Tag Archives: MMA

Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen competing in the ‘real’ Bantamweight title fight

UFC 267 this weekend is set to be one of the biggest cards of the year, headlined by a double header of title fights at the top of the card.

One of those will be an interim title fight at bantamweight, arguably the most stacked division in the sport right now, between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen in a fight the people have dubbed as the people’s title fight.

The two men will face off after Aljamain Sterling was ruled out of his first title defence in a rematch against Yan after the UFC doctors refused to clear him following neck surgery.



They were supposed to run it back from UFC 259 after Yan became the first fighter to lose their title via disqualification when he kneed Sterling in the head while he was down and rendered him unable to continue.

The way that fight was going, Yan was set to retain his title. He had denied Sterling’s attempts to take him down and began finding the mark with his excellent boxing, while the cardio was holding up for him and Sterling was faltering.

A win on that night would’ve set up a title shot against Sandhagen. However because of the way that fight ended, ‘Sandman’ was forced to decide between waiting it out or taking another fight.

Listening to the company, he opted to take a huge fight against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw and suffered a defeat in a razor close five-round war that could easily have gone either way.

At that point, it seemed as though he had lost his opportunity at the next title shot and would have to earn another win somewhere to get back into contention.

But when Sterling withdrew and Dillashaw had undergone knee surgery following his bout against Sandhagen, the UFC remembered that he didn’t need to take the fight that cost him the title shot and rewarded him.

Now you have two of the best pure strikers in the division going head-to-head, with UFC gold on the line and both men having a point to prove.

It’s the fight many wanted anyway and fans will now get to see arguably the two best 135lbers in the world go at it with the ultimate stakes on the line.

It’s the people’s main event and two of the very best in the world and my pick for the fight of the night on a stacked card.

Islam Makhachev can prove Khabib Nurmagomedov right at UFC 267

Last weekend marked one year to the day that Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retired from mixed martial arts as an undefeated champion, following a submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

After the fight and subsequent confirmation of his decision to retire from the sport, Khabib did a round of media interviews across the world where he was asked who he believed the best fighters in the division were now that he was gone.

One name consistently popped up, his teammate and long-time friend Islam Makhachev.



Makhachev has since improved his record to 20-1, with two wins this year against Drew Dober at UFC 259 and then a main event win over Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31 in July.

This weekend at UFC 267 he returns to Abu Dhabi and Fight Island to take on Dan Hooker in a three-round lightweight fight on the main card.

It was supposed to be Rafael Dos Anjos in a grudge match, but the Brazilian withdrew following knee surgery and it was ‘Hangman’ who stepped in on short-notice after he snapped a two-fight losing streak with a decision win over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266.

Stylistically, the fight still favours Makhachev. He is a great striker on the feet with good power to match up with Hooker’s kickboxing, but he has the ability to take a fight to the ground and keep it there in a dominant way – much like Khabib did.

Hooker will be looking for a huge upset on the night, but if Makhachev can get the victory that many are predicting and expecting on the night then he will further help to prove that Khabib was right about him the whole time.

With the lightweight title fight at UFC 269 in December just around the corner between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, a stand-out win for Makhachev could easily see him installed as the next contender for the belt.

He is currently ranked at number 5 with Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler ahead of him scheduled to fight each other, with both men coming off title shot defeats.

Beneil Dariush is the other man ahead of Makhachev, but proving Khabib right at UFC 267 means he is likely just two wins away at most from becoming the lightweight champion of the world.

Khamzat Chimaev faces different task on return at UFC 267

The year 2020 was wildly remembered by many MMA fans as the year that Swedish fighter Khamzat Chimaev broke into the mainstream.

Two wins in ten days on Fight Island followed by a 17-second knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert meant that Chimaev was being pushed to the moon in the UFC by president Dana White.

He was openly fighting in two weight classes and was even given the opportunity to fight a top-five ranked fighter in Leon Edwards despite never having fought anyone else in the rankings.



