UFC 253: Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa exchange banter after crossing paths in Abu Dhabi hotel

Unbeaten middleweight fighters headline the first event of the second Fight Island series in the capital

Middleweight rivals Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa got to size up one another a week out from their blockbuster headline clash at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi.

The champion and the challenger bumped into each other at what appeared to be their hotel on Yas Island on Sunday, ahead of the title encounter at the Fight Island 2 opener next week.

In a brief meeting, the two prize fighters put aside their heated rivalry to share a warm word, with champion Adesanya commenting on Costa’s physique.

After he remarked that the No 2-ranked contender looked skinny, Costa replied, “I look lean, never skinny", before Adesanya jokingly requested he remain that way ahead of the pay-per-view main event.

While it all seemed pretty cordial, the pair go head-to-head next Sunday in the UAE capital, where someone’s undefeated record will have to go.

Adesanya sits at 19-0 having defeated Yoel Romero on points in February, while Costa hasn’t fought in the octagon since outpointing the same Cuban in August last year. The Brazilian’s record is 13-0.

UFC 253 is the first of five events on Fight Island 2, which concludes on October 24 with undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return against interim belt-holder Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The three events between fall on October 4, 11 and 18.

Updated: September 23, 2020 04:03 PM

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