Luke Rockhold makes UFC return in August as he takes on Paulo Costa

Luke Rockhold

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-5) will finally be making his return to the octagon. Combate reported yesterday that an agreement is in place for Rockhold to return in August to take on former title challenger Paulo Costa (13-2).

The matchup will take place at a UFC event on August 20th. It is not known yet whether or not this contest will be a main event, but nevertheless, it’s a good one that will go down in August.

Paulo Costa will be fighting his last fight on his current UFC deal and he’s entering this fight on a two-fight losing streak. After starting out a perfect 13-0 in his professional career, Borrachinha got a shot at the middleweight title.

At UFC 253 on Fight Island, Costa challenged Israel Adesanya. Costa looked extremely flat and not aggressive in that fight as Adesanya picked him apart on his way to a second round finish. Costa blamed the lackluster performance on the wine that he drank to help himself sleep the night before the fight.

After some contract back-and-forth with the UFC, Costa returned in October to face Marvin Vettori. Despite the fight being agreed to at middleweight, Costa showed up on fight week and stated he couldn’t make 185 pounds. As a result, the UFC shifted the fight to light heavyweight.

It was a very solid fight, but once against, Costa came up short. This is a big fight for Costa’s future. If he wants to make more money and stay with the UFC, he needs a win and a big performance. A loss could send him into the land of the unknown.

UFC Champion Returns

We haven’t seen Luke Rockhold in the octagon since UFC 239 in 2019. That night, he made his light heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz. Rockhold was hoping that he would be able to secure a shot against Jon Jones with a win.

However, Rockhold was knocked out by Blachowicz which was his third knockout loss in four fights. With that loss, Rockhold decided to take some time away from the UFC and think about his career. It was not clear whether or not he’d fight again.

He decided he wanted to keep going and was booked to face Sean Strickland back in November. However, an injury forced Rockhold out and his return had to wait. Now, he’s healthy and the UFC is giving him a tough test in his return.

If he can come out and beat Costa handily, it will show everyone that Rockhold is still a threat at 185 pounds. However, a bad loss could end his career for good.

Paulo Costa’s UFC future is not clear

In the UFC, it’s truly crazy how quickly things can turn around. Just a couple of years ago, it was looking like Paulo Costa (13-2) was going to eventually become the middleweight champion of the world.

The Brazilian is a massive middleweight who fights with a ferocity that overwhelmed most opponents. Throughout his first thirteen professional fights, nobody could stop Costa from running through them.

After he defeated Yoel Romero, the UFC gave him his crack at the middleweight title in September of 2020. Costa took on Israel Adesanya on Fight Island, and I have to be honest, at the time I picked Costa.

I saw how Kelvin Gastelum gave Adesanya trouble, and I figured Costa was more powerful and fought with more pressure. For that reason, I actually thought he had a good chance to become UFC middleweight champion. Boy, was I wrong.

Adesanya completely destroyed Costa in an odd fight that saw Costa get stopped in the second round. After the fight, Costa vocalized a number of excuses including drinking bottles of wine to help him sleep the night before his title fight at UFC 253.

What’s next for Costa in the UFC?

Costa took some time away before agreeing to a fight against former champion Robert Whittaker in the spring. However, Costa never signed his agreement and stated that he wanted more money from the promotion.

Of course, this is something Dana White openly mocked given the way Costa fought against Adesanya. Eventually, Costa signed a bout agreement to fight Marvin Vettori at middleweight last October.

However, things went wrong as soon as the week started. Costa showed up and openly stated he wouldn’t make weight for his UFC fight with Vettori. Ultimately, Vettori agreed to face Costa at 205 and Vettori won a decision.

Now, Costa has one fight left on his UFC deal, but he’s having trouble finding an opponent. Nobody at middleweight, outside of Luke Rockhold, seems to be interested in fighting him. Costa also recently told Ag.Fight that he’s interested in pursuing boxing.

