UFC 253: Israel Adesanya Knocks Out Paulo Costa

The UFC 253 main event was expected to be an evenly matched battle of undefeated fighters. Instead, the UFC middleweight title bout turned into a rout.

Nigerian born Israel Adesanya (20-0) destroyed Brazil’s Paulo Costa (12-1) inside of two rounds on Saturday night. Adesanya earned a TKO at the 3:59 mark of the second round of their fight in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Adesanya used a pinpoint kicking game to slow the brash Costa, who threw a white belt at Adesanya during their face-off at Friday’s weigh-ins. Over and over he landed precise kicks to Costa’s lead leg, which slowed Costa, who is known to load up for heavy power shots.

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Costa did his best to mask his pain, but by the second round, it was obvious the end was a matter of time. Adesanya wobbled Costa with a huge head kick, which opened a cut on Costa’s forehead. A perfect left hand to the temple dropped Costa, and Adesanya followed with shots on the ground until the bout was waved off.

The evening’s co-feature bout crowned a new light heavyweight champion, and one who would have been considered improbable just a few years ago.

Warsaw’s Jan Blachowicz (27-8) downed Victorville, Calif.’s Dominick Reyes (12-2) in the second round, earning a TKO at the 4:36 mark. The 37-year old, who lost four of his first six UFC fights, capped a run of four straight victories and eight of nine to claim the belt.

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Blachowicz used efficient combos followed by ruthless left kicks to the ribs to take the first round. By the second, Reyes’s ribs were horrifically swollen. Blachowicz poured it on, and a straight right which appeared to break Reyes’ nose was followed by an overhand left which finished things.

The bout filled a title left vacant in August, when longtime titleholder Jon Jones relinquished the championship in order to focus on a move up to heavyweight.


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