UFC 298 Co-Main Event Preview: Robert Whittaker – Paulo Costa

Feb 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) before the fight against Israel Adesanya (red gloves) during UFC 271 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 298, we are going to see a middleweight matchup that has been years in the making. Former world champion Robert Whittaker (24-7) will look to get back on track as he takes on former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-2).

This fight was either verbally agreed to or signed a couple of times but never came to fruition. Tomorrow night, we will finally see these two square off. Starting with Costa, this is going to be his first fight since August 2022 when he defeated Luke Rockhold.

He was originally supposed to face Ikram Aliskerov last July, but the UFC shifted him back to October and paired him with Khamzat Chimaev. An elbow injury forced him out of that fight and this is the first time he’s been able to get back in there. Costa has not been very active at all having only fought three times total since his win over Yoel Romero in 2019.

For years, nobody outside of Israel Adesanya could touch Robert Whittaker at 185. Stylebender beat him twice, but other than that, he was perfect at middleweight. That was until July of last year when he faced Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290. In a title eliminator, Bobby Knuckles was stopped by the now champion in the second round. It was just his third loss in the last ten years. He’ll look to get that back tomorrow night and get right back into title contention.

UFC 298 Prediction

This fight gives me pause for a few reasons. On one hand, I’m really not sure what to expect from Paulo Costa. He’s been so inactive over the last few years and I’m just not sure if he’s the same guy that we saw rise to a title shot a few years ago.

On the flip side, Robert Whittaker’s chin gives me a little pause. He was in wars with the likes of Yoel Romero and Israel Adesanya, yet he was dropped by a step-in jab by DDP. I’m not sure if that was the perfect shot or if his chin is starting to dip a little. Costa hits incredibly hard so that gives me concern for Bobby Knuckles.

However, I’m going to look at this as if we get the best version of both at UFC 298. I really like Robert Whittaker in this matchup. Paulo Costa’s power can always change everything, but I just think Whittaker has such better technique and I think he’ll have the speed advantage.

I also trust Whittaker’s cardio more and believe he can mix things up to keep Costa on his toes. I’m expecting a very good fight that goes all three rounds with the former champion pulling this one out.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by Decision

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