Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa will finally lock horns inside the octagon in the main event of UFC 253 for the undisputed UFC Middleweight Championship. As we buildup towards one of the most anticipated bouts in the UFC Middleweight history, a question that a lot of fans will have in their mind is can Israel Adesanya continue his dominant run and finish the fight against Paulo Costa?
Israel Adesanya shocked the world when he knocked out Robert Whittaker to pick up the UFC Middleweight gold at UFC 243 in October of 2019. However, after a lackluster performance against Yoel Romero back at UFC 248, Israel Adesanya feels he has a lot to prove in his next fight and he would do so by knocking out Paulo Costa inside the octagon come UFC 253.
Paulo Costa's physique is huge for a middleweight fighter and boasts an incredible resume with notable victories over Johnny Hendricks, Uriah Hall, and Yoel Romero. Costa is a knockout artist with solid power in his hands. He likes to pressure his opponents and has a strong chin to complement his fighting style.
Despite a solid striking game, Israel Adesanya did not look too impressed by Costa's kickboxing. Adesanya claimed that he has faced better strikers than Costa and he would triumph when they come face to face at UFC 253.
“Even in kickboxing, he’s not one of the best,” he said about Costa. “I’ve faced way better strikers. That’s not even close. He’s definitely not the best fighter. I think [Anderson] Silva is a better striker than him, [Robert] Whittaker is a different striker than him but can be better."
Israel Adesanya can finish the fight against Paulo Costa
Israel Adesanya is one of the best technical fighters in UFC. He is quick on his feet and has a credible kickboxing resume to compliment his striking game. Additionally, Adesanya is a solid counter striker as seen in his performance against Robert Whittaker. The current Champion was able to counter an advancing Whittaker to pick up a brutal TKO win and grab the Middleweight title.
If we look at Paulo Costa, he likes to advance and throw punches at his opponents as seen during his three-round war with former title contender Yoel Romero back at UFC 241. Costa walked into Romero's punching zone and paid a heavy price in the latter rounds of the fight. Romero finished strong with more significant strikes on Costa in the third round, but the former lost the fight via split decision.
Israel Adesanya will look to exploit Costa's attacking striking game with his solid counter-punching and could end up being the first fighter to knockout Paulo Costa. Adesanya came close to becoming the first fighter to finish Kelvin Gastelum as both the fighters engaged in a Fight of the Year outing for the interim gold back in April of 2019.
Kelvin Gastelum took to Twitter and heaped praise on Adesanya and said he considers the current Middleweight Champion to be the toughest opponent he has faced in his MMA career.
Israel Adesanya was able to survive Gastelum's barrage in the first few rounds and eventually finished the fight with brutal ground and pound to mark the bell of the final round.
Adesanya's performance against both Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker is a testimony to his solid striking game.
If Adesanya can exploit similar situations during the upcoming title fight, there's a reason to believe that he could become the first fighter to finish Paulo Costa come UFC 253.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.Published 14 Sep 2020, 09:10 IST