A couple of the greatest middleweights on Earth are set to clash at a long-awaited bout after this spring, and now 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 main event of UFC on ESPN 3, which is set for April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout was first reported by Combate. It will be a five-round fight, it is likely the winner of the bout could be next in line for a crack in the UFC middleweight title currently held by Robert Whittaker, that fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we do need to maintain Israel Adesanya in that dialog as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years older, but you wouldn’t know it. He is in amazing physical condition and can be fighting at an extremely large level. 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 has just been stopped once in his entire career, by Rafael”Feijao” Cavalcante back in Strikeforce, and at the UFC he’s only lost two, both razor-thin choices to Whittaker. In many ways it is reasonable to think about Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind the Australian winner. But with just two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is at the exact same spot as someone like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson in welterweight. Together with other contenders in the mix, Romero needs to keep busy and keep winning struggles so as to possibly receive a third title fight against the Whittaker vs. Gastelum winner.
Costa (12-0) is a perfect 4-0 at the UFC and all of his career victories have come by knockout or submission, including brutal knockouts over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall in his last two bouts. The Brazilian has been tagged the next big thing by most fans and press, but so far he is still very unproven against the top echelon of the UFC middleweight division. At only 27, he’s right in his prime and continues to show a better skill-set each time we see him within the Octagon. No doubt he has looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and when he looks great against Romero and gets the win he’ll be in an enviable position when it comes to the middleweight title shot pecking order.
This is a great fight, and also the fact it is place for five rounds makes it even better. As far as that I favor, I believe you need to tag Romero as the favored just based on what he has accomplished up to now in the Octagon. Not to mention the fact that when this struggle was initially reserved for UFC 230, Romero was originally pegged as the gaming preferred before the line was taken down. Costa has looked great lately, though, and he has a 14-year age benefit in this struggle, but till we see him really beat a top man it’s hard to say he must be favored over any of these. Irrespective of who wins the fight, this ought to be a fun matchup and it’s the ideal main occasion for the Hispanic audience in Miami.
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