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UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa Fight Results

Live results, winner interviews, and more from UFC Fight Island

UFC kicks off its second run on UFC FIGHT ISLAND with one of the biggest events of the year, as middleweight champion Israel Adesanya looks to defend his title against fellow undefeated knockout artist and No. 2 ranked contender Paulo Costa. In the co-main event, the vacant UFC light heavyweight title is on the line as No. 1 ranked Dominick Reyes takes on No. 3 Jan Blachowicz. 
 
Adesanya (19-0, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand) has quickly become one of the top superstars in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2018. After securing impressive wins over Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva, Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum in one of the best fights of the year for the interim UFC middleweight championship. He followed up this performance by finishing Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title in front of a record-breaking crowd of over 57,000 fans. Now, Adesanya looks to put on another vintage performance and become the first person to defeat Costa.
 
Brazilian powerhouse Costa (13-0, fighting out of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil) intends to make the most of his first UFC title shot by landing another signature knockout. Costa developed his reputation as one of the most devastating finishers in the middleweight division by stopping all but one of his wins before the final bell, including victories over Uriah Hall, Johny Hendricks and Garreth McLellan. Now, he plans to dethrone Adesanya and begin his reign as undisputed champion. 
 
Reyes (12-1, fighting out of Victorville, Calif.) aims to make good on his second shot at UFC gold and prove that he is the best light heavyweight on the planet. Blachowicz (26-8, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland) is among the most successful UFC athletes to hail from Poland and has his sights set on becoming the first male Polish champion. 

Also On The Card:

•    Top 10 flyweights collide as No. 7 Kai Kara France (21-8 1 NC, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand) and No. 10 Brandon Royval (11-4, fighting out of Lakewood, Colo.) look to steal the show 

•    No. 7 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Kelten Vieira (10-1, fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil) intends to get back to her winning ways when she takes on No. 13 Sijara Eubanks (7-4, fighting out of Toms River, N.J.)

•    Top featherweight prospects lock horns as Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1, fighting out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) battles Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1, fighting out of Grozny, Chechen Republic, Russia)

•    Brad Riddell (8-1, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand) and Alex da Silva (21-2, fighting out of Balneario, Santa Catarina, Brazil) intend to make a statement in a clash of lightweight finishers

•    UFC Hall of Famer Diego Sanchez (32-12, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) intends to secure another historic win when he meets tough Jake Matthews (15-4, fighting out of Epping, Victoria, Australia)

UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa Fight Results

What time is UFC 253? 

  • Main Card: 10pm ET / 7pm PT
  • Prelims: 8pm ET / 5pm PT
  • Early Prelims: 7pm ET / 4pm PT

UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa Early Prelims

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Danilo Marques (29-28 x 2, 30-27) def Khadis Ibragimov by Unanimous Decision

UFC 253: Danilo Marques Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Danilo Marques Post-fight Interview
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Brazil’s Danilo Marques scored a victory in his UFC debut, outpointing Khadis Ibragimov via unanimous decision in the light heavyweight opener.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Marques, now 10-2. Ibragimov falls to 8-4.

Marques looked to use his grappling attack throughout the first round with only sporadic success until the final stages of the frame, when he took Ibragimov’s back and made a rear naked choke attempt just before the horn sounded. 

Ibragimov had a slow start to the fight and that continued into round two, even though he left Marques with a cut on his nose in the first that bothered the Brazilian. Just before the midway point of the second, Marques again took his foe’s back and looked for the choke, and while he didn’t get it, he maintained control until the end of the round.

The Russian did have some positive moments in the third round, as he attempted a guillotine choke and fired off some solid strikes both on the feet and the mat, but Marques’ grappling continued to pay dividends as he handed Ibragimov his fourth straight defeat.

Juan Espino def Jeff Hughes by Submission (Arm Triangle), 3:48, R1

The Ultimate Fighter 28’s Juan Espino made his first start since winning the show in November 2018, and it was a victorious return as he submitted Jeff Hughes in the first round.

UFC 253: Juan Espino submits Hughes
UFC 253: Juan Espino submits Hughes
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Espino opened his scoring with a takedown in the second minute and moved right into side control. Hughes found his way back to his feet a few times, but Espino still found a way to drag him to the mat repeatedly, and after yet another takedown, he locked in the arm triangle that forced Hughes to tap out at the 3:48 mark.

With the win, Spain’s Espino moves to 11-1. Ohio’s Hughes falls to 10-4, 1 NC.

UFC 253: Juan Espino Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Juan Espino Post-fight Interview
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William Knight (29-28, 30-27 x 2) def Aleksa Camur by Unanimous Decision

In a meeting of Dana White’s Contender Series alumni, Connecticut’s William Knight scored a three-round unanimous decision victory over the previously unbeaten Aleksa Camur in light heavyweight action.

