A couple of the best middleweights around the planet are set to battle in a long-awaited bout after this spring, and now I will give my initial 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, which is set for April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout was first reported by Combate. It’ll be a five-round fight, it is likely the winner of the bout could be next in line for a crack at the UFC middleweight title now held by Robert Whittaker, who fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to maintain Israel Adesanya in that conversation as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years older, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s in amazing physical condition and is 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 the UFC successes 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, also in the UFC he has lost twice, both razor-thin choices to Whittaker. In many ways it is reasonable to think about Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind only the Australian winner. But with just two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is at precisely the exact same spot as somebody like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. Together with other contenders in the mix, Romero should keep active and keep winning fights so as to possibly receive 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 has been labeled the next big thing by most fans and press, but so far he’s still quite unproven against the upper echelon of this 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 inside the Octagon. No doubt he’s looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and when he looks great against Romero and gets the win he will be in an enviable position in regards to the middleweight title shot pecking order.
This is a great fight, and the fact it’s set for five rounds makes it even better. As far as who I prefer, I think you have to label Romero as the favored just based on what he has accomplished so far in the Octagon. And of course the fact that when this struggle was originally booked for UFC 230, Romero was initially pegged as the gaming preferred ahead of the line was taken down. Costa has looked great lately, though, and he has a 14-year age benefit in this fight, but until we see him really beat a top guy it is hard to say he should be preferred over any of these. Irrespective of who wins the struggle, this ought to be an entertaining matchup and it is the perfect main occasion for the Hispanic crowd in Miami.
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