Israel Adesanya will look to defend his UFC middleweight title on Saturday, when he’ll meet Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253 at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, aka Fight Island, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The prelims (7 p.m. ET start time) can both be watched on ESPN2 or ESPN+, while the main PPV card (10 p.m. ET) can only be ordered exclusively through ESPN+.
You can order the UFC 253 PPV right here, or you can read on for a more detailed description of your different pricing options:
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How to Order UFC 253 If You Don’t Have ESPN+
You can get a special bundle deal that includes a one-year subscription to ESPN+ ($49.99 value) and UFC 253 ($64.99 value) for $84.98, which works out to about 26 percent savings:
Or, if you want to purchase them separately, you can first subscribe to a month of ESPN+ right here ($5.99 for ESPN+, or $12.99 for a bundle of ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+), then follow the below directions for existing ESPN+ subscribers.
However, with the amount of UFC (and other sports) content on ESPN+, most MMA fans are probably going to keep ESPN+ long-term, meaning the value of the bundle is the better way to go if you don’t already have ESPN+.
How to Order UFC 253 If You Already Have ESPN+
Current ESPN+ subscribers can order the UFC 253 PPV by itself for $64.99:
Or, if you only have a monthly subscription (and don’t have the Disney+ bundle), you can still get the special bundle that includes a year of ESPN+ and the UFC 253 PPV. The only difference is that instead of starting a new ESPN+ subscription, you’ll just extend your current subscription by a year and get the UFC 253 PPV for a total of $84.98:
Where to Watch UFC 253
Once you’re signed up for ESPN+ and you’ve purchased the PPV, you can UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa on your computer via ESPN.com, or you can watch on the ESPN app on any compatible connected-to-TV streaming device, such as:
For all of those options, you’ll need to sign in with your ESPN+ account to watch both the prelims (ESPN+) and the main card (ESPN+ PPV).
UFC 253 Preview
Adesanya (19-0 overall, 8-0 in the UFC) claimed the interim middleweight title with a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 back in April 2019. He unified six months later, punching out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.
The Nigerian-born New Zealander is seeking his second successful title defense, having narrowly secured a decision victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in March.
Adesanya, 31, will have distinct advantages in height (six-foot-four to six feet) and reach (80 inches to 72 inches) over the significantly bulkier Costa (13-0, 5-0).
“I think it’s great for me because of the aesthetics,” Adesanya said, according to ESPN. “I’m the skinny person, the little frail kid, and he looks like the perfect antagonist. He’s big, bulky, juiced to the f—ing gills and he’s a guy who beats everyone on the fence. So when I come in there with some Bruce Lee s— and f— him up, the casuals are going to feed off it. It means more eyes, more attention. I love that.”
Expect the combatants to spend almost all of their time on their feet. Their 32 combined professional fights, all victories, include just one submission: In his seventh professional fight, Costa stopped Eduardo Ramón with a rear-naked choke at Jungle Fight 87 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, more than four years ago.
Costa opened his UFC tenure with four straight punch-outs, stopping Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Oluwale Bamgbose and Uriah Hall all before the third round. The 29-year-old Brazilian also went up against Romero his last time out, claiming a decision victory in UFC 241’s fight of the night in August 2019.
“When I was training here in Brazil before I was part of the UFC, in my eighth fight, I realized I had all the skills that a champion needed to have,” Costa said, according to UFC.com. “This was four years ago. And I realized also I was young and I was very, very strong, so all this stuff made me know I could be a world champion with some more fights.”
He added: “I was born to do this.”
UFC 253 Card
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya (champion) vs Paulo Costa
Light heavyweight: Dominick Reyes vs Jan Błachowicz
Flyweight: Kai Kara-France vs Brandon Royval
Women’s bantamweight: Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks
Featherweight Hakeem Dawodu vs Zubaira Tukhugov
Lightweight: Brad Riddell vs Alex da Silva
Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs Jake Matthews
Featherweight: Shane Young vs Ľudovít Klein
Light heavyweight: William Knight vs Aleksa Camur
Early Preliminary Card
Heavyweight: Juan Espino vs Jeff Hughes
Light heavyweight: Khadis Ibragimov vs Danilo Marques