The UFC returns to “Fight Island” on Saturday for the start of another stretch of events. UFC 253 kicks off the five-week run at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
Two championship bouts sit atop the card, but the main event has the majority of the focus. Israel Adesanya (19-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) puts his middleweight belt on the line against rival Paulo Costa (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in just the second men’s title bout in UFC history to feature two undefeated fighters. Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in May 2009 was the first.
In addition, the co-main event will see a new era in the light heavyweight division ushered in when Dominick Reyes (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) fights Jan Blachowicz (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) for the title that recently was vacated by Jon Jones.
For more on the numbers behind both title fights, as well as the rest of the card, check below for 40 pre-event facts about UFC 253.
Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa
Adesanya is one of 13 fighters in UFC history to win an undisputed title with an undefeated record.
Adesanya is one of 11 undisputed middleweight champions in UFC history.
Adesanya’s 19-fight winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (28) and Weili Zhang (21).
Adesanya’s 19-fight winning streak is the longest among active UFC middleweights.
Adesanya’s eight-fight UFC winning streak at middleweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.
Adesanya’s average fight time of 15:53 is UFC middleweight competition is the longest in divisional history.
Adesanya’s 10 knockdowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (13) and Nate Marquardt (12).
Adesanya’s four knockdowns landed against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 are the single-fight record for a UFC title bout.
Adesanya defends 65.5 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the second-best rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Marvin Vettori (67.1 percent).
Adesanya defends 86.5 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the second-best rate in divisional history behind Krzysztof Jotko (87.1 percent).
Costa’s five-fight UFC winning streak at middleweight is the second longest active streak in the division behind Israel Adesanya (eight).
Costa has earned 12 of his 13 career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 11 of those wins by knockout.
Costa is the only middleweight in UFC history to begin his octagon tenure with four consecutive knockout wins.
Costa lands 1.65 knockdowns per 15 minutes in UFC middleweight competition, the best rate among active fighters in the weight class.
Costa lands 8.43 significant strikes per minute in UFC competition, the highest rate in company history.
Costa lands 57.8 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the third best rate in divisional history behind Silva (60.2 percent) and Kevin Holland (59.4 percent).
Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz
Reyes has earned nine of his 12 career victories by first-round stoppage.
Reyes’ 29-second knockout of Joachim Christensen are UFC Fight Night 112 marked the second fastest stoppage by any debuting light-heavyweight in UFC history behind Ryan Jimmo’s seven-second win at UFC 149.
Reyes defends 82.4 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC light heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class.
Blachowicz is 7-1 in his past eight UFC appearances dating back to October 2017. The only defeat in that stretch came to Thiago Santos.
Blachowicz’s three-fight UFC winning streak at light heavyweight is tied for the second longest active streak in the division behind Glover Teixeira (four) and Magomed Ankalaev (four).
Blachowicz is one of two light heavyweights in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a body kick. He accomplished the feat at UFC Fight Night 53.
Blachowicz lands 52 percent of his takedown attempts in UFC light-heavyweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Machida (65 percent).
Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Royval
Kai Kara-France (21-8 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has earned all four of his UFC victories by decision.
Kara-France defends 90.9 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.
Brandon Royval (11-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has earned 10 of his 11 career victories by stoppage.
Ketlen Vieira vs. Sijara Eubanks
Ketlen Vieira (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) makes just her second UFC appearances since March 2018.
Sijara Eubanks (6-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) makes her second UFC appearances in a 14-day stretch. She won at UFC on ESPN+ 35 on Sept. 12.
Eubanks is 2-2 since she moved up to the UFC women’s bantamweight division in May 2019.
Eubanks has earned all four of her UFC victories by decision.
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
Hakeem Dawodu’s (11-1-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak at featherweight is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Arnold Allen (seven) Alexander Volkanovski (seven) and Zabit Magomedsharipov (six).
Dawodu defends 85 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC featherweight competition, the second-best rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Shan Burgos (89.3 percent).
Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) completes 56.5 percent of his takedown attempts in UFC featherweight competition, the second best rate in divisional history behind Diego Brandao (68 percent).
Brad Riddell vs. Alex Da Silva
Alex Da Silva (21-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), 24, is the youngest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.
Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Matthews
Diego Sanchez (30-12 MMA, 19-12 UFC) competes in his 32nd UFC bout, tied for the fourth most appearances in company history behind Donald Cerrone (36), Jim Miller (36) and Jeremy Stephens (33).
Sanchez is the only active UFC fighter who was a cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter 1.”
Sanchez is one of two fighters in UFC history to compete in four different weight classes. Kenny Florian also accomplished the feat.
Sanchez is one of 11 fighters in UFC history to earn victories in three different weight classes.
Sanchez is to 3-2 since he returned to the UFC welterweight division in November 2017. He’s 12-6 at the weight under the UFC banner.
Sanchez’s 19 victories in UFC competition are seventh most in company history. Donald Cerrone holds the record with 23.
Sanchez has fought to a decision 20 times in UFC competition, the most in company history.
Sanchez’s 12 decision victories in UFC competition are tied with Georges St-Pierre for most in company history.
Sanchez has absorbed 1,362 total head strikes in his UFC career, the second-most in company history behind B.J. Penn (1,434).
Jake Matthews (15-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) is 5-1 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in November 2017.
Matthews defends 68.4 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC welterweight competition, the third best rate in divisional history behind St-Pierre (73 percent) and Luigi Fioravanti (71.9 percent).
Juan Espino vs. Jeff Hughes
Juan Espino (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), 39, is the oldest of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.
UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.