Israel Adesanya emerged the winner in Abu Dhabi
Israel Adesanya emerged the winner in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Reigning middleweight king Isreal Adesanya delivered a masterly performance to defend his unbeaten record and demolish Brazil’s Paulo Costa in the very second round of their championship bout at UFC 253 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning.

Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) picked Costa (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) used his main weapons - deadly leg kicks, long jabs and finally ground and pound - on what was an easy night for the man they call ‘The Last Stylebender’.

The end came when Adesanya stung Costa with a flashing right cross to the temple which dropped the Brazilian to the canvas.

Adesanya began pounding him as Costa covered up and tried to survive. But there was nothing left in him and referee Jason Herzog called a stoppage.

It was win No. 20 for the New Zealand fighter and ninth overall in the UFC. He has now moved into second place behind the great Anderson Silva (13 wins) in the rankings for the longest winning streak.


Costa, who looked so much bigger than Adesanya, showed his survival instincts and spent much of the fight showboating as if to say: “Is that all you got?”

His punches lacked the range although he did land the occasional punch which had no effect on the champion.

Meanwhile in the co-main event, Jan Błachowicz (27-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) defeated Dominick Reyes (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) by TKO at four minutes in the second round of the UFC light-heavyweight championship bout for the vacant title after former two-time champion Jon Jones vacated the belt on August 17, to compete in the heavyweight division.

“I still don’t believe, but it’s here. It’s not a dream right? It happened. I have the legendary Polish power, I proved it one more time, amazing,” said Błachowicz. “It’s been a long journey for me, sometimes I was on the top, then I lose a couple fights, but I never stop believing in my skills, in my power. Here I am, the champion. Like I said before, even a pandemic can’t stop me right now.”

Blachowicz and Adesanya were awarded $50,000 bonuses for their Performances of the Night, while Brandon Royval (12-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) won the Fight of the Night bonus after he defeate Kai Kara France (21-9 MMA, 4-2 UFC) via submission in the very first minute of round two.

Main card

Middleweight: Israel Adesanya def. Paulo Costa, KO, R2, 3:59
Light-heavyweight: Jan Błachowicz def. Dominick Reyes, TKO, R2, 4:36
Flyweight: Brandon Royval def. Kai Kara-France, Submission, R2, 0:48
Bantamweight: Ketlen Vieira def. Sijara Eubanks Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Catchweight (150 lb): Hakeem Dawodu def. Zubaira Tukhugov, Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Lightweight: Brad Riddell def. Alex da Silva Coelho, Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Jake Matthews def. Diego Sanchez, Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Catchweight (150 lb): Ludovít Klein def. Shane Young, KO, R1, 1:16
Light-heavyweight: William Knight def. Aleksa Camur, Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Heavyweight: Juan Espino Dieppa def. Jeff Hughes, Submission, R1, 3:48
Light-heavyweight: Danilo Marques def. Khadis Ibragimov, Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)