But with the Edwards fight being made, rescheduled and then scrapped three times the hype died down a little.

Chimaev suffered with COVID-19 and had long term symptoms from the virus that caused the world to shut down. The problems with his health led to kidney issues and he even teased retirement at one point.

But after receiving treatment, listening to the doctors’ advice to rest and finally getting healthy again, the 27-year-old is now ready to return to the Octagon once again at UFC 267 when he faces highly rated Jingliang Li.

This time however, the expectation surrounding him will be far greater than ever before.

There was a period of time where the buzz around Chimaev was so great that people were genuinely pushing for him to get a title shot against Kamaru Usman or Israel Adesanya, despite three wins against unranked fighters.

The moment has passed now however and many have seen the light that it was likely too soon for that to be a thing, so he now must prove himself all over again against a fighter who many believe could have a big future in the organisation.

On top of the fact that Li is by far the best fighter he’s ever fought, there will be pressure on him to deliver just as he has in each of his three dominant wins.

If he wants to pick up where he left off and get the hype train rolling again, simply winning may not be enough. But what a win does do is prove his legitimacy in the company and among the best around.

A win over Li means there is no going back for Chimaev as is the strength of the division. There will only be killers in his future, with super tough fights no matter where he looks.

This is the biggest test and biggest moment of his young career to date and Chimaev is going to look to take it with both hands at UFC 267.

Paulo Costa told to move to 205lbs after defeat to Marvin Vettori

After a week full of drama and surprises, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori delivered a brilliant main event at UFC Vegas 41.

The two were scheduled to face off in a middleweight main event bout in the Las Vegas Apex, only for Costa to reveal during fight week media obligations that he wouldn’t be able to make the weight.

Vettori and Costa then verbally agreed to a 195lbs catchweight bout, before the fight finally got moved again to 205lbs the day before weigh-ins.



With Vettori now a fan favourite for refusing to let the fight get scrapped and wanting a war with one of the best strikers in the UFC, the two met an entire weight class above their usual division.

What followed was a brilliant fight in which Vettori showed his incredible granite chin to take the power shots of a humongous Costa in the cage, while also showing his cardio is among the best in the world with a 25-minute performance in which he earned a unanimous 48-46 decision across the scorecards.

Following the fight, in which Costa didn’t disgrace himself by any means, ‘Borrachina’ revealed a bicep injury was the reason he was unable to cut weight during fight week and said he hoped to return to 185lbs for his next fight.

UFC president Dana White had other ideas though seemingly, stating that Costa would be competing at 205lbs going forward. Speaking in the post-fight press conference, White said;

“Yeah, we absolutely tell you where to fight when this happens. Yeah, he’s gonna have to fight at 205.

He’s a light heavyweight. I mean, you guys saw him tonight. He’s massive. And the thing that stood out the most for me: as big as he is, look at the cardio that he had tonight. That was a fuckin’ dog fight. That was a war between two guys who both really wanted to win.”

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks, we completed our prelim picks here and now move on to the main card.


Nicolae Negumereanu (10-1) vs Ike Villanueva (18-12) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A 205lbs stepping stone bout between a prospect and a veteran. Negumereanu returned from over two years out to earn a split decision win over Aleksa Camur at UFC Vegas 29, while Villanueva has lost three of his last four with a KO defeat to Marcin Prachnio last time out at UFC Vegas 30.

Villanueva is a decent boxer with good power, preferring a hook to a straight and looking to take someone’s head off. Negumereanu on the other hand is a powerful striker himself with good wrestling to dictate where the fight goes. He’s incredibly aggressive and physical, with a pretty decent gas tank too.

For Negumereanu the game plan should be simple; do what you do well, and you’ll win. If he uses his wrestling, his aggressive and avoids the big punches that Villanueva can threaten with, then this should be a relatively comfortable win for ‘Nick’.
PICK – Nicolae Negumereanu via Knockout, Round 2

Francisco Trinaldo (26-8) vs Dwight Grant (11-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An interesting welterweight bout set up here between the 43-year-old Trinaldo and the man with the biggest back in MMA. Trinaldo was defeated by Muslim Salikhov at UFC Vegas 28 last time out, while Grant earned a split decision win at UFC 261 against Stefan Sekulic.

