UFC is back on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi for the next month, starting with UFC 253 on September 26. meet. As for the main co-event, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will battle it out for the vacant light heavyweight title, as the post-Jon Jones era begins at 205 pounds.
Compared to what next month’s UFC 254 lined up, this pay-per-view is a bit heavy. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some interesting fights all along the map, and that there are definitely money making opportunities. Before fight night arrives on “Fight Island,” let’s take a look at some of the UFC 253 fighters who could deliver high scores for your. DraftKings teams.
Define your alignments here: MMA $ 500,000 Special 253 [$100K to 1st]
Israel Adesanya ($ 8,500) vs. Paulo Costa ($ 7,700) – Middleweight
Adesanya won the interim title with a five-round classic over Kelvin Gastelum, then rose to champion status last year with an outright destruction of Robert Whittaker last October. As thrilling as “The Last Stylebender” was in those two fights, he and Yoel Romero delivered an absolute dud at UFC 248 in March. It’s safe to say that styles make fights and the aggressive, heavy Costa won’t be interested in a gaze contest. The Brazilian had a great fight with Romero, marking the first time he has covered the distance. Uriah Hall and Johny Hendricks are among his knockout finishes.
This one could go either way. Adesanya is first and foremost a counter-attacker, so Costa is probably going to put him to work a bit. Izzy’s offensive firepower is much more varied and he’s the quieter fighter, while Costa is arguably faster and definitely hits harder. Costa has glaring defensive weaknesses and relies enough on his chin, which could lead Adesanya to part him regularly as the rounds progress. There is no reason to believe that either of the fighters will go for eliminations, so if it comes to hitting strictly, I think the champion will methodically take out Costa and stop him late or win. a decision. The danger will always be there with Costa but Adesanya has such an impressive mastery of distance and timing that I see Costa increasingly frustrated as the contest progresses.
Number of Notes: 8. Israel Adesanya will have an eight-inch advantage over Costa, the biggest gap Costa has dealt with in his MMA career. The next closest would be Uriah Hall, who has a reach of 79 inches and knocked out Costa with a punch when they fought.
Kai Kara-France (8900 $) contre Brandon Royval (7300 $) – Flyweights
If you’re on the hunt for future title challengers now, that it looks like the UFC’s men’s flyweight division is here to stay, keep an eye out for Kai Kara-France. Teammate Israel Adesanya at City Kickboxing, Kara-France has a 4-1 UFC record and a penchant for thrilling fights, as evidenced by his win over Elias Garcia and narrow loss to Brandon Moreno. Royval made his arrival on the UFC scene in an impressive fashion, tapping former title challenger Tim Elliott with an arm-triangle choke. Hardcore fans may have known Royval from his time in the LFA, where he beat UFC veteran Joby Sanchez and challenged for the interim belt against current UFC bantamweight Casey Kenney.
It’s going to be a hugely entertaining clash of styles that should have lots of action and the fast pace you’d expect at 125 pounds. Royval has shown tremendous submissive abilities and is an aggressive grappler (especially off his back), but he is at a disadvantage against Kara-France’s more refined kickboxing skills. Kara-France also showed excellent defense against the withdrawal which means Royval will have to be opportunistic in the event of a slip or knockdown. The choice here is Kara-France to dictate action on her terms and improve her case for a possible title shot.
Number of Notes: 78. Kai Kara-France has averaged 78 significant strikes in his four UFC wins. His 5.27 important strokes per minute rank 2nd among all active male flyweights in the UFC.
Ketlen Vieira ($ 8,800) vs. Sijara Eubanks ($ 7,400) – Bantamweight Women
Vieira is looking to get back on the winning track after seeing her unbeaten record come to a shocking end against Irene Aldana, who knocked her out in a round in December 2018. Before that loss, the Brazilian established herself as a contender with victories. on the likes of Ashlee Evans-Smith, as well as former title challengers Cat Zingano and Sara McMann. Eubanks is on a two-game winning streak and is only two weeks away from a big and impressive victory over favorite Julia Avila. “Sarj” replaces injured Marion Reneau, so this is a huge opportunity for her to climb the ranks to 135 pounds.
It’s tempting to pick Eubanks for the upset considering she’s a pretty good wrestler with smothering top control and a ground-and-pound. However, Vieira is a significantly better defensive wrestler than Avila and she can maintain a grueling pace. Eubanks is pitching powerfully and notably had Aspen Ladd struggling early in their UFC encounter, so that’s something to watch out for. Vieira enjoys working in the clinch and from first position, and Eubanks has a tendency to slow down when the pace is fast and she’s unable to dominate on the mat. I’m a little worried about how Vieira is going to deal with a lengthy injury-related layoff, but I believe she will cope in a competitive situation.
Number of Notes: 41. Ketlen Vieira’s controlling time percentage in her UFC fights is around 41%, ranking 4th among active female bantamweight.
Jake Matthews ($ 9,400) vs. Diego Sanchez ($ 6,800) – Welterweight
“The Celtic Kid” was a very intriguing prospect when he made his UFC debut in 2014, but he had issues with his consistency. Matthews has won five of his last six games, including a pair of decision wins over Rostem Akman and Emil Weber Meek. Sanchez is a fan favorite, a former title challenger, and one of the toughest and most fearless fighters in MMA history, but at 38 he is in the twilight of his career. While “The Nightmare” have won three of their last four games, their last outing against Michel Pereira was a disqualification win after Pereira landed an illegal strike in a fight Sanchez was losing badly.
Matthews is both the most expensive fighter on the card and the biggest betting favorite, and that’s understandable. Sanchez’s cardio and grappling are essentially the only two aspects of his game that haven’t eroded terribly, and Matthews has the benefits pretty much everywhere else. Matthews’ boxing has improved dramatically and he will be way too physical for Sanchez. I expect a dominant performance from Matthews, potentially even a TKO if Sanchez’s durability has diminished completely.
Number of Notes: 16. Matthews wrestling is one of his greatest strengths and he uses it to good effect in the UFC. Its withdrawal differential inside the Octagon is +16 (21 to 5). Sanchez was shot down five times in his one-sided loss to Michael Chiesa.
Define your alignments here: MMA $ 500,000 Special 253 [$100K to 1st]
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