Man, I really hope Paulo Costa is still on the UFC roster after this whole mess.
Objectively, cutting Costa is a fair decision. The Brazilian acted like an a—hole, impishly giggling to himself as he rejected the whole notion of cutting weight. Now, weight cutting is a stupid process deserving of disdain, but this is not the best way to protest, seeing as the main recipient of Costa’s disrespect was his opponent, Marvin Vettori.
That’s not cool, and Costa deserved both the attack on his fight purse and universal criticism cast in his direction. But, after watching last night’s main event (check out the highlights here), does anyone not want to see Costa fight inside the Octagon again? Who cares about weight classes when Costa can consistently provide dumb beefy brawls like no one else?
After all, an absurd clash of meatheads was the promised product here. Costa has quickly developed a reputation as a notorious idiot. Perhaps some of it can be written off due to the language barrier, but his social media presence is absolutely bizarre (and hilarious), and some of his trash talk crosses into the realm of the weird.
Then there’s the wine ...
Vettori is the butt of jokes and memes as well. He wore his fight shorts backwards for a photoshoot, is perpetually angry, and has several delusional views regarding Israel Adesanya. His general rage is the source of great MMA comedy.
The fight itself turned out to perfectly live up to expectations, though Vettori himself did his best to defy them, acting almost as a foil to his reputation. First and foremost, the Italian earned a ton of respect for his actions leading up to the fight, how he handled Costa’s antics. He was unexpectedly calm in processing Costa’s rudeness. Once in the cage, Vettori was smart and composed against an extremely dangerous hitter. He landed great combinations, timed some takedowns smartly, and generally stayed a step ahead of the Brazilian.
Despite this display of intelligence, Vettori was eventually forced into a hilariously dumb fight. Costa may or may not believe in Flat Earth Theory, but his dumbassery has a certain gravitational pull to it that even a 205-pound Middleweight could not resist. Vettori was able to capitalize on some silly Costa strategies, like the sweatiest guillotine guard pull of recent memory, but by the end of the fight, he had no choice but to partake in the brawl.
Without trying to bring up the dumb-equals-tough cliché, Vettori really may be too tough to die. Costa absolutely blasted him with countless over hands to the side of the head, as well as a shin straight to the ear. Vettori shrugged it off in superhuman fashion, but his resistance to body shots was even more impressive. Vettori’s mid-section absorbed gnarly hooks, uppercuts, and kicks, but the Italian never was pushed off his game plan or the pursuit of victory.
Both men contributed to one of the most unique scraps of the year, and its hard not to be entertained. The bout’s qualify doesn’t wholly excuse all the drama, but it made it far more stomachable.
For complete UFC Vegas 41: “Costa vs. Vettori” results and play-by-play, click HERE!