Two of the greatest 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 battle at the main event of UFC on ESPN 3, which is set for April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout was initially reported by Combate. It will be a five-round fight, it is 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, that fights Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in early February. (Although we do need to keep Israel Adesanya in that dialog as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years old, but you wouldn’t know it. He is 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 his UFC successes have come by knockout, and 11 total of his wins have come by knockout. He’s only been stopped once in his entire career, by Rafael”Feijao” Cavalcante back in Strikeforce, also in the UFC he has 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 only the Australian winner. But with just two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is at precisely the exact same spot as someone like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. With other contenders in the mix, Romero needs to keep active and keep winning fights in order 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 has been tagged the upcoming big thing by most fans and media, but so far he is still quite unproven against the top echelon of the UFC middleweight division. At only 27, he’s correct in his prime and continues to demonstrate an improved skill-set every time we see him within the Octagon. No doubt he has looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and if he looks fantastic against Romero and has the win he’ll be in an enviable position when it comes to the middleweight title shot pecking order.
This is a superb fight, and the fact it’s set for five rounds makes it better. As far as who I favor, I believe you need to tag Romero as the favorite only based on what he’s accomplished up to now from the Octagon. And of course the fact that when this fight was originally reserved for UFC 230, Romero was initially pegged as the betting favorite before the line was taken down. Costa has looked great lately, however, and he has a 14-year age advantage in this struggle, but until we see him really beat a top guy it’s hard to say he should be preferred over any of them. Irrespective of who wins the fight, this should be a fun matchup and it’s the perfect principal event for the Hispanic audience in Miami.
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