Trinaldo is a powerful striker with one of the best left hands in the division, with good boxing skills. Grant is a good mover with explosive power too, using his jab and length. He tends to throw his strikes just one at a time though and the lack of volume can often be an issue.

Grant doesn’t really set his knockout shots up well, but when he lands he hurts his opponents. Trinaldo tends to plant his feet and throw bombs too, so it comes down to durability. At 43-years-old, I think Trinaldo’s chin will likely give out first and Grant can grab a win.
PICK – Dwight Grant via Knockout, Round 2

Alex Caceres (18-12) vs Seungwoo Choi (10-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight clash between ‘Bruce Leeroy’ and ‘Sting. Caceres has won his last four-in-a-row with a big decision win over Kevin Croom last time out at UFC Vegas 20, while Choi has won his last three with a KO against Julian Erosa at UFC Vegas 29 in his last outing.

Caceres is a really well-rounded fighter, with good striking and a great pace to go with some good grappling too. Choi will be opposite him with a pure boxing stance with great power in his hands and improved takedown defence over recent performances.

For Choi, he needs to avoid takedown attempts and use his physicality to slow Caceres down. He has solid knockout power, works the body well and is constantly improving. For Caceres he must use his speed to get in and out, but I see Choi doing enough to secure a big career win.
PICK – Seung Woo Choi via Decision



Jessica-Rose Clarke (10-6) vs Joselyne Edwards (10-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A decent bantamweight bout that seems way too high up on the card for me. Clarke returned from two straight defeats to earn a KO win over Sarah Alpar at UFC Vegas 11, while Edwards won her UFC debut against Yanan Wu at UFC Fight Island 7 before a defeat to Karol Rosa a month later at UFC Vegas 18.

Clarke is a proper grinder. stepping forward with good takedowns and willing to take strikes to close the distance. Edwards on the other hand is a brilliant kickboxer with decent takedown defence but with a definite preference to keep the bout standing. For Clarke, she needs the bout on the ground and her pressure will likely get it there.

Edwards will need to show an improved takedown defence to keep it standing, where she has a clear edge and the ability and power to potentially score a finish. You’ll know after the first takedown attempt who wins this fight, but I think Clarke will just be able to scrape a victory.
PICK – Jessica-Rose Clarke via Decision

Grant Dawson (17-1) vs Ricky Glenn (22-6-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun co-main event in the lightweight division as the mightily impressive Dawson takes on Glenn. ‘KGD’ is on an eight-fight win streak with a KO victory against Leonardo Santos at UFC Vegas 22 last time out, while Glenn secured a first-round KO win over Joaquim Silva at UFC Vegas 29 in his last fight to get back to winning ways.

Dawson is a pressure fighter with some decent striking defence and a brilliant grappling background that has helped him secure 11 submission wins in his career. Glenn on the other side of the cage is a technical striker with good combinations and power, with a comfortable enough level on the ground where he’s not completely outmatched.

This is a great match up and stylistically Dawson has a big edge. His pressure and pace is relentless and when he gets a fight to the ground his striking and submissions are really good, while his cardio has held up a lot recently since his move to 155lbs. Glenn has stopping power, but the longer it goes the more I lean to Dawson.
PICK – Grant Dawson via Submission, Round 3

Paulo Costa (13-1) vs Marvin Vettori (17-5-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A BANGER of a main event, which has been switched to a light heavyweight fight at 205lbs after Costa admitted he couldn’t make weight during fight week. Costa was unbeaten before he clashed with Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 and got KO’d and has had plenty of professionalism problems since. Vettori was on a five-fight win streak with wins over Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16 and Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23, before a defeat to Adesanya himself at UFC 263.

