Middleweight contender Paulo Costa is ready to silence the critics at UFC 278.
Following some underwhelming performances, as well as badly missing weight in his last outing, the Brazilian intends to show a more serious approach for his next fight. Paired up against former champion Luke Rockhold, ‘Borrachinha’ bets on an impressive win to show the world he is back.
In an interview with Super Lutas, Costa analyzed his opponent’s skillset and revealed the strategy he intends to follow on Saturday. According to Paulo, Rockhold will not be able to handle his pressure and power shots, which makes the Brazilian predict a finish before the third round.
“He has his strong suits and his weaknesses, like everyone else. His strong suit is his kick with the rear leg and his cross with the front hand. He’s also been trying to take people down. We saw him try to do it against Jan Blachowicz and David Branch. We know his ability to take a shot has become very weak. He can’t handle it when someone shortens the distance against him, pressures him against the cage and throws shots. I think that’s the way to go.”
“I don’t think the fight will get to the third round.” Costa said, “I don’t know how his preparation is going, his conditioning. That matters a lot. He’s going to have to be a real man to take three rounds of pure pressure. I don’t think he can take it.”
Feelling confident ahead of the fight, Borrachinha claims he had one of the greatest training camps of his career and hopes to show it at UFC 278. According to the Brazilian, an injury-free preparation period and a new addition to his team are the main reasons behind his confidence.
“I learned about the Rockhold fight two months ago, but I’ve been training to change my style, to be nimbler, since December of last year. I’ve been training with Kelson Pinto, he’s a boxing phenom. Not many people know him, but they should. Kelson has changed my life as an athlete. I haven’t had any injuries during this camp. Normally, I’d have, two, three or four. I don’t even know how to deal with that. There’s no wear, I don’t feel it in my muscles. We finished the camp really well. Normally, I’d finish it exhausted, injured. My weight is really low, too.”
In his most recent outing, Costa (13-2) dropped a unanimous decision to Marvin Vettori, back in October 2021. The defeat put the 31-year-old on a two-fight skid, following a TKO loss to Israel Adesanya in September 2020. Before that, the Brazilian was on a five-fight winning streak in the Octagons, with victories over notables names such as Yoel Romero and Johny Hendricks.
Now, Costa is expected to face Rockhold at UFC 278, on August 20, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a rematch for the welterweight title fight between the champion, Kamaru Usman and challenger Leon Edwards.