Israel Adesanya unified the middleweight titles last night by knocking out Robert Whittaker in the UFC 243 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on ESPN+, which took place in front of a record-breaking crowd inside Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. That means mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are stuck with his big mouth for the foreseeable future but hey, he can back it up inside the cage, so we’ll just have to sit here and take it.
Whittaker didn’t last long enough or make it competitive enough to warrant an immediate rematch, and he certainly didn’t have a long enough title reign to call for an instant do-over, either. That means Adesanya is free and clear to move on to the next available contender at 185 pounds, who as of this writing in Brazilian bruiser Paulo Costa, assuming the promotion doesn’t ignore “The Last Stylebender” and try to cash in those Jon Jones chips.
“You know who’s next,” Adesanya told the combat sports media after the fight. “I have a heavy Ricky Martin wannabe next. ‘Borrachinha.’ This is my Octagon. I’m going to smash him. I want to rearrange his face.”
It won’t take much convincing.
“I think I am the most dangerous guy in my division, the middleweight division,” Costa said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “And when I put my hands on his head, his body, he’s going to feel a lot. I feel he can die, for sure. I want this fight with all my soul. I will take his head off of this cage. He cannot handle it from me when I close the distance, and I can kill him.”
Like the undefeated Adesanya (18-0), Costa has a perfect record inside the Octagon (13-0) and proved he belongs among the top 185-pound contenders by outlasting Yoel Romero at UFC 241 last August. In fact, his wild victory over “Soldier of God” was the first time the hard-hitting Brazilian has gone to the judges’ scorecards in his combat sports career.
Working against “The Eraser” is the fact that Jones has yet to be booked for his next title defense and the towering light heavyweight pretty much cleaned out his division. More importantly, “Bones” would be a much bigger fight for the promotion in terms of revenue and let’s just say Endeavor is in a position where it needs all the cash it can get.
Despite his position in the middleweight rankings (see it here), Costa has the least amount of influence in this equation. A Whittaker fight would be fun, but I imagine “The Reaper” is more likely to battle the winner of Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till, or perhaps even Jared Cannonier or Jack Hermansson. Either way, there are plenty of options at 185 pounds.
You should not have done this! See you soon. pic.twitter.com/jxU9U71PoO— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) October 6, 2019
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