Costa is an absolute powerhouse, with bricks for hands and a stellar physique as well as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Vettori on the other hand is a fighter who steps forward, closes the distance with dirty boxing before taking his opponents down and dominating with ground and pound. Costa will come forward and look to take Vettori’s head off with each and every strike, with a violent body kick in his arsenal.

Vettori though has the advantage with taking the fight to the ground and the weight issues that Costa has been having this week can’t be a good thing. Vettori’s chin has held up throughout his career, with zero defeats by finish and while Costa has other-worldly power that becomes useless if he’s on his back. I expect Vettori to press forward, clinch against the cage and work for takedowns to control on the ground for a decision win in an entertaining fight.
PICK – Marvin Vettori via Decision

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks, we complete our prelim picks here.


Jamie Pickett (11-6) vs Laureano Staropoli (9-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A very fun middleweight scrap continues the prelims of the card here. Jamie Pickett has lost his last two, dropping a decision to Tafon Nchukwi at UFC Vegas 17 before getting stopped by Jordan Wright at UFC 262. Staropoli has lost his last three via decision, with the most recent coming against Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 28.

Pickett is powerful puncher with some decent kicks, but he struggles to use his length to its maximum potential. Staropoli is a brawler who likes to march his opponents down and use his strong boxing and decent power on the inside to overpower opponents. The issue for the Argentine however is that he’s a natural welterweight and was way undersized at middleweight last time out.

His last five fights have gone the distance, but stylistically he is a nightmare for Pickett. ‘The Night Wolf’ likes to take his time to pick his shots and fight on the front foot, but Staropoli will come forward and force him onto the back foot with his pressure. For that, I think Staropoli can outwork him and earn a late finish.
PICK – Laureano Staropoli via Knockout, Round 3

Tabatha Ricci (5-1) vs Maria Oliveira (12-4) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting fight in the strawweight division between two women looking for their first UFC wins. Ricci fought Manon Fiorot in her UFC debut on super short notice and got KO’d at UFC Vegas 28, while Oliveira makes her organisation debut on a two-fight win streak.

Ricci is a jiu-jitsu black belt with really good submission and grappling skills, but obviously we haven’t seen it at the elite level. Oliveira on the other hand is an okay striker on the feet but is very lengthy, with a non-existent ground game.

It’s a much nicer match-up for Ricci in this one than her debut and while Oliveira is talented, her record is as padded as they come. She doesn’t really have the greatest of KO power and Ricci should be confident enough to come forward and tie her up to get her to the mat. Once it gets there, it’s all about survival for Oliveira and I don’t think she lasts too long.
PICK – Tabatha Ricci via Submission, Round 1



Mason Jones (10-1) vs David Onama (8-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really exciting fight between two prospects at 155lbs on short notice in this one. Mason Jones bounced back from his first defeat against Mike Davis at UFC Fight Island 8 with a great performance against Alan Patrick, where an accidental eye-poke made it a no contest. Onama on the other hand is an unbeaten fighter with all eight wins coming via finish and steps in on less than a week’s notice.

Jones is a phenomenal athlete, who likes to stand and strike with his opponent but also with great grappling to fall back on too while Onana is an absolute powerhouse of a man with power and good fighting instincts on the ground too. Despite his short career, he looks ready for this step up and with more time and a better match up he’d have a great chance of making an impression.

Unfortunately for him, his debut comes against someone who is relentless and more experienced. Jones will look to overwhelm Onama and with his experience, wrestling and power of his own he should prove too much for the debutant as the fight goes on.
PICK – Mason Jones via Decision

Junyong Park (13-4) vs Gregory Rodrigues (10-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Another fun middleweight scrap is the featured prelim bout on the card. Park is on a three-fight win streak with a dominant grappling and ground and pound display against Tafon Nchukwi last time out at UFC Vegas 26. Rodrigues on the other hand has also won his last three, with a decision win over Dusko Todorovic in his debut at UFC Vegas 28 most recently.

