Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa Targeted For UFC 253
By Ross Markey
A UFC middleweight title bout between undefeated forces, reigning champion, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, and perennial contender, Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa is in the works for UFC 253 on September 19th – with a location and venue yet to be confirmed by the promotion.
Undisputed middleweight best, Adesanya – last featured at UFC 248 in March, securing the first successful title defence of his reign, outpointing Olympic silver medalist, Yoel Romero on his way to a forgettable unanimous decision. In his most recent outing, Costa also overcame the veteran contender, Romero – taking another close unanimous judging in August of last year. News of the pairing was initially reported by Combate’s, Marcelo Barone and Raphael Marinho.
The rise of City Kickboxing mainstay, Adesanya has been truly remarkable. Within just two years of his Octagon debut, the 30-year-old has featured eight times, securing the interim 185-pound title against Kelvin Gastelum, before successfully unifying the titles opposite Robert Whittaker at a momentous UFC 243 event last October in Melbourne. Headlining his first pay-per-view event in a re-worked curtain-closer, Adesanya met with former middleweight kingpin, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva – taking a unanimous decision at UFC 234 last February.
Minas Gerais native, Costa has also experienced quite the meteoric rise as developing enemy, Adesanya – notching five straight wins since his first appearance under the UFC banner back in March of 2017. Knockouts of Gareth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, former welterweight best, Johny Hendricks, and TUF 17 finalist, Uriah Hall – fast-tracked the 29-year-old to a meeting with the above noted, Romero last August. Earning Fight of the Night honours, Costa secured his #1 contender status with a 29-28 unanimous decision triumph.
Both Adesanya and Costa lay claim to a staggering twenty-five combined stoppages via strikes, with Adesanya utilising wicked timing, poise, and counter striking to get his opponent’s out of there, more often than not. Costa, on the other hand, became the first in the promotion to score a knockdown on Romero since compatriot, Rafael Feijão all the way back in 2011.