The majority of the first round was spent in the clinch, Camur controlling much of the time against the fence, but with not much action going on, leading to a restart by referee Lukasz Bosacki with 40 seconds left. Once separated, Knight landed a couple hard punches, but then the horn intervened.

UFC 253: William Knight Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: William Knight Post-fight Interview
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The bout went to the mat early in round two, Camur taking his back but Knight reversing position and getting on top in the second minute. Camur got out of trouble and back to his feet moments later, and it was into the clinch again until Knight threw his foe to the mat. After taking a few ground strikes, Camur got to his feet again, but he was grounded once more with under two minutes to go. This time, Knight kept him there until the end of the frame, nearly finishing matters with a late arm lock.

The third was another Knight round, allowing him to leave the Octagon with the victory via scores of 29-28 and 30-27 twice.

Ludovit Klein def Shane Young by KO, 1:16, R1

The first Slovakia native to fight in the UFC put his country on the map in a big way, as Ludovit Klein knocked out Shane Young in the first round.

After a brief feeling out process, Klein went on the attack with a head kick that caught Young’s attention, but it was a blistering punch combination that put New Zealand’s Young down and out, bringing in referee Kevin Sataki to halt the bout at 1:16 of round one.

 

UFC 253: Ludovit Klein Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Ludovit Klein Post-fight Interview
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With the win, Klein, a late replacement for Nate Landwehr who missed weight for the fight at 150 pounds, moves to 17-2. Young falls to 13-5.

Jake Matthews (30-26 x3) def Diego Sanchez by Unanimous Decision

Aussie up and comer Jake Matthews earned one of the biggest victories of his career, winning a shutout three-round decision over veteran star Diego Sanchez.

Scores were 30-26 across the board for Matthews, now 17-4. Sanchez falls to 31-13.

Sanchez charged at Matthews at the start, eating a couple right hands for his trouble before the two settled into a more measured pace. Matthews used his distance and hand speed well, dodging Sanchez’ rushes while potshotting the veteran in return. Matthews added a takedown and ground strikes late for good measure to wrap up a big round.

UFC 253: Jake Matthews Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Jake Matthews Post-fight Interview
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While less dominant than in the first round, Matthews still led the action in the second, just quicker and more accurate with his strikes than his foe.

Already bloodied by Matthews’ strikes, Sanchez suffered a nasty cut early in the third after being knocked down by the Australian, and while the “Nightmare” weathered the storm, his window of opportunity to make a comeback was rapidly closing. Game to the end, Sanchez looked for a submission from his back, but this was Matthews’ night.

Brad Riddell (29-28 x 3) def Alex da Silva by Unanimous Decision

In an entertaining lightweight matchup, New Zealand’s Brad Riddell delivered a three-round unanimous decision victory over Brazil’s Alex da Silva.

All three judges saw it 29-28 for Riddell, now 9-1. Da Silva falls to 21-3.

Da Silva opened up with a solid combination upstairs that landed flush. Riddell took it well and fired back, but after a couple exchanges, he was taken down by the Brazilian. Riddell got brief moments of daylight before being grounded a couple more times, but with a little over a minute left, he got free. Moments later, Riddell nearly got caught in a guillotine choke that was only interrupted by the end of the round.

UFC 253: Brad Riddell Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Brad Riddell Post-fight Interview
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Riddell began finding his range in the second stanza as he landed a variety of shots to the head and body, scored a takedown and defended da Silva’s attempts to put the fight back on the mat. Da Silva did get his own cracks in, but it was a clear round for Riddell heading into the final frame.

With the fight up for grabs, the two fighters battled accordingly, marred only by a stoppage by referee Lukasz Bosacki for a Riddell eye poke that was clearly a punch that rattled da Silva. Once the fight resumed, Riddell went on the attack, taking the round and the fight.

UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa Main Card

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Hakeem Dawodu (30-27, 29-28) def Zubaira Tukhugov (29-28) by Split Decision

Calgary’s Hakeem Dawodu made it five straight in the main card opener, defeating Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision in a bout that may have earned him a spot in the featherweight top 15.

The first round was largely a war of nerves, but the most telling blows came from the fists of Tukhugov (19-5-1), who landed hard shots on Dawodu (12-1-1) before stepping out of range of any return fire.

UFC 253: Hakeem Dawodu Post-Fight Interview
UFC 253: Hakeem Dawodu Post-Fight Interview
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The two-way action heated up in the second round, Dawodu getting busier while Tukhugov still picked his shots effectively. A late takedown by Tukhugov was a big point scorer, though, as he was able to keep the Canadian grounded for a solid spell.