Park is a well-rounded fighter, with tight striking and some solid wrestling to go with his violent ground and pound. Rodrigues is a supremely powerful fighter with brilliant wrestling and jiu-jitsu too, boasting four submissions and four knockouts in is career.

Rodrigues has the power to finish, but Park is very good at defending himself and pushing forward. Unfortunately, he hates being on his back and being out-matched in the wrestling department doesn’t bode too well for him. Both guys have the power to land and hurt the other, but I think Rodrigues’ control from the top will earn him a decision win.
PICK – Gregory Rodrigues via Decision

UFC Vegas 41: Costa vs Vettori – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex once again for UFC Vegas 41 this weekend as Paulo Costa takes on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

The Brazilian is looking to earn some respect back following his excuses and defeat to Israel Adesanya, while Vettori is looking to finally get that marquee name on his resume following his most recent defeat to… Israel Adesanya.

It’s not the most stacked card this week in name value, but there are some very fun fights on the card that we’ll look to predict.

Last week at UFC Vegas 40 we struggled at went 5/10 with zero perfect picks, moving us to 439/689 (63.72%) with 187 perfect picks (42.6%) since June 2020.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Jonathan Martinez (13-4) vs Zviad Lazishvili (13-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A super short notice fight to open up the card as an undefeated champion makes his UFC debut. Martinez has done well in the UFC but was beaten by knockout last time out against Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 21, while Lazishvili earned a submission win in his last bout in September 2020.

Martinez is a technical boxer with a great jab and some heavy low kicks, but he has a lot of issues with his weight at these smaller divisions. Lazishvili is a grappler extraordinaire who uses his excellent wrestling to get the fight to the ground and work for his submissions.

Lazishvili will look to close the distance, wrestle Martinez to the ground and hold him there until a submission shows itself or the referee brings the round to an end. Martinez is good in the grappling himself but he won’t want to find himself under Lazishvili. It should be a banger, but I have to go with the undefeated fighter for his ability to dictate where the fight goes.
PICK – Zviad Lazishvili via Decision

Livinha Souza (14-3) vs Randa Markos (10-12-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun strawweight bout is scheduled for the card here between two fighters coming off defeats. Souza got a win against Ashley Yoder at UFC 252, before she lost via TKO to Amanda Lemos at UFC 259 most recently. Markos on the other hand has lost four straight, including a submission to Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 11 and then via DQ last time out at UFC Vegas 25 for an illegal up-kick.

Souza is a good wrestler with some really strong takedowns in her arsenal, but she is one of the best when it comes to poor game plans and throwing away fights. Markos on the other hand is a good striker, who has seen her takedown defence exposed in recent fights. Souza has a habit of trading strikes with opponents even when it’s their strength and her weakness.

If she remembers that she’s a judo black belt and has a huge advantage on the ground in this fight, she would win relatively easily. If she chooses to strike, which she almost certainly will, she gives Markos a chance. Unfortunately for Markos though, the takedown is always there against her and I expect Souza will use it at some point to earn a decision win.
PICK – Livinha Souza via Decision


———-

Jeff Molina (9-2) vs Daniel Lacerda (11-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A banger at flyweight in this one between two hot prospects. Molina in on an eight-fight win streak, winning his UFC proper debut via decision against Qileng Aori at UFC 261. Lacerda in the other corner is on a three-fight win streak, all coming in the first-round and he makes his UFC debut.

Molina is a technical boxer on the feet with great volume and good cardio, while Lacerda is a violent kickboxer with some brilliant submissions off his back and in his back pocket. Molina has a great jab, good low kicks and his takedown defence is probably average which sets up a brilliant fight. Lacerda has insane power in his legs with kicks and scary power in his hands, never going beyond the second-round in his career.

