Two of the greatest middleweights on Earth are set to battle in a long-awaited bout later this spring, and I’ll give my first 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, that 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’s likely the winner of the bout could be next in line for a crack in the UFC middleweight title now held by Robert Whittaker, that fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to keep Israel Adesanya in that conversation too ).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years older, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s in incredible 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 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’s lost twice, both razor-thin choices to Whittaker. In many ways it’s reasonable to think about Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind the Australian champion. However, with two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is in precisely the same place as somebody like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. With other contenders in the combination, Romero should keep active and keep winning struggles so as to possibly get a third name 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 media, but so far he’s still very unproven against the top echelon of the UFC middleweight division. At only 27, he’s right in his prime and proceeds to show an improved skill-set each time we see him within the Octagon. No doubt he’s looked great against lesser opposition, and if he looks great against Romero and has the win he will be in an enviable position when it comes to the middleweight title shot pecking order.
This is a superb fight, and the fact it is place for five rounds makes it even better. As far as who I favor, I believe you need to label 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 betting favorite ahead of the line was taken down. Costa has looked great recently, however, and he’s got a 14-year age benefit in this fight, but till we see him really beat a top man it is difficult to say he must be preferred over any of these. Regardless of who wins the struggle, this ought to be an entertaining matchup and it’s the ideal principal event for the Hispanic crowd in Miami.
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