Adesanya, Costa nearly come to blows during weigh-in - GulfToday

Adesanya, Costa nearly come to blows during weigh-in


The middleweight title is on the line in UFC 253 Fight Island’s main event as undefeated, undisputed reigning champion Israel Adesanya puts the belt on the line against unbeaten Brazilian contender Paulo Costa in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Courtesy: UFC Twitter

After months of back-and-forth trash talk, Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa had one more heated exchange ahead of their main event clash on Sunday.

Adesanya defends his middleweight title against Costa in the UFC 253 headliner in Abu Dhabi and the two squared off after Friday’s weigh-ins, according to a MMA report.

Seemingly mocking Adesanya’s grappling skills, Costa pulled out a white belt and tossed it at Adesanya, prompting Adesanya to toss it right back. That gesture kicked off a brief scuffle that was quickly broken up before the fighters could reach each other, the report further added.

At a press conference on Thursday, Costa scoffed when Adesanya suggested he could submit Costa, a jiu-jitsu black belt.

“I’ll berimbolo you if I wanted to,” Adesanya said. “I’ll grab your collar right now and put you in a bow-and-arrow.”

“You never put a gi on your skinny body,” Costa replied.

“Talk about jiu-jitsu with me. You’re crazy.” Adesanya and Costa are both more well-known for their elite striking skills, but they’ll have 25 minutes on Sunday to show everything they have to offer and settle their grudge.

In his first 25 months on the UFC roster, Adesanya went 8-0 inside the Octagon, winning the interim middleweight title in one of 2019’s best fights opposite Kelvin Gastelum before unifying the belts with a second-round finish of Robert Whittaker last October. In his first title defense, “The Last Stylebender” edged out Yoel Romero in a tactical chess match that allowed the Nigerian-born New Zealander to maintain his place atop the division.

Costa is a perfect 5-0 inside the Octagon and 13-0 overall, with his Fight of the Night-winning victory over Romero at UFC 241 last summer standing as the lone time he’s gone the distance in his career. The aggressive contender earned stoppage victories over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall prior to his clash with Romero but has been sidelined ever since after dealing with a torn biceps and various additional injuries and ailments.

Any time two undefeated fighters clash with championship gold hanging in the balance, you know you’re getting a matchup between two elite competitors and this one is no different. What ups the ante, however, is the genuine contempt and animosity that exists between these two, who have been trading barbs and boastful predictions on social media since Adesanya dispatched Whittaker to stand alone as the one true ruler of the middleweight ranks.

Stylistically, this has the potential to be electric as Costa is an aggressive striker who will look to pressure the champion, which should give the sublime counter-striker Adesanya an opportunity to utilize his complete offensive arsenal on Sunday.

This one could end suddenly in the first round, be a protracted battle like Adesanya’s fight against Gastelum and Costa’s war with Romero, or land somewhere in between. The only thing that is certain is that everyone is already counting down the hours until these two hit the Octagon and will be on the edge of their seats from the moment the challenger starts to make his walk to the UFC cage on Sunday.

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