Lacerda’s only defeat came via an injury to his shoulder, but the fact he has never gone into deep water is a worry. We don’t know how good his cardio is and we know that Molina can control the pace for a full 15 minutes. With that said, Lacerda has a brilliant killer instinct and because of his submission game the kickboxing could potentially open up for him to score a finish.
PICK – Daniel Lacerda via Knockout, Round 1

Khama Worthy (16-8) vs Jai Herbert (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very fun lightweight scrap between the veteran Worthy and the newbie fighting for his UFC career in Herbert. Worthy has lost each of his last two via knockout, getting stopped by Ottman Azaitar at UFC Vegas 10 before Jamie Mullarkey KO’d him at UFC 260. Herbert has also been stopped in his two UFC outings, getting KO’d by Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3 before a submission defeat to Renato Moicano at UFC Vegas 30.

Both of these guys have got genuine knockout power in their strikes, with Worthy earning nine KO wins in his career and Herbert earning eight KO wins in his career. Both guys are kickboxers at their core, but Worthy is far more power-based rather than technical, while Herbert is tidy striker with the power to match.

Worthy is likely to try and close distance and land one heavy shot to turn the lights out, but if Herbert can stay long and use his range well he will have an edge. The longer the fight goes, Herbert has more advantages under his belt and I think Herbert’s power and technique together mean he can stay in there to do enough damage and save his UFC career.
PICK – Jai Herbert via Knockout, Round 2

Paulo Costa admits he can’t make 186lbs limit; Marvin Vettori agrees to catchweight

Paulo Costa has admitted to media that he won’t be able to make the middleweight limit for his main event fight against Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 41 this weekend.

The two middleweight contenders are scheduled to fight each other in the main event on Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with both having been defeated by Israel Adesanya in their last outings.

But during media day interviews, Costa revealed that he currently weighs 211lbs and has no intentions of trying to weigh in at the agreed 186lbs limit for the bout.



Costa said that it is “not in his plans” to go down to 186lbs for the fight and he is hopeful that Vettori will be willing to meet him in a catchweight bout instead.

The Italian responded in a joint interview with ESPN and Costa stating that he would fight him at any weight, but blasted ‘Borrachina’ for being unprofessional.

The two fighters verbally agreed a 195lbs catchweight during the interview and the UFC have since confirmed that the plan is now for the fight to proceed at a catchweight, although they haven’t announced if it will be at 195lbs.

Costa has been plagued by unprofessional episodes since losing his title fight against Adesanya at UFC 253 last October.

After that bout he claimed that he drank a bottle of wine the night before the fight as he couldn’t sleep, and said he wasn’t sober when in the cage.

He then withdrew from a fight with Robert Whittaker with “flu like symptoms” despite the bout being almost a month away, and then pulled out of a fight with Jared Cannonier in August just days after it was announced after claiming he wasn’t being paid enough for the fight.

UFC Vegas 41: Marvin Vettori can silence his doubters with impressive showing

The UFC Vegas 41 main event is set to be an absolute banger when knockout artist Paulo Costa takes on the machine that is Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.

It’ll be the first time that Vettori has stepped into the cage since his UFC 263 defeat to Israel Adesanya, a rematch he had been clamouring for since their first fight in 2018.

That first bout was a split decision victory for the current 185lbs champion, but Vettori had always protested that he won the fight.



After some injury problems and over a year out, Vettori returned the following year and racked up a five-fight win streak in order to claim a title shot earlier this year.

In each of those fights, the Italian was able to completely dominate and overwhelm each of his opponents. He secured only the second finish of his UFC tenure so far when he choked out Karl Roberson in their grudge match, but aside from that has completely controlled fights from start to finish.

His performance against Jack Hermansson was particularly impressive given he took the fight on short-notice, while he dealt with the explosive striking and power of Kevin Holland well too in the fight following that.

But against Adesanya in the rematch he failed to really show his tools. There was a lot of waiting, less of that overwhelming pressure that we’ve seen in the past and he wasn’t able to secure significant takedowns in the fight to get the fight where he wants it.

