The UFC returns to fight island this weekend with an objectively phenomenal card. In the main event of the evening, Israel Adesanya takes on Paulo Costa in what is one of the most heavily anticipated bouts of 2020. Although the fights guarantee fireworks, smart betting will be required due to a lack of heavy value underdogs on the card. That being said, here are some UFC 253 betting tips to help you win big this weekend.
UFC 253 Betting Tips
1) Hakeem Dawodu (+105) to win
To start the main card, Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1) faces off against Zubaira Tukhugov in what will likely play out as a classic striker vs grappler matchup.
Hakeem Dawodu is one of the top Canadian prospects in the organization. “Mean” is an excellent striker, with seven of his eleven victories coming by way of knockout. Dawodu has a very entertaining stand-up game, utilizing an aggressive style and clean boxing to systematically breakdown his opponents. The Calgary native will seek to utilize his kicks to create openings against Tukhugov, whilst also being aggressive upon clinch exits to try and catch his opponent in a moment of laziness.
Both Tukhugov and Dawodu have obvious issues with their cardio, so it is up to each fighter to try and push their adversary into positions that they are less comfortable in. Tukhugov will seek to capitalize on any sloppy high-kicks from Dawodu to take the fight to the ground and apply his heavy top game.
Dawodu has an established jab and is great at counter-striking with long and effective combinations. Tukhugov looked vulnerable to such continuous rhythm changes against British prospect Lerone Murphy, and there is a good chance that Dawodu shall be able to grab a result against the Chechnyan. After dropping a bout in which he was a -465 favorite, it is fair to say that the bookies have overrated Tukhugov in the past and the same could be the said about this contest.
2) Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa over 2.5 rounds (-135)
Someone’s 0 has to go, and the fight for the middleweight strap could genuinely go either way. Will Adesanya’s (19-0) sniper-style trump Costa’s (13-0) relentless pressure and body shots? There is no way of telling. However, when delving deeper into the matchup there is excellent value for the bout to reach at least the third round.
Although Costa is seen as a huge power puncher, primarily due to his Adonis-esque physique, it is in fact his volume that has to lead to his numerous finishes. Adesanya has a substantial eight-inch reach advantage, which will help mitigate Costa’s striking presence.
Since joining the UFC, Adesanya has only two finishes in the first two rounds. The first of which was over Derek Brunson who, with all due respect, has not got near the defensive boxing ability of Costa. The second was over Robert Whittaker who despite being an excellent striker, had just been through ten rounds of war with Yoel Romero and has since admitted he had been heavily overtraining, so was potentially compromised coming into the bout.
Adesanya’s gameplan will likely look to drag Costa into the later rounds, testing the gas tank of the bulky Brazillian. Carrying all that muscle can’t be easy, and Costa had shown some cardio issues on The Ultimate Fighter. Therefore the chances of this bout ending within two rounds ultimately lie with Costa catching Adesanya early. However, Costa will have to pace himself for a five-round fight, and will probably have a slightly lesser output than what we have previously seen from him. Because of this, betting on the bout to reach the third, or even fourth, round is an excellent inclusion on any UFC 253 betting tips.
3) Diego Sanchez (+525) to win
In eleven of his last twelve bouts, Diego Sanchez (30-12) has been the betting underdog. His record in these bouts is 6-6. To be clear, it is most likely that Sanchez shall lose the fight. However, considering the monumental underdog status of the UFC hall-of-famer, it could be a lot of fun to back him to beat the odds again.
Jake Matthews (16-4) may have undeniable talent, but he is certainly no world-beating prospect at this point in his career. Currently, Sanchez’s biggest issue is his non-existent chin. Considering the fact Matthews only has four wins coming by way of knockout, he is perhaps not the worst matchup for Sanchez all things considered.