Israel Adesanya defends his UFC middleweight belt against Paulo Costa on Saturday night as the organization returns to Fight Island.
It’s hard to remember a title fight that garnered so much attention or genuine intrigue among members of the MMA community as the battle to determine the king of the 185lbs division draws closer.
“The Last Stylebender” and Costa appear to share a genuine dislike outside of the Octagon, although it looks like respect will be shared between the two contestants after their chance meeting in Abu Dhabi.
What makes the fight more interesting, however, is the fact that both men are undefeated in MMA, possess incredible punching abilities, and neither has ever attempted a UFC withdrawal.
However, Adesanya tasted defeat during his kickboxing career and was even cold knocked out.
In his last appearance, the New Zealander was knocked out by Alex Pereira while fighting on Glory of Heroes 7, in 2017.
The Brazilian actually beat Adesanya in 2016 at the first Glory of Heroes show in China, but it had to be an emphatic repeat leaving the 31-year-old on deck.
The left hook that Pereira can be seen dropping him with in the footage above is eerily similar to the shot Costa used to knock Yoel Romero down in their epic middleweight clash at UFC 241.
A back-and-forth for the ages, ‘Borrachinha’ took the fight against the Cuban in a way never seen before and knocked the veteran down in the first round with a short left hand.
The speed and precision of the punch was incredible considering the Brazilian’s size, but he too found himself on the canvas moments later when the “ Soldier of God ” retaliated with a right uppercut from its believed.
Although Adesanya has vowed to stop the 13-0 challenger, monitoring Costa’s considerable power while also finding a way to test his granite chin is no easy feat.