My guess is that Costa is going to eventually be released or he’s going to leave the UFC after his next fight. I think given everything that’s happened over the last year and change shows that Costa and the UFC is not a marriage meant to last.

Who do you think Costa faces next if he fights again?

What’s next for Paulo Costa after UFC Vegas 41?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 41, we saw a showdown between former title challengers Marvin Vettori (18-5-1) and Paulo Costa (13-2). The fight was supposed to take place at middleweight, but a last minute change saw the fight take place at 205 pounds.

Paulo Costa shocked everyone last week when he said he wouldn’t make weight for UFC Vegas 41. The news caught the UFC off-guard and they were forced to scramble to make the fight happen. Two bout agreements later and they landed on light heavyweight.

Regardless of the outcome of the fight, Paulo Costa was going to come away a loser in the eyes of many in the UFC. He signed to fight at middleweight and then proceeded to agree to a catchweight at 195. After that, he came back and said he couldn’t even do that.

All of this comes on the heels of Costa’s awful performance against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253. Costa blamed his terrible performance on the wine that he had drank the night before to assist him with getting some sleep.

After this round of excuses, Costa agreed to fight Jared Cannonier in August. However, he backed out stating the UFC wasn’t paying him enough. Ultimately, the promotion worked out a deal to have him fight Vettori and then he pulled this on fight week.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 41?

Paulo Costa has not done himself any favors with the UFC in the last 12 months. Prior to UFC 253, he was liked by the promotion and there were no issues in dealing with him. Now, he’s become a headache and major pain to the UFC and Dana White.

Costa lost the fight on Saturday to Vettori and afterwards, Dana White said that Costa will no longer fight at middleweight. From now on, Costa will not be given any contracts at middleweight and the promotion is adding him to light heavyweight.

So, now that Costa has to move up, who should the UFC pair him with? Well, there’s actually a countryman of his that I think would make for the perfect fight. I like the idea of Costa fighting Johnny Walker (18-6) at light heavyweight.

When on, these two have incredibly exciting styles that compliment each other. This would be a great fight for both men and it would generate a lot of fan interest. Perhaps, this could be the first step in mending the relationship between Costa and the UFC.

Marvin Vettori edges Paulo Costa at UFC Vegas 41

Today in the main event of UFC Vegas 41, we saw a middleweight battle between former title challengers Marvin Vettori (17-5-1) and Paulo Costa (13-1). While the fight featured two top middleweights, the fight took place at light heavyweight.

Paulo Costa said earlier this week that he wouldn’t make weight for the signed bout at 185 pounds. With that, the two men agreed to fight in the light heavyweight division. Granted, this was still looked at as a battle between two top middleweights.

The fight was sensational at UFC Vegas 41 and it was a battle of styles. For Marvin Vettori, he came forward with a lot of pressure and volume. Meanwhile Paulo Costa came forward with his massive power.

Early on in the fight, Vettori was landing a lot, but the big shots came from Costa. Most notably, a massive headkick in the second round that seemed to wobble Vettori briefly. In the second round, a pivotal moment occurred when Costa lost a point with an eye poke.

The middle rounds at UFC Vegas 41 were controlled by Vettori who won the third and fourth rounds with his volume. In the fifth round, Costa came alive and really started throwing heat. Tons of huge body kicks and huge shots up top came from the Brazilian.

The fifth round and the second looked like clear rounds for Paulo Costa. Meanwhile the middle rounds looked good for The Italian Dream. In the end as the judges scored the fight (48-46, 48-46, 48-46) for Vettori.

UFC Vegas 41 Final Takeaways

The fight was incredible between these two men and it was exactly the fight that UFC fans were hoping to see. However, there are still some sour points from the week that dampen the fight for me a bit.

It’s clear that Paulo Costa should be fighting at light heavyweight. If he can’t even come within ten pounds of the middleweight limit after a year off, the UFC should move up him to light heavyweight. Honestly, he looks great physically there.

