CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa -- start time, how to watch and stream online

Hours from now Adesanya and Costa will fight for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 253.

Mark Serrels Editorial Director
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
Mark Serrels
3 min read

Adesanya is one of the most unique strikers in the history of the UFC.

Carmen Mandato / Contributor

The day is finally here. Just hours from now UFC 253 takes place, September 26, and it's big one -- a huge fight with incredibly high stakes. The middleweight title is on the line. Israel Adesanya versus Paulo Costa. Precision versus power, the sublime counter striker versus the wrecking ball pressure fighter.

With Conor McGregor "retired", the UFC is in the process of building stars to plug the gaps. Israel Adesanya is Exhibit A. The current UFC middleweight champion, Adesanya is an undefeated, next-generation Anderson Silva. A flashy, precise striker who's absolute dynamite to watch.
Most of the time.

Adesanya's last fight, a conservative decision win over Cuban juggernaut Yoel Romero, was an outlier. Expect this one to be fireworks from start to finish. His opponent, an absolutely yoked Paulo Costa, does nothing but march forward and launch bombs. Adesanya is a slick counter striker, so this one is pretty straight forward. Most likely this pair will be throwing bones until someone falls over. 

But wait! There's also a second title fight on this card, and it's also a great one.
Dominick Reyes is the guy who was robbed of a historic win over Jon Jones. Now that Jones has vacated the light heavyweight title and is moving to heavyweight, Reyes gets to fight for the title he should have won against Jan Blachowicz.

Oddsmakers have Reyes installed as a heavy favourite, but don't underestimate Blachowicz. This dude has heavy hands and is a force at every distance. This should also be a barnburner. 

This is a good card!

How to watch UFC 253

This year the UFC entered a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you're one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 253, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site.

  • Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can order the upcoming UFC fight for $65
  • Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch the UFC event on PPV for $65 by itself.
  • New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $85. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will auto-renew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription at the time of auto-renewal.

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 246 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 246 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation 4 or using the UFC app on your Xbox One.

Start time


  • The main card starts Sep. 26, 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
  • The prelims start Sep. 26, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
  • The early prelims start Sep. 26, 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).


  • The main card starts Sep. 27, 3 a.m. BST.
  • The prelims start Sep. 27, 1 a.m. BST.
  • The early prelims start Sep 27, midnight BST.


  • The main card starts Sep. 27, 12 p.m. AEDT.
  • The prelims start Sep. 27, 10 a.m. AEDT.
  • The early prelims start Sep. 27, 9 a.m. AEDT.

Fight Card

Main Card

  • Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa.
  • Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz.
  • Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Royval.
  • Ketlen Viera vs. Sijara Eubanks.
  • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov.


  • Brad Riddell vs. Alex da Silva.
  • Jake Matthews vs. Diego Sanchez.
  • Shane Young vs. Ludovit Klein.
  • Aleksa Camur vs. William Knight.

Early Prelims 

  • Juan Espino vs. Jeff Hughes.
  • Khadis Ibragimov vs. Danilo Marques.