A couple of the best middleweights around Earth are set to clash in a long-awaited bout later this spring, and I will 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 battle at the main event of UFC on ESPN 3, which 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’s likely the winner of this bout could be next in line for a crack in the UFC middleweight title currently held by Robert Whittaker, that fights Kelvin Gastelum in UFC 234 in early February. (Although we need to maintain Israel Adesanya in that dialog too ).
Romero (13-3) is 41-years older, but you would not know it. He is in amazing physical condition and is fighting an extremely high level. The Cuban wrestling senstation is 9-2 overall from 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 overall of his wins have come by knockout. He has only been stopped once in his entire career, by Rafael”Feijao” Cavalcante back in Strikeforce, also at the UFC he’s only lost two, both razor-thin choices to Whittaker. In many ways it is fair to consider Romero the second-best middleweight in the world behind the Australian winner. However, with just two reductions to Whittaker, Romero is at precisely the same spot as somebody like Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson at welterweight. With different contenders in the mix, Romero should keep active and keep winning struggles in order to maybe get a third title fight from the Whittaker vs. Gastelum winner.
Costa (12-0) is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC and all his career victories have come by knockout or entry, such as brutal knockouts over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall in his last two bouts. The Brazilian has been labeled the upcoming big thing by many fans and media, but so far he’s still very unproven against the top echelon of this UFC middleweight division. At just 27, he’s right in his prime and proceeds to show an improved skill-set each time we see him inside the Octagon. No doubt he has looked great against lesser opposition, and when he looks great against Romero and gets the win he will be in an enviable position in regards to the middleweight title taken pecking order.
This is a great fight, and also the fact it’s place for five rounds makes it even better. As far as that I prefer, I think you have to label Romero as the favorite only based on everything he’s accomplished up to now from the Octagon. And of course that when this struggle was initially reserved for UFC 230, Romero was initially pegged as the gaming preferred ahead of the line was taken down. Costa has definitely looked great recently, however, and he’s got a 14-year age advantage in this fight, but till we see him really beat a top man it’s difficult to say he should be preferred over any of them. Regardless of who wins the fight, this should be a fun matchup and it is the perfect main event for the Hispanic crowd in Miami.
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