The UFC heads back to Yas Island for its second Fight Island series. This time around, the promotion will hold five events at the Flash Forum beginning UFC 253 this Saturday. The event will be headlined by two title fights. Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa fight for the UFC middleweight title in the main event while Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz dispute the vacant light heavyweight title in the co-main event.

Let’s take a look at the five bouts in the main card and make our predictions:

“Fighting" Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa

Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion. The 31-year old Nigerian-born New Zealand-based fighter is the 4th ranked pound for pound fighter in the UFC. This former Glory kickboxing middleweight champion is regarded as one of the best strikers in the sport today. Adesanya won the undisputed title after knocking out Robert Whitaker at UFC 243. He is undefeated with a record of 19-0 with 14 knockouts. The Last Stylebender is a switch hitter who stands 6-4 tall and has a long reach of 80 inches.

Paulo Costa is the 2nd ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 29-year old Brazilian is the former Jungle Fight middleweight champion who vacated his belt after one successful title defense. Costa was 12-0 with all of his wins coming via stoppage when he fought Yoel Romero at UFC 241. He won that fight via unanimous decision, his first fight that went the distance. Costa is also undefeated at 13-0 with 11 knockouts and one win via submission. He stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 72 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 09/25/2020

Costa has faced only one technical striker in Uriah Hall and he absorbed some heavy shots before his pressure fighting style finally paid off. Adesanya is much better than Costa and Costa doesn’t have the wrestling game to slow down Adesanya’s striking offense. The Last Style Bender also has three inches in height and eight inches in reach over Costa. Those will be factors too in a standup war. No question, Costa will have the puncher’s chance in this fight but he is too predictable here. I like the Brazilian to give a good fight early on but I expect the champion to make adjustments and take over after one round.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya. If you agree with me, go with Izzy by KO, TKO, or DQ at +160 via BetOnline

“Fighting" Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz

Dominick Reyes is the no. 1 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year old known as the Devastator is a former Division 1 football player who fought for promotions like King of the Cage, Hoosier Fight Club, and LFA. He joined the UFC in 2017 and won his first six UFC bouts to earn a title shot against Jon Jones. Reyes took Jones to the limit but lost via unanimous decision, his first career loss. The Devastator has a record of 12-1 with seven knockouts and two wins via submission. He stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 77 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance.

Jan Blachowicz is the former KSW light heavyweight champion. The 37-year old from Poland also won the KSW light heavyweight tournament in 2007, 2008, and 2010. Blachowicz joined the UFC in 2014 and struggled with only two wins in his first six octagon appearances. He’s gone 7-1 since then and has an overall record of 26-8 with 7 knockouts and nine wins via submission. Blachowicz is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 78 inches. He is coming off a knockout win over Corey Anderson.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 09/25/2020

Reyes likes to fight on the feet, with only one takedown landed in his last seven bouts while owning an 82% takedown defense. He prefers to fight from a distance as he utilizes excellent leg kicks to set up his powerful left hand. The Devastator though has a tendency to throw one punch at a time and he also has a tendency to fight off his back foot which isn’t ideal when you leave the fight at the hands of the judges. Reyes’ conditioning was also an issue when he fought Jon Jones. On the other hand, Blachowicz is the better all-around fighter here and he too has plenty of pop in his punches. He has a crisp jab but he often leaves it long, leaving him open for a counter left. I like Reyes to catch Blachowicz in a situation like this or when Blachowicz is trying to close the distance.

Prediction: Dominick Reyes. If you want Reyes at plus money, go with Reyes via TKO, KO, or DQ at +100 via

“Fighting" Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Royval

Kai Kara-France is the 7th ranked flyweight in the UFC. This 27-year old from Auckland in New Zealand won the KOZ flyweight title in Australia and also fought for AFC, Rizin, PXC, and Hex Fighting Series. He joined the UFC in 2018 and is 3-1 inside the octagon. Kara-France is coming off a win over Tyson Nam last November. He stands 5-4 tall with a reach of 69 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. His record stands at 21-8 with 9 knockouts and three wins via submission.