While there were bright spots for Costa and he looked much better than he did against Adesanya, tonight was all about Vettori. Vettori ate some huge shots but never stopped coming forward. His performance really summed up the entire week for him.

It’s hard not to love Marvin Vettori after this week. Not only did he pick up the win at UFC Vegas 41, but he had the attitude of just wanting to fight all week. He really showed that he was a real fighter and this week was a big week for the Marvin Vettori fan base.

UFC Vegas 41 Preview: Marvin Vettori – Paulo Costa

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 41, we will see a battle of former middleweight title challengers. The Italian Dream Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) takes on Brazil’s Paulo Costa (13-1) in the main event.

The last time we saw both fighters was against Israel Adesanya. Vettori lost a decision to Adesanya a few months ago while Costa was knocked out by Adesanya last October. Now, both former title challengers will look to get back on track at UFC Vegas 41.

This fight has taken a lot of turns this week due to the weight. Costa announced just a couple of days ago that he wasn’t going to make 185 pounds at UFC Vegas 41. The two men signed up for a middleweight contest, but Costa said he couldn’t make the weight.

Vettori agreed to meet Costa at 195 pounds and the two signed a deal giving Vettori 20% of Costa’s fight purse. Then, we found out that Costa couldn’t make 195 pounds. From there, the fight shifted to a light heavyweight contest and the two men weighed in today.

UFC Vegas 41 Prediction

Paulo Costa has become his own worst enemy leading up to UFC Vegas 41. To be completely honest, I don’t know what to expect from him tomorrow night and that really puts me off from wanting to predict him.

If we were to see the best version of Paulo Costa tomorrow, we’d see a guy who pushes forward non-stop while throwing fight ending power. However, I don’t know if he’s the same guy after he lost to Israel Adesanya.

That loss to Stylebender really seems to have done a number on Costa. When it comes to Vettori, I’m expecting a lot of pressure from him and I really expect him to push the grappling early on. I think Vettori is going to try and make UFC Vegas 41 as dirty as possible.

Costa has the power to end the fight, but I just don’t have the confidence in him to pick him at the moment. I think we are going to see a relatively flat Paulo Costa which will result in Marvin Vettori winning a decision. I could be completely wrong, but I just don’t know what to expect from Costa at this point.

Prediction: Marvin Vettori by Decision

UFC Vegas 41: Paulo Costa announces he won’t make weight

The UFC Vegas 41 main event is in a very interesting spot at the moment. Today was media day for all of the fighters and some interesting things were shared. Before getting into some of the comments, let’s rewind to just past midnight when Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) took to Twitter.

The Italian middleweight tweeted that Costa was looking for a way out of the fight. An interesting tweet that had a lot of people scratching their heads. Today, we learned a little more insight into the context of Vettori’s tweet.

Paulo Costa (13-1) took to the podium today and announced that he would not be making weight for this week’s main event. Worth noting that Costa has competed at middleweight for several years and in his last fight, he fought for the UFC middleweight title and made 185 pounds.

Costa told the media that he’s currently weighing 211 pounds just two days away from the weigh ins. The former title challenger said that he’s in favor of a catchweight fight. He said, “Maybe we can do a catchweight at 195 pounds.”

The UFC’s Options

Paulo Costa is starting to become a headache for Dana White and the UFC. This all dates back to last year when Costa had his title shot against Israel Adesanya. Prior to the Adesanya fight, Costa was looked at as a guy who does nothing but walk you down while throwing heat.

Well, he was incredibly tentative in the Adesanya fight and barely landed any strikes before getting stopped in the second round. After the fight, Costa made a number of excuses including saying that he lost because he drank too much wine the night before UFC 253.

Then, Costa agreed to face Jared Cannonier in August. However, that fight was scrapped after Costa came out and said that he wasn’t thrilled with the UFC’s financial offer to him. Dana White quickly pointed out that after his last fight and his excuses that he was in no position to demand anything.

