As UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya prepares for his March 6th light heavyweight title fight vs. Jan Blachowicz, two of the top contenders in the division will reportedly meet in the spring.
Sherdog first reported on Monday that former champion Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa are lined up for a five-round main event of a UFC Fight Night card on April 17th. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed with UFC officials that this fight is a done deal. An interim title will apparently not be at stake.
Whittaker (22-5) is on a two-fight winning streak after getting dominated and losing his title to Israel Adesanya back in October 2019. He edged out Darren Till by unanimous decision in July and followed that up with a unanimous decision over Jared Cannonier in October. Whittaker won the interim title against Yoel Romero before getting promoted to full champion following Georges St-Pierre’s abdication of the belt. Unfortunately, his subsequent rematch with Romero does not count as a defense because Yoel missed weight.
Costa (13-1) saw his undefeated record go up in smoke after Adesanya thoroughly dismantled him at UFC 253 last September. The heated back-and-forth between the two pre-fight turned into a laugher inside the Octagon. His notable wins leading up to his title shot included a thriller vs. Yoel Romero, a TKO vs. Uriah Hall, and a TKO of former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
No other fights have been linked to the April 17th show, which is tentatively set for the Apex facility in Las Vegas.