Robert Whittaker is looking to extend his winning streak to three as he faces Paulo Costa in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on April 17.
After Costa lost by second-round TKO to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title he called for a fight against Whittaker. However, the former middleweight champ didn’t seem too interested in that fight, but, for whatever reason the fight has been made.
Whittaker vs Costa Opening Odds:
Whittaker and Costa’s recent fights
Robert Whittaker (22-5) has looked very impressive since losing his title to Israel Adesanya back at UFC 243. Since the loss, the Aussie beat Darren Till in a five-round main event on Fight Island in July. He followed that up with a decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 in a fight Whittaker was close to finishing. He also holds notable wins over Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza, Derek Brunson, and Uriah Hall.
Paulo Costa (13-1) was entering his title fight against Adesanya with a lot of hype. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, the fight did not go his way as he was knocked out in the second round. Before that, he had notable wins over Romero, Hall, and Johny Hendricks.
Are the odds surprising?
I actually am a bit surprised by the odds because I thought Robert Whittaker would be a bigger favorite. I personally lined “The Reaper” as a -200 favorite as he is the better mixed martial artists and in his last two fights his chin has looked better.
However, Costa does have legit knockout power and has some fans behind him which is why the oddsmakers couldn’t put the line too wide or they would’ve gotten smashed on the Costa side.
How might the odds change?
I do think Robert Whittaker will close above -200.
If you look at Whittaker’s recent fights and betting history he opened as the betting underdog to Jared Cannonier and closed as a -125 favorite. In the two Romero fights he went from an underdog to a favorite and in the rematch he opened at -150 and closed at -340. He obviously has people backing him and closer to the fight, I do expect that to be the case.
Paulo Costa, meanwhile, was bet up heavily against the likes of Johny Hendricks, Oluwale Bamgbose and Uriah Hall. Against Romero, he opened and closed as the betting underdog, with the same thing happening against Adesanya.
There is no question when Costa fights lower-level middleweights who are chinny, the public likes to back him. But, against the elite of the division, he doesn’t get the respect which is what I expect to happen here as he will be around a +170 underdog by fight night.