Dawodu surged in the third frame, walking down Tukhugov throughout as he landed hard shots to the body and legs, and while he was unsuccessful in goading the Russian into a brawl, it didn’t matter, as he took the decision by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29.

Tukhugov missed weight for the bout at 150 pounds.

Ketlen Vieira (29-28 x 3) def Sijara Eubanks by Unanimous Decision

 

Bantamweight contenders Ketlen Vieira and Sijara Eubanks went back and forth for three rounds, with Vieira ultimately emerging victorious via close, but unanimous, decision.

Scores were 29-28 across the board for the No. 7-ranked Vieira, now 11-1. The No. 13-ranked Eubanks, who was coming off a win over Julia Avila two weeks ago, falls to 7-5.

UFC 253: Ketlen Vieira Post-fight Interview
UFC 253: Ketlen Vieira Post-fight Interview
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The 135-pounders kept it on the feet for the majority of the first round, each having their moments in a competitive frame that Vieira may have stolen with a late takedown.

Vieira put the fight back on the mat in the first minute of round two, but referee Jason Herzog decided to restart the action midway through the stanza, leading to more competitive standup action from both fighters.

The third round was as close as the first two, but this time it was Eubanks with the late takedown as well as the more efficient striking in the final five minutes.

Brandon Royval def Kai Kara France by Submission (Guillotine Choke), 0:48, R2

A solid contender for 2020 Rookie of the Year, Brandon Royval made it two for two over flyweight contenders, as he submitted New Zealand’s Kai Kara-France in the second round.

A right hand by Kara-France dropped Royval in the early going, but a spinning elbow by Royval evened the score before the two took the battle to the mat, where Royval worked his ground game. Soon the two were standing and trading once more, Royval sending Kara-France to the mat with a knee with under two minutes left. Royval briefly had a guillotine choke before the fight went back to the feet, and there were more heated exchanges, each man emptying the tank before the horn ended the round.

Early in the second, Kara-France lifted Royval for a takedown, but the Coloradan locked in a tight guillotine choke, and it was game over, as Kara-France tapped out at the :48 mark.

With the win, the No. 9-ranked Royval, who defeated Tim Elliott in his debut, moves to 12-4. The No. 7-ranked Kara-France falls to 21-9, 1 NC.

Co-Main Event:

Jan Blachowicz def Dominick Reyes by TKO, 4:36, R2

Jan Blachowicz becomes the UFC light heavyweight champion at UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa

For the first time in nearly a decade, the UFC’s light heavyweight division has a champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier, and that champion is Poland’s Jan Blachowicz, who stopped Dominick Reyes in the second round to win the title vacated by Jones earlier this year.

UFC 253: Jan Blachowicz Post-Fight Interview
UFC 253: Jan Blachowicz Post-Fight Interview
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The tension was thick in the arena throughout the first round, with neither fighter taking any unnecessary chances. Blachowicz was the busier of the two, though, with a kick to the body leaving a visible mark on Reyes’ side.

Reyes picked up his work rate in the second round, but when he opened up late in the round, Blachowicz responded with power and volume, first hurting Reyes with a 1-2 to the nose before dropping him moments later with a left hand. A couple follow-up shots ended the bout, with referee Kevin Sataki stepping in at the 4:36 mark of round two.

With the win, Blachowicz moves to 27-8. Reyes falls to 12-2.

Main Event:

Israel Adesanya def Paulo Costa by TKO, 3:59, R2

UFC 253: Israel Adesanya Post-Fight Interview
UFC 253: Israel Adesanya Post-Fight Interview
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Paulo Costa was expected to be the man to test – and possibly beat – Israel Adesanya, but the middleweight champion was on top of his game in the UFC 253 main event on Fight Island, stopping “The Eraser” in the second round to successfully defend his undisputed crown for the second time. 

Adesanya opened the fight with leg kicks, Costa responding with one of his own close to a minute in. In the second minute, Costa drilled the champ with a kick to the body, but Adesanya came back immediately with a few in return. Brazil’s Costa showboated, trying to egg Adesanya on, but the champ wasn’t biting. Instead, the Nigeria native pecked and poked at his challenger’s legs, occasionally moving his attack to the body. 

Adesanya was simply brilliant in the second round. First he unloaded with more leg kicks, then he went upstairs with a kick that cut Costa over the right eye. From there, it was just a matter of time, and as Adesanya dodged some incoming fire, he landed a left hand that put Costa on the deck. A few ground strikes later, and the champion had retained his title, with Jason Herzog stepping in at 3:59 of round two.

With the win, Adesanya moves to 20-0. Costa falls to 13-1.

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