Brandon Royval fought for WSOF, SCL, and LFA before joining the UFC earlier this year. Royval submitted Tim Elliott last May at UFC on ESPN 9 in his UFC debut. He worked as a security guard in a juvenile detention center but quit after earning a $50K Fight of the Night bonus against Elliott. Royval has a record of 11-4 with three knockouts and seven wins via submission. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 68 inches. Royval’s last three wins have come via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 09/25/2020

Kai Kara-France is a very active fighter with a long reach for this division. He also has excellent footwork which makes his opponents struggle in hitting him. Kara-France likes to throw a lot of jabs to set up his right hand. When he is pressured, he circles away instead of firing back. Royval is also long for this weight class and he has steady diet o jabs and kicks. He’s never been knocked out and he is willing to take a punch in order to get close and secure a takedown. On the floor, he has good submission moves. Royal is tempting here with the plus money because of his polished grappling and submission skills. But he’s yet to prove himself against quality opposition. Kara-France should hold his own in the grappling department and will win this fight with a huge advantage on the feet.

Prediction: Kai Kara-France. If you’re not sure, bet on this fight to go the distance at -155 at

Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks

Ketlen Vieira is the 7th ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. The 29-year old from Manaus in Amazonas, Brazil is the former Mr.Cage and Big Way bantamweight champion in Brazil. She won her first four UFC bouts before losing to Irene Aldana via knockout n her last contest. Vieira is 10-1 with two knockouts and four wins via submission. Vieira was booked to fight Marion Reneau but the latter pulled out from the bout with an undisclosed injury. She is 5-8 tall with a reach of 68 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Sijara Eubanks is the 15th ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. This 35-year old from Springfield, Massachusetts fought for CFFC and Invicta FC before joining the UFC in 2018. She won her first two octagon appearances but is just 2-2 since then. Eubanks is coming off a win over Julia Avila just last September 12th. She is 6-4 with two knockouts and stands 5-4 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter. 

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 09/25/2020

Vieira is known for her elite grappling but her striking is also good. Although she has been outstruck in four of five UFC bouts, she throws good counters and has great footwork. I don’t expect VIera to try and win this fight on her feet. She will try to take Eubanks to the mat and work towards a submission. However, Eubanks is an excellent striker and she’s outstruck all of her six opponents inside the octagon. She is an uptempo fighter who makes her opponents miss. Sarj is taking this bout on short notice and she will be fighting for the second time in two weeks. However, I think that Eubanks has the wrestling and cardio to upset Vieira. She also has the edge in striking and has a better BJJ pedigree. If there’s an underdog I really like in this event, it’s Eubanks.

Prediction: Sijara Eubanks

“Fighting" Hakeem Dawodu vs Zubaira Tukhugov

Hakeem Dawodu is a former Muay Thai champion and kickboxing champion. The 29-year old Canadian previously competed for the WSOF before joining the UFC. He lost his Octagon debut but has won four straight bouts since then. He is coming off a split decision win over Julio Arce at UFC 244. Dawodu stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 73 inches and is an orthodox fighter. His record is 11-1 with seven knockouts.

Zubaira Tukhugov fought for Cage Warriors, ProFC, and EFN before joining the UFC in 2014. The 29-year old from Russia is 4-1-1 inside the octagon and is coming off a TKO win over Kevin Aguilar last February. Tukhugov served a one-year suspension for his part in the post-fight McGregor vs Khabib brawl. He stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 68 inches and is an orthodox fighter. Tukhugov has a record of 19-4 with seven knockouts and one submission win.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 09/25/2020

Dawodu is aggressive on the feet. He’s outstruck all of his five UFC opponents and is averaging 5.28 significant strikes per minute. He has a good mix of high and low kicks which open up his punching opportunities. Dawodu hasn’t shown a ground game as he has not yet landed a single takedown in the UFC. Tukhugov is the opposite as he likes to take his fights to the floor. He averages 2.88 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed a takedown in four of six UFC bouts. Although he is an excellent grappler, he doesn’t have elite submission skills. You can make a good case for either fighter here but I will go with Tukhugov because of his better wrestling. I think he can hang with Dawodu on the feet but if he takes this fight down to the mat, he’s going to dominate.

Prediction: Zubaira Tukhugov. Picking him to win on points is a good idea too at +200 at BetOnline.

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