Now, there’s this issue with the weight. The contract from day one for UFC Vegas 41 stated that this was a middleweight fight and now it sounds like Costa will not even come close to that. This will definitely be something to monitor over the coming days.

After defeating Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 34, what’s next for Jared Cannonier?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 34, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division headline the card. Jared Cannonier (14-5) was taking on former Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum (17-8, 1 NC).

Both men entered the contest with a lot to prove. Gastelum was at the top of the division just a couple of years ago but he’s recently fallen on hard times. The former TUF winner was entering Saturday just 1-4 in his last five.

Jared Cannonier was looking to get back into the UFC title picture himself. Last year, Cannonier was being called out by Israel Adesanya. However, before Cannonier could get a UFC title shot against Adesanya, he had to defeat former champion Robert Whittaker.

Cannonier ultimately came up short against Whittaker and never got that shot at Adesanya. With the stakes high for both men, UFC Vegas 34 looked like it was going to deliver a great main event.

The main event did deliver a solid contest. Cannonier and Gastelum fought a very close fight throughout. However, it was Cannonier who was landing the more forceful shots throughout and even dropping Gastelum once. Gastelum’s corner thought he won, but all three judges gave the fight to the Killa Gorilla which was the right call.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 34?

After the event, Cannonier said that he wanted to be active and get a fight when he can. Fortunately for him, the UFC has a few big middleweight fights coming up that could provide the perfect opponent.

One fight to watch out for is the UFC Vegas 36 headliner between Darren Till (18-3-1) and Derek Brunson (22-7). These two contenders are both ranked inside the top ten and whoever wins next Saturday will likely be in the top five.

Pairing Cannonier with the winner would potentially give the UFC middleweight champion a fresh contender. Another main event to watch out for is the headliner between Paulo Costa (13-1) and Marvin Vettori (17-4-1).

Both of those men are coming off losses in UFC title shots. They, like Cannonier, are at the very top of the division. The winner of this matchup would provide the highest ranked opponent for Cannonier, but with them not fighting until October, there will be more of a delay.

If Cannonier is really wanting to be active, next weekend’s main event is the one to watch. If either Till or Brunson come out clean with a victory, the UFC could pair them up with Cannonier at the end of the year.

UFC books headliner between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori

The UFC has finalized a fun fight between two top five middleweights. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that the promotion had finalized a headliner between Paulo Costa (13-1) and Marvin Vettori (17-5-1).

The fight is expected to headline a UFC Fight Night on October 23rd. This fight has been desired by both sides and the UFC finally got the deal done. Both men are in a very similar position in the division.

Marvin Vettori got his second crack at Israel Adesanya back at UFC 263. Their rematch was for the middleweight title. Vettori had won five straight fights to earn a shot at the middleweight title.

The Italian Dream fought Adesanya to a split decision in their first fight. Having the first fight be so close gave Vettori a lot of confidence heading into UFC 263. However, their title fight was not close at all.

Adesanya stifled Vettori for all five rounds and The Italian Dream lost a lopsided decision. Now, Vettori will look to right the ship as he takes on another top contender who also suffered a similar fate against Adesanya.

UFC Fight Night Headliner

When Paulo Costa makes the walk on October 23rd it will be his first fight in over a year. His last fight came at UFC 253 when he fought Israel Adesanya for the title. An undefeated Costa was a popular upset pick, but he proved to be no match for the champion.

Adesanya completely dominated Costa and stopped him in the second round. Prior to that loss, Costa was a perfect 5-0 in the UFC. Costa had a number of excuses for the bad performance, however, at the end of the day he lost.

Now, Costa will look to seek a little redemption. There’s going to be some heat on this fight and Costa needs to show everyone that he’s still one of the best in the UFC. Whoever wins this one will be right back in the title picture.

