Two of the best middleweights in the world are set to clash later this summer, and below are my initial thoughts on the booking.
Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa, UFC 241
A middleweight matchup between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa will take place at UFC 241, which is set for August 17 at Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. With the main event for this card seeing Daniel Cormier attempt to defend the UFC heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic in a rematch, Romero vs. Costa is scheduled for only three rounds. Remember, this was supposed to be the main event of April’s UFC on ESPN 3 card before both men fell off the card and the headliner eventually became Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza against Jack Hermansson. Now, after months of trash talking each other in interviews and on social media, we will finally see Romero and Costa throw down this summer.
Romero (13-3) has not fought since a decision loss to UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker last summer at UFC 225. Although Romero has lost two of his last three outings to Whittaker, he mixed in a brutal KO win over Luke Rockhold in-between the Whittaker fights which proved that even at age 42 he’s still one of the top middleweights in the world. After starting his MMA career at 4-1, Romero has since gone 9-2 in the UFC alone with wins over the likes of the aforementioned Rockhold and Souza, not to mention Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Tim Kennedy, Brad Tavares, and Derek Brunson. He comes from an elite wrestling background and has developed into one of the most devastating knockout artists the UFC has ever seen, making him a special talent. Romero has looked amazing since joining the Octagon in 2013, and is now a top-five middleweight in MMA.
Costa (12-0) has finished all 12 of his pro MMA victories and has a perfect 4-0 record in the UFC that includes knockout wins over Uriah Hall, Johnny Hendricks, Oluwale Bamgbose and Garreth McLellan. He has the special knockout power to go along with the look of a superstar that makes him a special talent in this sport. Costa has been involved in some controversies recently involving USADA and the athletic commissions, but after all of that has been he has finally been cleared to fight. He is one of the top prospects in the middleweight division, and if he could defeat Romero in this fight he could jump into the title mix at 185lbs.
Though Costa has the potential to be an elite middleweight, until he can proves that he does that Romero should be favored to win this fight. Even though he’s one of the oldest fighters in the UFC middleweight division. Romero is still one of the most dominant and proven fighters in the division. Costa is a tremendous talent but still needs that one key marquee win before we can go and say he can beat a guy like Romero. The winner of this fight, regardless of who it is, should be in the mix for the title at 185lbs.