It is Wednesday my dudes (& lady dudes), and that means we are three short days away from the most anticipated card the UFC has put together in 2019. This is one of the deepest cards in recent memory, as we see former title contender Yoel Romero face off against hot prospect Paulo Costa as the third affair of the night.
Stylistically, this matchup is one that is sure to deliver as both guys have the power to end the fight with one shot. But it leaves me to wonder, is Paulo Costa ready for a fighter of Yoel Romero's caliber? We are talking about a man who went toe to toe with current Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, and in my opinion, won (I was in attendance that night and it was glorious). Romero has knockout wins over former champions in Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, and Lyoto Machida. Romero has battled at the top of the division for quite some time, and most often comes out on top. Paulo Costa just simply not been in there with anyone near Romero's skill level yet.
Costa is coming off a TKO victory over Uriah Hall last July and is currently undefeated in his career. In his most recent fight with Hall, we saw him having some trouble with Hall's jab before controlling the pace, and finishing the fight with punches. Uriah Hall was not/is not a top-five opponent in the UFC, Romero is. It feels like the UFC is feeding Costa to the wolves a bit too early, and I would've liked to see him go the route that Stylebender went. Build him up, climb the ranks, then test him against the top of the division. This just feels like a mismatch; Costa has not shown in any way that he is ready for a fighter like Yoel Romero. Let us not forget what Romero brings to the table... elite wrestling ability, a hell of a chin, five-round war experience, unpredictability, and knockout power.
I don't mean to be hypercritical, this is going to be a fun fight to watch. I just think it is a mismatch, and I would hate to see a talented prospect like Costa get rushed into fights he is not ready for (insert Aaron Pico here). I hope Costa can make me eat my words because seeing him square off against either Stylebender or Whittaker would be a proper good time if he is able to finish Romero this Saturday.
My Prediction: Costa pressures Romero throughout the first, gasses out, and Romero puts him away early in the second or third round.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comment section below.
Featured Photo: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting