdog for the first time in his five-fight UFC career. The Brazil native closed as a +140 dog against the aforementioned Yoel Romero last August and cashed for backers in a somewhat controversial decision win. That was the first time that Borrachinha went to the judges’ scorecards in his 13-fight pro career. The previous 12 were all stoppages – 11 knockouts and one submission.
How Will This Fight Play Out?
Prior to transitioning to MMA and the UFC, Adesanya was a world champion kickboxer and that is apparent in his ability to maintain distance and read his opponents in the cage. He has an outstanding fighter IQ and reflexes that allow him to dissect his foes’ movements, find vulnerabilities and then capitalize with powerful blows. The Last Stylebender has a very similar style to former champion Anderson Silva in his finishing sequences; he is patient, crisp and accurate as he puts his opponents away.
While Adesanya is calculated in the Octagon, Costa is more aggressive with high-level power for the middleweight division. This is evident in his record with 11 of his triumphs ending in knockouts. Much has been said about Borrachinha’s conditioning as he is chiseled out of granite and requires plenty of oxygen to carry around that large frame.
This fight may have a bit of a bull and matador feel to it early on as Costa will look to land one of his heavy hands on Adesanya’s chin and shut the lights out. Meanwhile, The Last Stylebender will use his elusiveness and fight IQ to maintain distance, pick his shots and drag Borrachinha into deeper waters before picking up the tempo.