A couple of the best middleweights on the planet are set to battle in a long-awaited bout later this spring, and I’ll give my first thoughts on the matchup in the present MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa, UFC on ESPN 3
Top-ranked middleweights Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa will clash in the Primary event of UFC on ESPN 3, that is set for April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout was initially reported by Combate. It’ll be a five-round fight, it’s likely the winner of the bout could be next in line for a crack in the UFC middleweight title now held by Robert Whittaker, who fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to keep Israel Adesanya in that dialog as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years older, but you wouldn’t know it. He is in incredible physical condition and can be fighting at an extremely large degree. The Cuban wrestling senstation is 9-2 overall from the UFC, with wins over the likes of Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza, Lyoto Machida, Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson. Seven of the UFC victories have come by knockout, and 11 total of his wins have come by knockout. He’s just been stopped once in his whole career, by Rafael”Feijao” Cavalcante back in Strikeforce, also in the UFC he’s lost twice, both razor-thin choices to Whittaker. In a lot of ways it is reasonable to consider Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind the Australian champion. But with two losses to Whittaker, Romero is at precisely the exact same spot as someone like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson in welterweight. Together with other contenders in the combination, Romero needs to keep busy and keep winning fights so as to maybe get a third name fight against the Whittaker vs. Gastelum winner.
Costa (12-0) is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC and all his career victories have come by knockout or submission, such as brutal knockouts over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall in his last two bouts. The Brazilian was labeled the next big thing by many fans and media, but so far he’s still quite unproven against the upper echelon of this UFC middleweight division. At only 27, he is right in his prime and continues to show an improved skill-set every time we see him within the Octagon. No doubt he’s looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and if he looks fantastic against Romero and gets the win he will be in an enviable position when it comes to the middleweight title taken pecking order.
This is a superb fight, and the fact it is place for five rounds makes it better. As far as who I favor, I think you need to tag Romero as the favored only based on everything he’s accomplished up to now from the Octagon. Not to mention the fact that when this fight was initially reserved for UFC 230, Romero was originally pegged as the betting favorite ahead of the line was shot down. Costa has definitely looked great recently, however, and he’s got a 14-year age benefit in this fight, but until we see him actually beat a top man it’s difficult to say he should be favored over any of these. Irrespective of who wins the fight, this should be a fun matchup and it’s the ideal principal occasion for the Hispanic crowd in Miami.
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