UFC 253 put two undefeated middleweights against each other and in a fight UFC President Dana White predicted to be fight of the year, the outcome was more of a statement on how good Israel Adesanya is. That along with the crowning of a new light-heavyweight champion in Jan Blachowicz and some great wins on the undercard made UFC 253 a great event.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 253 with the new champ at light heavyweight and a near-perfect middleweight performance from Adesanya. UFC 253 delivered in more ways than one, here are some takeaways from the event.
The Chaotic Elephant in the Fight Week Room
The last UFC event in Las Vegas had Colby Covington get back in the win column against Tyron Woodley. He got a congratulatory call from the President, and there are a lot of fights to make for him. However, none of that matters when comments like the ones he made on-air to current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, and the comments he made against Woodley at the press conference. Freedom of speech is one thing, but in the current turbulent time’s comments like that should be addressed, whether UFC President Dana White wants to or not. He did address them in Abu Dhabi leading up to UFC 253, but his response will likely lead to more questions.
Espino vs. Oleinik Please
Juan Espino pulled off a Submission win that would have made Josh Barnett proud. When the old school, judo style submissions make an appearance in the UFC, it’s usually by Aleksei Oleinik, if there’s a match that booked itself, Espino did it with his win at UFC 253.
Young Man’s Game
Diego Sanchez picked up a bloody loss against Jake Matthews. He’s already acknowledged the sun setting on his career but he plans on going out fighting. A lot has been made of his decision to be coached by someone that has methods outside of the ordinary but Sanchez still shows up to fight. With now three fights left on his contract, he still has a chance to walk off into the sunset of his career with a win. But it’s hard to watch him lose.
Raw Dawg Makes a Statement
Brandon Royval was the underdog against Kai Kara-France but even when he was in trouble, something had Royval moving on to the next move. As predicted, his edge was in the grappling after displaying some nice submission attempt sequences in the first round, Kara-France’s attempt at a takedown put him right into an arm-in guillotine that seemed tight, and got tighter when they dropped to the ground. It’s time to start paying attention to Royval at 125 pounds.
Jan Blachowicz is the new, light-heavyweight champion of the UFC. He and Dominick Reyes fought like two men that wanted to be champions and while Reyes did have some small moments, Blachowicz’s power would be too much for Reyes. Blachowicz dropped Reyes in round two becoming the new champion and asking, “Where are you Jon Jones?”
Deconstructing Paulo Costa
Confidence is nice, but when taking leg kicks and showboating like they don’t hurt, when they absolutely do is a sure way to lose a fight. That was pretty much the story of Israel Adesanya versus Costa in the main event of UFC 253. Adesanya is setting himself up to be the greatest middleweight champion at one of the best times in the sport. With him seemingly clearing out the division in what seems like no time at now 20-0, who’s there for him to beat? Adesanya said in his post-fight interview that if Jarrod Cannonier gets past Robert Whittaker, he would like it to be him.
Dana White’s Final Word
During the post-fight press conference, Dana White said that UFC 253 broke all kinds of records. He commented on the growth of the UFC since they held their return events in Florida around the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how oddly enough the UFC’s growth has remained constant. This being the first event for the UFC’s second time at Fight Island, White expects UFC 254 to break any records set by the one’s done at UFC 253.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event then what is listed here, but Fight Island seems to be paying off for the UFC.
What did you take away from the event?