Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight scrappers Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Oct. 23, 2021) at UFC Vegas 41 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevertheless, it’s a bad night at the office when one spends months talking trash and building up hype only to get smoked in the actual contest. Such was the situation for both halves of tonight’s main event, as the pair of brash Middleweights talked a huge game only to be shutdown by Israel Adesanya in a clear-cut manner. That does not mean, however, that these two are done or were never any good. Costa was on the fast track to stardom ahead of his first career loss, while Vettori has picked up some top-notch wins well before hitting the age of 30.
These are still highly talented contenders, so let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Yoel Romero (UFC 241), Uriah Hall (UFC 226), Johny Hendricks (UFC 217), Oluwale Bamgbose (UFC 212)
Key Losses: Israel Adesanya (UFC 253)
Keys to Victory: Costa greatly enjoys being a bully inside the Octagon. Stalking his opponents into the fence while flexing menacingly, the Brazilian seeks to break foes by battering them with extended combinations and working the mid-section.
Costa has fought quite a few Southpaws inside the Octagon, and he’s shown he understands the necessary adjustments. I’m always a fan when fighters attack the body, and in this match up, Costa’s right kick — which is always quite nice — will be lined up to rip into the ribs of Vettori. Use it!
Both men are accustomed to, and therefore better when, fighting from their front foot. In all likelihood, the man able to control cage position and walk his foe down will be the athlete dictating the exchanges and landing cleaner blows. In order to ensure Costa is that man, the Brazilian needs to put together his combinations and extend the trades longer than Vettori likes.
The Italian likes to fire a one-two combination then leave or wrestle; Costa should be answer with punches in bunches then chasing Vettori as he tries to exit.
Key Wins: Jack Hermansson (UFC Vegas 16), Kevin Holland (UFC Vegas 23), Karl Roberson (UFC on ESPN 10), Cezar Ferreira (UFC Fight Night 155), Andrew Sanchez (UFC Fight Night 161)
Key Losses: Israel Adesanya (UFC 263, UFC on FOX 29), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC 207)
Keys to Victory: Like his opponent, “The Italian Dream” is a bruised who looks to break opponents down. He’s a bit more measured in his approach than Costa, relying on a sharp left hand and well-timed takedowns to implement his physical strength.
As explained above, Vettori does not want to get backed up at all, especially not in the small UFC Apex cage. For the Italian, there are two primary strategies he can employ to make sure Costa is the man hesitating a bit and more likely to back off from exchanges.
First and foremost, Vettori should be looking to duck under Costa’s swings and enter on takedowns. Costa has yet to face a truly consistent offensive wrestler, and he’s prone to wildness. A well-timed shot could earn Vettori a round and a rest, whereas Costa will be forced to expend a ton of energy scrambling up beneath the grappler.
Secondly, Vettori has to angle off with his left hand. If he’s able to win the foot battle and score an outside angle before crashing forward with his left, it will leave Costa in really poor position to trade. As a result, Costa will be forced to choose: back off and reset or risk getting clipped hard while firing across his own body.
Either choice benefits Vettori.
At least one Middleweight will return to the title mix once the dust settles; unfortunately, we just aren’t sure if — win or lose — that it will be Costa.
Costa has been the butt of many jokes since his “Stylebender” loss, and sure, that’s entirely his fault due to his wine-ing. The memory of fight fans is short, however, and a big rebound win would do well to remind the community that Costa is an electric finisher and one of Brazil’s best chances at UFC gold. It will take more than one win for Costa to get a second showdown with Adesanya — especially after this weight-related debacle — but if the title were to change hands, he’d be right back on the shortlist for a potential title shot.
Similarly, Vettori’s default mood of angry and delusional earns him a fair bit of mockery, but the 28 year old is an excellent fighter. He has a chance to score the biggest win of his professional career here, and while earning a third fight versus Adesanya is a very tall task, smacking down Costa would be a major step in the right direction.
At UFC Vegas 41, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori will throw down in the main event. Which man remains standing when the dust settles?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 41 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.
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