Recent UFC 253 middleweight title challenger, Paulo Costa has claimed that he was dealing with a hangover during his ‘Fight Island’ title challenge against Israel Adesanya last September — after he had drunk a bottle of wine in the early hours of the night ahead of his morning outing.

Costa, who is scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night event on April 17  against former champion, Robert Whittaker, dropped a one-sided second round knockout defeat to the Nigerian-Kiwi in Abu Dhabi, UAE in September, suffering his first professional defeat. 

The Belo Horizonte striker saw his front leg chopped by damaging kicks by Adesanya, before eating a massive high kick in the second frame in the lead up to the finish. Clipped with a counter hook in the pocket, Costa was dropped by Adesanya who assumed posture from guard and laid waste to the Brazilian with a couple of ground strikes.

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It was a largely tentative display from Costa, who is known to dictate the pace of a fight with his pressure and forward pace, which found him great success against the likes of Yoel Romero, Johny Hendricks, and Uriah Hall with this approach. 

Speaking on his official YouTube channel ahead of his clash with the aforenoted, Whittaker, Costa claimed he consumed an entire bottle of wine in the hours before his matchup with Adesanya in an attempt to get “black out” drunk — so he could find some sleep.

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I was kind of drunk (when) I fought, maybe, on (sic) hangover,” Costa said. “I couldn’t sleep because of the (leg) cramps. Keep in mind that the fight happens at 9 a.m. (local time), we have to wake up at 5 (a.m.) to get ready, stretch, wrap the hands. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30 (a.m).

It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose (to do), but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for twenty-four hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle (of wine) to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.” (H/T MMA Fighting)

Tasked with returning to the winner’s enclosure for the first time in his career against Whittaker — Costa meets with the former champion who enters off the back of a pair of unanimous decision wins in 2020 over both Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.