Paulo Costa recently proved it isn’t just his striking power that Israel Adesanya needs to look out for, it’s speed too.
The middleweight standout proclaimed “I’m a beast now” as he stepped up his training ahead of his title fight against Adesanya at UFC 253 on September 19. With the help of his Muay Thai coach Felipe Reis and his boxing coach Edvaldo Badola, the top contender showcased his speed and power as he uncorked 23 kicks in 12 seconds.
Paulo Costa (13-0) was last seen fighting the former title challenger Yoel Romero at UFC 241 in August, 2019. The pair battled it out in a slugfest, and ultimately “The Eraser” took home the unanimous decision victory against his more experienced opponent.
It was originally anticipated that Costa would be the next man to face Adesanya for the “Last Stylebender’s” first title defence, however, a bicep injury forced the Brazilian out of the race, leaving his former opponent Romero to step up and take the title shot.
Adesanya and Romero collided at UFC 248 in March this year. Despite being an eagerly-anticipated fight, it was a relatively lacklustre affair and Adesanya won by decision to defend his 185-pound crown.
Costa is convinced he is the only man who can swipe the middleweight belt from Adesanya. Their ongoing beef will culminate in their upcoming fight, but the Brazilian isn’t willing to let the bad blood go and is preparing for a knockout finish.
“Even after I knock him out, I will not shake his hand,” Costa told MMA Junkie recently. “It will be wild. It will be savage. … I believe in the second round (I will knock him out) because he will run a lot in the first round.”
In the same interview, Costa went on to shed some light on his strategy for his fight with Adesanya and what he will do differently from Romero
“I will not be staying and waiting for him,” Costa said. “I know he can run a lot, and that’s what he wants to do, what he usually does. I won’t wait like Romero did. I will hunt him inside the cage and close the distance and land my shots to his body and his face. … Don’t go so fast like Whittaker and don’t go slow like Romero. Make a balance. I think I am very different from both guys because I can pressure him every minute for the 25 minutes.
Do you think Paulo Costa will capture the middleweight title at UFC 253?