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A couple of the greatest middleweights on the planet are set to battle in a long-awaited bout after this spring, and I will give my initial thoughts on the matchup in today’s 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 probably the winner of the bout could be next in line to get a crack at the UFC middleweight title currently held by Robert Whittaker, who fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to keep Israel Adesanya in that conversation as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years old, but you wouldn’t know it. He is in incredible physical condition and can be fighting an extremely large level. The Cuban wrestling senstation is 9-2 overall in the UFC, with wins over the likes of Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza, Lyoto Machida, Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson. Seven of his 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, and at the UFC he’s only lost two, both razor-thin decisions to Whittaker. In a lot of ways it is fair to think about Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind only the Australian champion. However, with two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is at the same place as someone like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. Together with other contenders in the combination, Romero needs to keep busy and keep winning fights so as to maybe get a third title fight from the Whittaker vs. Gastelum winner.
Costa (12-0) is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC and all of his career victories have come by knockout or entry, 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 press, but so far he is still very unproven against the upper echelon of the UFC middleweight division. At only 27, he is correct in his prime and continues to show a better skill-set every time we see him within the Octagon. No doubt he has looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and when he looks fantastic against Romero and has the win he will be in an enviable position in regards to the middleweight title taken pecking order.
This is a superb fight, and also the fact it is place for five rounds makes it better. As far as that I prefer, I think you have to tag Romero as the favored just based on what he’s accomplished up to now in the Octagon. Not to mention that when this struggle was initially booked for UFC 230, Romero was initially pegged as the gaming preferred ahead of the line was taken down. Costa has definitely looked great recently, though, and he’s got a 14-year age benefit in this struggle, but until we see him really beat a top guy it is hard to say he must be favored over any of them. Irrespective of who wins the fight, this ought to be a fun matchup and it is the ideal main event for the Hispanic crowd in Miami.
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