Marvin Vettori of Italy punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 263 event at Gila River Arena...

The power and accuracy of Adesanya’s striking warranted a slight change in game plan for sure, but Vettori disappointed his fans and himself with his performance that night.

Now, against a powerhouse like Costa who has 11 knockouts from 13 career wins, Vettori can look to put it right.

He will look to get the fight down again as he always does and he will look to walk forward with pressure. Costa arguably has more knockout power than Adesanya, despite the ‘Last Stylebender’ owning a KO victory over the Brazilian, but he’s not as fast or accurate.

Marvin Vettori of Italy walks to the octagon during the UFC 263 middleweight championship match against Israel Adesanya at Gila River Arena on June...

This is a chance for Vettori to step into the cage and deliver a performance that fans can go back to in the future as a sign of why he is among the best middleweights in the world.

He is missing that stellar win on his resume right now, that career defining moment. The UFC Vegas 41 main event is the chance for him to earn that and put himself on the map as being in the title conversation for the foreseeable future.

Paulo Costa can earn some respect back with a win at UFC Vegas 41

Before we start off, it should be made abundantly clear that anybody who steps into the octagon or any type of combat sports arena deserves the utmost respect just for getting in there.

When those men and women get in there at any level, it’s a credit to their talent, determination and dedication that they are able to achieve any sort of success in there.

So when a fighter makes it at the very highest level, it’s even more incredible and deserves even more respect and praise.



That’s why getting beyond the rankings and getting into the title contention in the UFC is such a hugely coveted achievement in the world of mixed martial arts and combat sports.

Brazilian middleweight Paulo Costa is one of those who has been able to do that, competing currently with a record of 13-1 professionally and 5-1 in the UFC up to this point.

Of his 13 professional wins, Costa has earned 11 knockout victories and one submission win with the only time he has ever reached the judge’s scorecards being in a brilliant win over Yoel Romero at UFC 241.

That brilliant form and momentum earned him a title shot against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253, after months of back and forth between the two on social media and even face-to-face.

Costa promised a violent, knockout finish against his nemesis and while the fight delivered, it was he who lay in the centre of the octagon unconscious at the end of the second round.

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria punches Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight...

There’s no shame in losing to Adesanya, who has proven himself to be one of the greatest strikers in UFC history throughout his tenure as champion at 185lbs. But the excuses and attitude of Costa following that fight are appalling.

The Brazilian first claimed he deserved an immediate rematch because he couldn’t sleep the night before and wasn’t feeling himself. He then admitted to drinking an entire bottle of wine to try and put himself to sleep and hinted that he may have been drunk while in the cage, hence his performance.

There were reports that he went into the fight injured after a tough camp too, before it became clear that he wouldn’t be getting another title shot any time soon.

He was then scheduled to face Robert Whittaker in a huge main event fight, with the winner likely able to claim themselves as the number one contender. Costa withdrew from the fight after testing positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Kelvin Gastelum, who Whittaker defeated handily.

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With the Aussie now firmly set as the number one contender, Costa was matched with Jared Cannonier in another attempt to keep him in the title picture.

The fights were announced by the UFC, only for Costa to withdraw just days later claiming he never signed a bout agreement and that he wanted more money to fight. The fight was scrapped and Cannonier fought Gastelum instead, winning also.

Throughout the process Costa has been vocal about fighting, but he only wants certain fights and has become the obnoxious big man who tries to bully his way to success.

He’ll finally get back in the cage against Marvin Vettori this weekend at UFC Vegas 41, Adesanya’s most recent victim in the middleweight title picture.

Paulo Costa of Brazil gestures to Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight...

It’s the age old question of what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object. But for Costa, it’s about showing that he’s worth all the talk he’s been spewing over the last 13 months.

A win for ‘Borrachina’ will set him among the elites of the division undoubtedly and set him up in a position to claim a title shot at some point in 2022.

A loss though and all the respect he had goes out of the window and he becomes just another talker with power in the UFC.