In such an unbelievably testing sport, for an MMA fighter to go through their career unbeaten is almost unheard of. But for Israel Adesanya, the Nigerian who has lived in New Zealand since the age of 10, that rare landmark is very much in reach.
The UFC’s middleweight champion boasts a perfect 19-0 record in the franchise. The next contender who will be looking to end that unbeaten run will be Paulo Costa, who will lock horns with the 31-year-old at UFC 253 on September 27. The Brazilian is a dangerous fighter in his own right, boasting a 13-0 record of his own, and so somebody will be going home rather unhappy when the dust has settled on this headline bout. But will that be Adesanya?
UFC 253 will feature a full card of action, and while having a bet on the action might be a good way to spice up the afternoon - with the sportsbooks making the Kiwi a warm 1.63 favourite - if you're intending to watch Adesanya vs Costa and also catch the other fights, then you will have a good few hours to spare. A number of the sportsbook providers offer accompanying online casino NZ services. With a quick scan of a review site, no doubt you can pick up a few bonuses and enjoy first-class casino action. Games such as roulette and blackjack are arguably a suitable match for a big fight night.
That will be an entertaining way to spend your time ahead of the ‘ring walks’ of this legacy fight. Ranked fourth in the UFC’s current pound-for-pound list, Adesanya’s place in the sport’s hall of fame is assured and he will be looking to deliver another entertaining performance that cements his status at the end of the month.
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What happens when you put two incredible strikers into the Octagon together? Well, nobody knows – that’s kind of the point! There is risk attached for Adesanya against Costa, who has built a fearsome reputation based upon some outstanding KO victories.
The 29-year-old, like many Brazilian fighters, has an extensive background in jiu-jitsu, the martial art in which he owns a black belt. And yet, it’s in the rather less technical skills of punching, elbowing and kicking where Costa has really found his feet.
Ten of his thirteen victories have come from a single KO punch or a flurry of strikes, and while those wins have typically come against lower-ranked fighters last time out Costa proved his class with a triumph over Yoel Romero, who himself is ranked fifth in the UFC’s middleweight division.
Romero has an exceptional background in wrestling, and many fancied him to take Costa to the mat and teach him something of a lesson. But instead, the stand-up contest saw the two men go to war, and aside from an accidental low blow from Costa, this was an all-out battle that saw a couple of clean knockdowns from both sides.
In the end, Costa was given the win by the judges 29-28 in a fight that went the distance despite some extraordinary striking. “I train like a crazy man [to] fight against this beast,” he said afterwards. His preparations for Adesanya will surely need to be as frenzied.
The Brazilian will also need to show plenty of heart and courage against Adesanya, whose own guts cannot be questioned given his outstandingly brutal career thus far. Take his last six fights and the five that Costa has fought in the UFC – combined, they have won Fight of the Night on three occasions and Performance of the Night on five.
In short, Adesanya vs Costa is set to bet a brutal battle with gold, pride and that perfect ‘0’ on the line. Let’s hope the New Zealander is the man who comes out on top.
Written by Lucy
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