Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa is finally confirmed. After losing to Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker quickly dusted off any doubts that he was losing his touch. Two fights in 2020 bought two dominant victories against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier respectively.
Whittaker is now set to fight Paulo Costa which will headline the UFC Fight Night event on April 17th, 2021. This comes after Costa lost his previous match which was also against the Champion, Israel Adesanya. To the delight of many fans, the Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa clash is definitely one for those who love to watch striking and big hits.
With this said, there is firm speculation that the victor of this match will go on to face Adesanya for another title shot. Because of this, the bout has something of a ‘best of the rest’ feel to it where the middleweight division is concerned.
This match is sure to be fireworks as Paulo Costa is known for his explosive, powerful style whilst Robert Whittaker also packs a powerful punch. This is literal in the case of ‘Bobby Knuckles’ whose last victory saw him break the arm of Cannonier by a flurry of early strikes. Because of this, you can almost guarantee that both will not hold back.
As further evidence of this, the pair have a combined 9 victories from punches in the UFC, which hints towards how this one will pan out. Interestingly though, both men are well-accomplished grapplers and both have black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with Whittaker earning his late last year. The two are also evenly matched in terms of records, with Whittaker’s pro-MMA stats at an impressive 22-5 and Costa’s at 13-1. As of right now, however – it is Whittaker who edges the bookies predictions to earn victory.
What adds more fuel to the fire is Costa’s burning desire for a title shot. The Brazilian was brutally humiliated by Adesanya in their last fight after a fiery war of words before the fight. It ended with Adesanya mockingly thrusting his hips into the back of Costa whilst he was on the floor. Ever since this event, the pair have had unfinished business, although it’s also fair to say that Adesanya also dominated the fight from start to finish.
Another nice addition to this one will be the probably inclusion of fans. Recently the UFC have started allowing a small section of fans into their live events again, whilst keeping social distancing in place. For obvious financial reasons, the promotion is keen to get fans back stadiums as quickly as possible, so by April the likelihood is that at least a few thousand fans will be allowed to watch this one in person, if not more.
Whilst the UFC hasn’t faltered in terms of performances during the pandemic, it has certainly lost some of its charm with a lack of a live audience. In short, the atmosphere simply hasn’t been the same.
So, will this result earn either man a shot at the middleweight belt? Well, this is the UFC and with that in mind nothing is ever certain. The likelihood is that the winner would almost definitely face Adesanya but who knows?
You would think that with both men being ranked number one and two contenders, they’d have a decent shot at the title, however sometimes in fighting, PR wins. In this case, there is the outside chance of Darren Till earning a sneaky title shot too. Although Till has previously lost to Whittaker and isn’t in great form, if he were to win his fight against Marvin Vettori a week beforehand then things could get interesting.
The Englishman is ranked 4th but a victory would also raise his stock. Not only this but Till is arguably the most charismatic talker in the division. As we know Dana White admires his personality type, there’s always a chance that he is awarded the Adesanya match due to his promotional skills. As well, Till has not yet fought Adesanya unlike the aforementioned which could further his stake for a title match. Having said this, let’s be honest, Darren Till vs Marvin Vettori simply doesn’t have the same ring to it as Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa does.
However, overall the smart money is on the winner of Whittaker vs Costa. As mentioned, both men are evenly matched and are highly exciting to watch. Because of this, Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa has serious potential to be the fight of the year so keep your eyes on this one.