UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and his Brazilian title challenger Paulo Costa faced off for the final time on Friday morning. The final time the two would meet before their main event bout at UFC 253 ended with sparks flying.
The undefeated fighters brought some drama to their post-weigh-in face off. Costa even brought props along with him for some added theatrics for the cameras.
The Brazilian wore a BJJ blackbelt and pulled a white belt out of his shorts pocket before throwing it at the champion. Adesanya, unsurprisingly, wasn’t impressed by Costa’s insinuation that he was an inferior grappler. This sentiment was also mentioned by the Brazilian earlier in the week. (H/T MMAFighting.com)
“Before I become a striker I was a grappler,” Costa said at the UFC 253 pre-fight press conference. “I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu, my brother’s gym, my coach. I have a lot of knowledge on BJJ. Yes, this fight can be on the ground also.”
“You sucked as grappler,” Adesanya responded. “Whenever he shoots, he loses his gas tank within the first or second shot.”
“Bullsh*t,” Costa said. “You’re a blue belt in jiu-jitsu. You cannot say nothing about jiu-jitsu. You’re like a kid in jiu-jitsu. You don’t know how to do an armlock.”
“I’ll berimbolo you if I wanted to,” Adesanya replied. “I’ll grab your f*cking collar right now and put you in a bow-and-arrow.”
“You never put a gi on your skinny body,” Costa concluded. “Talk about jiu-jitsu with me. You’re crazy.”
The champion Adesanya last fought back in March at UFC 248, when he defeated Yoel Romero. The fight ended in a stale decision that many fight fans wish they could forget. But back in October of 2019, ‘The Last Stylebender’ dismantled Robert Whittaker to take the UFC welterweight crown in flashy fashion. His resume to the throne includes big wins over Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori. As well as a five-round war with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 that is widely regarded as the best fight of 2019.
Paulo Costa will be fighting for the first time since August 2019 due to injury. The Brazilian last entered the Octagon when he won a bloody decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 241. Costa’s most notable wins are over Uriah Hall and Johny Hendricks. This will interestingly be Costa’s first five-round fight in the UFC.
Both fighters are undefeated. Israel Adesanya’s record of 19-0 faces off against Paulo Costa’s record of 13-0. Someone’s 0 has got to go!
Who leaves Fight Island with their undefeated record intact, Israel Adesanya or Paulo Costa?