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UFC 253 betting: Bettors favoring defending champion in historic Adesanya-Costa main event

Frank Schwab
·2-min read

Oddsmakers and bettors are on the same page when it comes to the showdown between undefeated middleweights Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa in the UFC 253 main event.

Even though Costa hasn’t lost, the betting market expects him to go down Saturday.

Adesanya, the middleweight champion, is a big favorite in the main event (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV). He is -182 to beat Costa, who is +150 at BetMGM.

Bettors aren’t scared off by the price.

Israel Adesanya is favored to win

Adesanya is getting more bets, but not by much. He is at 52 percent of tickets, while Costa is at 48 percent. There is a significant discrepancy in the amount of money bet on each fighter.

At BetMGM, 77.7 percent of the money bet is on Adesanya. The wide gap can be explained by bettors having to bet more if they’re laying a big number, but it also generally indicates the bigger bettors are on that side.

This fight will get plenty of interest because of the uniqueness of both fighters being undefeated. It’s just the second time in UFC history that a champion and a challenger both had perfect records when they met. The other time was 2014, when 9-0 Ronda Rousey beat 7-0 Sara McMann to retain her women’s bantamweight title.

Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole is in agreement with the house and the majority of bettors. He took Adesanya in his pre-fight picks.

Israel Adesanya (left) and Paulo Costa  face off during the UFC 253 weigh-ins. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Israel Adesanya (left) and Paulo Costa face off during the UFC 253 weigh-ins. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Underdog getting the action in co-main event

The co-main event is getting the opposite betting action.

Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz face off for Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title. Blachowicz, who followed a 1-4 stretch between 2015 and 2017 by winning seven of eight, is a big underdog at +230. Reyes is -286.

Bettors are trying to score big with the underdog. Blachowicz bets accounted for 57.5 percent of tickets on the fight and 69.8 percent of the handle as of Friday at BetMGM.

Bettors are banking on one underdog and one favorite in the two marquee fights on Saturday. Either way, the card will be a big one for UFC.

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