Undefeated middleweights collide
This weekend, UFC® middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defends his crown against No. 2 ranked contender Paulo Costa on UFC’s return to Fight Island. This highly anticipated contest, which UFC president Dana White has tipped as a potential ‘Fight of the Year’, sees two undefeated stars put their perfect records on the line in a battle for the ages. Adesanya, who holds an unbeaten 19-0 professional MMA record, is the reigning, undisputed champion of the middleweight division, and the current No. 4 ranked men’s pound-for-pound athlete. With notable wins over Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva in his UFC career, “The Last Stylebender”, who is Nigerian-born and New Zealand-based, will look to utilise his unorthodox, yet precise striking to outclass his opponent.
Looking to take his crown, however, is the Brazilian Paulo Costa, who enters this bout having defeated Yoel Romero in his last outing. With 11 wins by KO and one via submission to his name, “The Eraser” is undoubtedly one of the toughest tests Adesanya has faced in his career to date. With his enduring pace and stamina, Costa will be looking to put the pressure on Adesanya in the Octagon® and secure a momentous victory.
An undefeated match-up is rare these days, but who will gain the belt and who will be dealt their first career loss? Find out in this epic showdown!
A new light heavyweight king
In the co-main event, there’s the small matter of a light heavyweight belt that needs claiming, as No. 1 ranked UFC light heavyweight Dominick Reyes takes on No. 3 ranked Jan Blachowicz for the vacant title. Reyes, who has had seven wins by KO and nine first-round finishes in his career, will feel he has a point to prove after his last outing, where he was narrowly defeated by former champion Jon Jones in a very close decision. “The Devastator” was undefeated before that encounter and showed in that contest he has the ability to compete with the very best UFC athletes.
His opponent, however, has also impressed recently and Blachowicz currently rides a three-fight win streak, having won seven of his past eight bouts inside the Octagon. In that time, the Pole has secured victories over the likes of Corey Anderson, Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza. In what will be the 38-year-old’s first appearance in a championship bout, Blachowicz will be keen to make his mark and send a message to the rest of the light heavyweight division by claiming the title.
Both are looking to prove they are worthy of the belt, but who will be crowned the new champion?
Stars of the future?
Opening the main card will be Russia’s Zubaira Tukhugov as he takes on Canadian Hakeem Dawodu in a battle of top featherweight prospects. “Warrior” secured his fourth UFC win when he defeated Kevin Aguilar by an impressive first round knockout back in February, with the Russian improving to 19-4-1 career record with the victory. Tukhugov will look to use his effective striking and ground game to his advantage, as well as incorporating the experience gained from his training partner, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, to triumph on Saturday night.
His opponent, Hakeem Dawodu, is known for his Muay Thai style and striking prowess. He has impressed during his current four-fight win streak in the Octagon and currently holds a 11-1-1 professional record. With seven of those victories coming via knockout, expect “Mean” to try and to add to that tally here and continue his rise through the division.
This matchup could be one of the closest of the night, but who will prevail?