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Adesanya retains UFC middleweight title as a new champion is crowned at light-heavyweight

Abu Dhabi played host to UFC 253 overnight.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (file pic).
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (file pic).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

IT WAS BILLED as a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, but the UFC 253 main event transpired to be a straightforward victory for middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya (20-0).

The undefeated New Zealander dominated Paulo Costa (13-1), before condemning the 29-year-old Brazilian to his first professional defeat with a TKO stoppage in the second round.

It was a second successful title defence for the stylish striker, who overcame Yoel Romero back in March after dethroning Robert Whittaker last October.

Adesanya, a 31-year-old former boxer and kickboxer, said he’s now keen to put his title on the line against Jared Cannonier: “He’s the one I want to fight next. He deserves it. If he beats Robert Whittaker handily and dominates him, he’s next.”

Also on last night’s card in Abu Dhabi, Poland’s Jan Blachowicz (27-8) upset the odds by claiming the vacant light-heavyweight title at the expense of Dominick Reyes (12-2).

After his second-round TKO win over the Californian, Blachowicz called out Jon Jones, who recently relinquished the 205-pound strap ahead of a move to heavyweight.

“The only thing in my mind is Jon Jones – where are you?” he said. “This is how we do it in Poland. I’m waiting for you.” 

UFC 253

  • Israel Adesanya def. Paulo Costa via TKO (punches) after 3:59 of round two
  • Jan Błachowicz def. Dominick Reyes via TKO (punches) after 4:36 of round two
  • Brandon Royval def. Kai Kara-France via submission (guillotine choke) after 0:48 of round two 
  • Ketlen Vieira def. Sijara Eubanks via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)
  • Hakeem Dawodu def. Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision (28–29, 30–27, 29–28) 
  • Brad Riddell def. Alex da Silva Coelho via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)
  • Jake Matthews def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–26, 30–26)
  • Ludovit Klein def. Shane Young via KO (head kick and punches) after 1:16 of round one
  • William Knight def. Aleksa Camur via unanimous decision (29–28, 30–27, 30–27) 
  • Juan Espino Dieppa def. Jeff Hughes via submission (scarf hold choke) after 3:48 of round one 
  • Danilo Marques def. Khadis Ibragimov via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 30–27)

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Paul Dollery

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