Following months of contract disputes and back-talking, a long-awaited matchup for the UFC Middleweight Title appears to be set.
Combate was the first to report that Israel Adesanya will defend his title against Paulo Costa on September 19 at UFC 253.
This fight has been a long time coming. A former kickboxing tournament winner with GLORY and King in the Ring, Adesanya (19-0) joined the UFC in 2018. He beat Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum, the latter to win the interim middleweight title. “The Last Stylebender” then faced off against UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker in Melbourne, Australia in a unification fight.
Adesanya beat Whittaker via knockout in round two, making him 7-0 in the UFC, After the fight, he pointed at Costa (13-0) to come and face him. Costa then tried to jump over the barriers between the stands and the cage, but security stopped him. Adesanya last fought at UFC 248 in March, beating Yoel Romero via unanimous decision.
Costa debuted in the UFC in 2017. Ranked second in the UFC’s middleweight rankings, Costa beat Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 241. Before that, he was suspended six months by USADA, as well as his doctor, for using prohibited IVs. It was later revealed that he tore his left biceps, delaying the bout between the two.
The fight is on folks!
In September I ll bring the Show up
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) July 18, 2020
Over the past few weeks, rumors were floating around that the two would be appearing on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, and that contracts were made for a July fight. Managers of both fighters have since given different statements regarding the matter.
According to ESPN, this will be the second time two undefeated fighters will compete for a title. The last time this happened was in 2009 when Rashad Evans fought Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.
UFC 253 is expected to take place in Las Vegas inside the UFC’s APEX Center. “Fight Island” is also an option. A rumored bout for that card is an undisputed Lightweight Title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.