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Midnight Mania! Israel Adesanya backs Luke Rockhold over Paulo Costa, but warns, “wrestle him straight away”

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UFC Fight Night: Costa v Vettori Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

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Luke Rockhold may be a fairly significant underdog opposite Paulo Costa this weekend at UFC 278, but Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is backing him.

The pivotal Middleweight co-main event between Rockhold and Costa could go a long way in determining a future title challenger, so it makes sense that Adesanya is paying attention. Breaking down the match up on his YouTube channel, Adesanya emphasized the importance of wearing down Costa early with kicks and takedowns.

“Luke should take him down,” Adesanya said (via MMAJunkie). “Luke, start wrestling straight away. Costa, though, early on (is dangerous). His hips – I remember when Yoel, same thing. Yoel tried to take down Costa, and Costa had the overhook and just whizzered him and then got back up, and they smiled at each other.

“But Luke, if he can wrestle him and get him tired, wear those muscles out. Luke, try to wrestle him straight away. Do what I did: Teep his legs, establish leg kicks a little bit, but start wrestling straight away and make him tired, make him second guess. Make him know he can be taken down or there’s a threat of being taken down.”

On the flip side, Adesanya doesn’t expect much different from Costa. The Brazilian is known for his power punching and combinations, whereas Rockhold has struggled with big hitters in the latter half of his career, suffering his three most recent defeats via knockout.

“Costa, just do what he does,” Adesanya said. “Just barrage him, clip him. If he clips him, he’s probably going to drop Luke.”

“With the time off, hopefully his brain has recovered as much as it can,” Adesanya continued. “My brain goes Luke, so I’m gonna put Luke.”

We’ll find out if Adesanya’s analysis and prediction is on the money Saturday night.

LIVE! Watch UFC 279 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER WELTERWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 10, 2022, with a must-watch updated Welterweight thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, Nate Diaz now battles former top-ranked Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson, who will return to the 170-pound weight class for this last minute, upgraded assignment. Meanwhile, In UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we now get the undefeated No. 3-ranked contender, Khamzat Chimaev, opposite Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!


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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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