UFC dream fights vol.5: Israel Adesanya v Paulo Costa

By Peter Hanson 2 April 2020 26
UFC dream fights vol.5: Israel Adesanya v Paulo Costa

Somebody's '0' would have to go in a fight where there would be little love lost between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.

The battle for middleweight supremacy would be on the line in a bout where egos would be as bruised as bodies and an unbeaten MMA record would be consigned to the scrapheap.

Adesanya, the division's champion, has spoken of chasing big-money fights with Jon Jones and even Conor McGregor.

But for now the Nigeria-born New Zealander has a score to settle with Costa and fight fans would undoubtedly relish the prospect of these two mixing it in the Octagon.

In the fifth edition of our UFC dream fights we would love to see series, we have profiled Adesanya and Costa in closer detail.


WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

Because these guys have been on a collision course for some time and only a biceps injury sustained by Costa has made us wait this long.

Jibes have already been thrown back and forth, with Costa accusing Adesanya of ducking the challenge of light-heavyweight king Jones.

Adesanya's kick-boxing brilliance and Costa's pressure fighting would make this a fight of real intrigue.


GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

Adesanya became the UFC's interim middleweight champion with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in a classic a year ago. He then defeated the legendary Robert Whittaker in October with a stunning knockout to unify the division.

Each of Costa's first four fight wins in a UFC ring came via way of KO/TKO and he defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision in August.


WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

Adesanya: 19-0-0

Costa: 13-0-0


TALE OF THE TAPE

Adesanya:

Age: 30
Height: 6'4" (193cm)
Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
Reach: 80"
Leg reach: 44"

Costa:

Age: 28
Height: 6'1" (185cm)
Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
Reach: 72"
Leg reach: 39"


WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

"He's [Costa] a guy that I don't have to poke that much, I don't have to prod," Adesanya told ESPN. "I'm going to have fun with the press conference with this one. I'm going to have fun with the lead-up. I'm going to have fun with poking the bear."

"Against Adesanya, it's personal," Costa said in quotes reported by MMA Junkie this month. "It's not just to fight for the belt or the money or something like this. No, it's personal."


FIGHT STATS IN UFC

Adesanya:

- Adesanya has connected with 503 of his 1,032 attempted significant strikes, a success rate of 49 per cent.

- Of his successful strikes, 88 per cent have come from a standing position.

- On the defensive side, Adesanya has guarded against 87 per cent of takedown attempts.

- He has also seen off 66 per cent of strikes against him.

Costa:

- Costa has landed 307 of his 531 attempted significant strikes, giving him a success rate of 58 per cent.

- As with Adesanya, Costa tends to strike from a standing position - with 82 per cent coming via that method.

- He has successfully blocked 80 per cent of takedown attempts against him.

- Costa has also thwarted 54 per cent of strikes from his opponents.

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Peter Hanson

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