UFC: Dana White blasts Paulo Costa for demanding more money

UFC, Dana White

Last week we learned that Paulo Costa (13-1) had withdrawn from his UFC main event in August. Costa was set to take on Jared Cannonier. The fight would have been Costa’s first since his failed attempt to become middleweight champion at UFC 253.

The initial reasons for Costa’s withdraw were unknown. This was the second straight main event spot that Costa had withdrawn from. Back in April, Costa withdrew from a main event against former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. That time, Costa had the flu which is why he had to withdraw from the fight.

However, this time was something completely different. Costa took to Twitter where he voiced some current frustrations with the UFC. The former middleweight title challenger said he never signed a contract for his August fight and he expects more money if they want him to fight.

These comments were brought to UFC president Dana White this week by TSN. In an interview with TSN. White spoke openly about Costa’s recent remarks and he didn’t hold anything back in regards to Paulo Costa.

UFC Fighter Pay Issue

White told TSN, “Guess what, you (Costa) should’ve started a YouTube channel when you were f**king 13 years old and built your name up. But guess what, you didn’t. You’re not a f**king YouTuber, you’re a fighter. You’re in no position to be talking about crazy money after your last performance.”

Of course, White is referencing Costa’s UFC 253 performance as well as the Paul brothers with that comment. Costa knows the Paul brothers and he’s trained with Logan Paul. Logan Paul made an estimated $20 million for his boxing exhibition against Floyd Mayweather Sunday night.

I think the majority of people would like to see UFC fighters make more money. Jon Jones has been one of the athletes who’s been the most vocal in regards to demanding more money from the promotion.

Now, I can also see the UFC’s side of things. The UFC’s stance is that fighters sign a contract and they have no obligation to pay more than the contract states. Usually, the promotion pays more than the listed pay, but some fighters still believe that the number is far too low.

Paulo Costa is one of those fighters. Now, in this case, I have to side with Dana White. In reality, Paulo Costa is in no position to demand more money from the UFC. His last performance was atrocious and he’s not a massive draw. Jon Jones has an argument, Paulo Costa simply does not.

Ultimately, I think Costa will take a fight with the UFC in the next few months once things settle down. However, I guarantee that he’s not going to see a bump in his pay for his next fight.

UFC: Kelvin Gastelum steps in for Paulo Costa to take on Jared Cannonier

The highly anticipated UFC main event between Paulo Costa (13-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5) is off. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that Costa has withdrawn from the main event that is currently scheduled for August 21st.

This is the second straight UFC main event that Costa has withdrawn from. Costa was originally supposed to fight former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker back in April. However, an illness forced him to withdraw from that matchup.

Kelvin Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) stepped in for Costa to take on the former UFC champion. Now, Gastelum will be replacing Costa once again. Okamoto reported that Kelvin Gastelum has already accepted the fight and will be taking on Jared Cannonier on August 21st.

New UFC Main Event

This is a big opportunity for the former UFC Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum. As mentioned, the last time we saw Gastelum was back in April when he lost to Robert Whittaker. That loss dropped Gastelum to 1-4 in his last five fights. Granted, he was coming off of a good win against Ian Heinisch when he fought Whittaker.

For years, Kelvin Gastelum struggled to make the UFC’s welterweight limit. After multiple failed attempts to make 170, Gastelum moved up to middleweight. He rose to the top of the division and on the heels of a knockout over former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, Gastelum earned himself a title shot.

Gastelum fought Israel Adesanya for the interim middleweight title and came up short. After that loss, Gastelum lost two more to bring his UFC losing streak to three. He snapped that earlier this year. Gastelum needs a win over one of the top guys in the division to prove he’s still one of the best.

Fighting Jared Cannonier gives him the chance to do that. Like Gastelum, Cannonier is coming off of a loss to Robert Whittaker. That loss was Cannonier’s first loss in the UFC’s middleweight division. Prior to that loss, Cannonier was 3-0 with three TKOs to start his middleweight career. While it’s not the main event we thought we’d get, this should be a fantastic matchup on August 21st.