A couple of the best middleweights around Earth are set to clash in a long-awaited bout later this spring, and now I’ll give my initial thoughts on the matchup in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa, UFC on ESPN 3
Top-ranked middleweights Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa will clash in the Primary event of UFC on ESPN 3, that is set for April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout was first reported by Combate. It will be a five-round fight, it is likely the winner of this bout could be next in line to get a crack in the UFC middleweight title currently held by Robert Whittaker, that fights Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to maintain Israel Adesanya in that dialog as well).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years old, but you would not know it. He is in amazing physical condition and is fighting at an extremely high level. The Cuban wrestling senstation is 9-2 overall in the UFC, with wins over the likes of Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Ronaldo”Jacare” Souza, Lyoto Machida, Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson. Seven of his UFC victories have come by knockout, and 11 total of his wins have come by knockout. He has only been stopped once in his entire career, by Rafael”Feijao” Cavalcante back in Strikeforce, and in the UFC he’s only lost twice, both razor-thin decisions to Whittaker. In a lot of ways it’s reasonable to consider Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind the Australian champion. However, with two losses to Whittaker, Romero is in the exact same place as someone like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. With other contenders in the mix, Romero needs to keep busy and keep winning struggles so as to maybe get a third name fight from the Whittaker vs. Gastelum winner.
Costa (12-0) is a perfect 4-0 at the UFC and all of his career victories have come by knockout or submission, including brutal knockouts over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall in his last two bouts. The Brazilian has been labeled the next big thing by many fans and press, but so far he is still very unproven against the top echelon of this UFC middleweight division. At just 27, he is correct in his prime and proceeds to demonstrate a better skill-set each time we see him inside the Octagon. No doubt he has looked fantastic against lesser opposition, and if he looks great against Romero and has the win he will be in an enviable position in regards to the middleweight title shot pecking order.
This is a superb fight, and also the fact it is place for five rounds makes it better. As far as that I prefer, I think you have to label Romero as the favored only based on everything he has accomplished so far in the Octagon. Not to mention that when this struggle was initially booked for UFC 230, Romero was originally pegged as the gaming preferred before the line was shot down. Costa has definitely looked great lately, though, and he has a 14-year age advantage in this struggle, but till we see him actually beat a top guy it is hard to say he should be favored over any of these. Regardless of who wins the fight, this should be an entertaining matchup and it is the perfect main occasion for the Hispanic audience in Miami.
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