Nigeria’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya may not be in for an early title defence this Saturday after all, as his opponent, Paulo Costas of Brazil has declared that he will give the fight everything he has, megasportsarena.com reports.
Costa’s declaration is coming barely 48 hours after Adesanya said he is thinking of wrapping the bout up as early as the first round, or get it done latest in the fourth, but the challenger has fired back with a verdict of his own, even as fight pundits noted that he moves like an NFL linebacker on a blitz who has to get to the quarterback before he can hit the open receiver streaking down.
That is the graphic description coming from Yahoo Sports, ahead of ‘The Last Style Bender,’ Adasanya’s latest title defence in The Octagon, and the New Zealand-based Nigerian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) grappler has been warned that he is set to step out against an unbeaten Brazilian veteran.
A preview to the fight added: “Costa is always going as fast as he can with as much evil intent as he can deliver, whenever he’s in the cage, whether it’s in a title match or a bout on the preliminary card. He’ll face Israel Adesanya on Saturday in Abu Dhabi in the main event of UFC 253 for the middleweight title and he’ll do it his way.
“Not surprisingly, the early days of his style were formed by watching tapes of one of his countrymen, Wanderlei Silva. Costa, 29, got into MMA by watching DVDs of PRIDE and UFC fights. He was motivated by several fighters, but none moreso than Silva.
“’The Axe Murderer’ is one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport’s history and he went as hard as he could for as long as he could each time out. Costa is 13-0 going into his title shot, and the only fight he didn’t finish was his last one, a decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 241 on Aug. 17, 2019.
“In his other 12 fights, he scored 11 knockouts and 1 submission, and ended his first nine pro bouts in the first round. Costa said the 30-foot cage that will be used in Abu Dhabi, as opposed to the 25-foot cage that is used in Las Vegas at Apex, will give Adesanya more room to move and create angles. But Costa said it’s a misnomer to believe that he’ll just allow Adesanya to stick and move.
“He said he was inspired as a young man by the exploits of his countrymen such as Silva, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Anderson Silva and twin brothers Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but added that he owes much of his approach to Wanderlei Silva.”
Costa also declared his huge ambitions for Saturday’s fight, as he told Yahoo Sports: “I’m going out there to finish him. I’m coming to show who I am. I’m an educated fighter and I know I have to use my mind as well as my [physical] skills. I am a very good and smart striker.
“People will see that I’m not just a strong man. I am a very smart guy and I know how to set up a plan and execute it. He’s going to try to run away a lot, we know this. He wants to avoid the collision, but he cannot do that forever.
“Whether it’s the first round or the second round, I’m going to get him into position where he can’t avoid the fight and that will be the opportunity for me to show who is the best in this game What I came here to do is to finish this guy and become the face of [the UFC].
“Those guys pushed into me, into my mind, my sense of style as a fighter. When I saw those guys fight, it made me so excited and it inspired me to try to do that, to bring back the old-school Vale Tudo fighting. I like the way they did it in the old days.
“If I just went there and stood in front of Adesanya the way Romero did, it would be the exact same fight and who would want to see that? I’m a guy who you know is going to bring the fight, but I’m not going to do it like a dumb man and just go run at him. No, that’s not going to happen.”
A preview of the fight by Daily Mail stated in part: “It isn’t every day that a former IT consultant has a shot at UFC gold, but one glance at Paulo Costa tells you he was hardly your average computer technician.
“The 29-year-old Brazilian, who looks like a cross between a Mr Olympia competitor and Abercrombie & Fitch model, has amassed an undefeated 13-0 record and is one of the most exciting KO artists in MMA.
“This Saturday at UFC 253 he takes on Israel Adesanya for the middleweight belt as a slight underdog but the odds have always been stacked against him. As with every young child in Belo Horizonte where he grew up, there were dreams of making it as a professional footballer but Costa lacked the talent.
“He grew up in the city of Contagem and would regularly get into street fights. ‘There was this time I left school and there were 20 people waiting outside to beat me up,’ he previously told MMA Fighting. ‘I can’t remember what happened, why they wanted to do that, but all I know is that I ran as fast as I could and entered a supermarket to hide.’”