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UFC 253 leaves plenty of contender questions

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

The dominance of middleweight champion Israel Adesanya coupled with the Polish power of new light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz have created questions of different varieties post-UFC 253.

A fight years in the making, Adesanya finally got his chance at middleweight contender Paulo Costa.

Per UFC President Dana White’s decision, a match of this magnitude would not have garnered as much attention had it taken place years ago.

White took notice of the excitement surrounding the rising star of Adesanya while maintaining watch on Costa’s power knocking off all other contenders in his way.

Fast forward to now, Adesanya (20-0) made his second title defense as undisputed champ though he would say it was his third.

The defense came against Costa (13-1) who was undefeated at the time with 11 knockouts.

In addition, neither fighter had ever attempted a takedown.

The fight was pitched as power vs. precision during the lead up with Costa possessing the power and Adesanya channeling the precision.

Precision won.

Adesanya landed 55 of his 84 total strikes while Costa struggled to get off much of his normal output landing 12 of his 26 strikes.

The champ landed 26 leg kicks alone, sending most of his fans back in time to his title defense over Yoel Romero.

While using the leg kicks to stifle any forward progress of Costa, Adesanya began looking for a left high kick.

The left high kick didn’t land until the second round and even opened a cut over the right eyebrow of Costa.

It wouldn’t be long before Adesanya began to throw his hands, dropping Costa with a lightning quick left hook which dropped him.

Costa was mounted and ate multiple hammer fists and elbows before having Adesanya pulled off of him during a performance of the night outing.

The immediate post fight antics became the talk of the fight world soon thereafter.

Adesanya began humping Costa’s backside after securing the win, before dancing around Costa as he received attention.

Before hearing the decision, Adesanya walked over to Costa and asked if he “shake his hand?”

Costa obliged before admitting he didn’t see the post fight antics until returning to the locker room.

Since then, Costa has vowed revenge and asked for White to make a rematch happen as soon as possible.

Middleweight contenders Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier are scheduled for the co-main event at UFC 254.

The No. 1 ranked Whittaker (22-5) is a 29 year old former world champ who has gone 50 minutes with Romero.

He lost his title to Adesanya via knockout in October of 2019. He owns a five-round, decision win over Darren Till in his most recent outing.

The No. 3 ranked Cannonier (13-4) has won four of his last six fights including three straight. A first round tko finish of legend Anderson Silva is included in that three-fight win streak.

Adesanya called out Cannonier post fight saying he “deserves it.”

Cannonier’s only two losses during this stretch were to light heavyweights Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes.

Reyes and Blachowicz were slated with the task of bringing in the new era of the light heavyweight division since the relinquishing of the title by long-time division staple Jon Jones.

The No. 1 ranked Reyes admitted that he felt he was the uncrowned champion but he couldn’t “overlook” the No. 3 ranked Blachowicz.

The 30-year-old Reyes (12-2) had nine first round finishes coming in with his only career loss coming at the hands of Jones at UFC 247 via unanimous decision.

The 37-year-old Blachowicz (27-8) is the winner of four straight fights and is the second oldest to fight a UFC belt for the first time.

The elder Blachowicz picked apart the younger Reyes with a lead body kick that began to show bruising by the third time it landed.

Blachowicz’s lead body kick never let Reyes truly get off.

While keeping Reyes at bay, Blachowicz found an opening and landed a straight right hand that appeared to break Reyes' nose.

Sensing the damage, Reyes began to exchange with Blachowicz, only to be rocked before wobbling to the canvas.

It marked his second straight loss after starting his career 12-0.

After the fight, Blachowicz called out Jones by name which drew a reaction from the former champ on Twitter.

Jones tweeted, “Would you guys be annoyed if I went back and grabbed my belt real quick?”

As of recent, Jones has been openly training and vying for a shot at the heavyweight division.

For now, it’s unclear what’s next for the light heavyweight division.

Number 2 ranked Thiago Santos (21-7) is set to do battle with No. 4 ranked Glover Teixeira (31-7) following yet another pushback.

This fight has been scheduled for the third time.

Santos is 8-2 in his last 10 fights including a loss to Jones by split decision at UFC 239 with two torn ACLs.

Teixeira has won four straight fights and five of his last six.

Santos is the last person to beat the new light heavyweight champion Blachowicz.

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