MMA fans have plenty of reasons to feel excited about the event titled UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2. It’s on the program this coming Saturday at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The headliner bout is the most important fight of the entire event, which is why we covered it in our Usman vs Edwards preview. In this post, however, we’re going to focus on the co-main event of UFC 278, which is the middleweight clash between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold.
It’s no surprise the UFC promoters have made this fight the co-main event as it’s a matchup between two legends of the welterweight division. Paulo “The Eraser” Costa is 13-2 in his pro career with just one loss in the UFC Middleweight division – it happened against Israel Adesanya in a title fight two years ago.
Luke Rockhold (16-5), on the other hand, is a former champion who won the title after demolishing Chris Weidman in 2015. Unfortunately for him, Michael Bisping took the title away from him next year, thanks to a KO that came as a result of what many think was a lucky punch.
Since then, Rockhold has had another shot at the title but ended up KO-ed again. It happened against Yoel Romero in 2018. Since then, he’s fought just one more UFC fight. It was in June 2019 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. More than three years later, Rockhold is coming back to the octagon to try and make himself relevant again. Will he make his plans come true? Read our Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold preview to see what we think!
Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold UFC 278 Odds
All odds are per FanDuel as of August 16.
Paulo Costa-340Luke Rockhold+250
Where and When to Watch
Date: Saturday, August 20Location: Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, UtahWatch: ESPN+, PPV
Paulo Costa Ready to Erase His Rival
The Eraser is coming to Utah determined to end his two-fight losing streak. It started in 2020 when Israel Adesanya beat him in a title bout, thus ending Costa’s superb run of 13 wins in a row. A year later, Costa returned, but this time in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. He made his debut against Marvin Vettori but ended up losing by decision.
Fast-forward to August 2022, and his back in his natural weight class. As a middleweight fighter, Costa has already achieved a lot, with his biggest achievement being the win over Yoel Romero in 2019. It was a breathtaking battle that saw the two of them throwing heavy punches at each other for 15 minutes. The fight lasted until the final bell, after which the judges voted in Costa’s favor.
It was his last win, but three years later, he looks ready to triumph again. He’s more experienced than before having fought two fights in which he was a huge underdog each time. This Saturday, however, Costa is seen as the favorite in the fight against the former champ. One of the reasons behind this is that Rockhold hasn’t fought in more than three years.
Rockhold’s First Fight Since 2019
Back in the day, Rockhold was one of the best fighters in the UFC. He was the UFC Middleweight champion in 2015, but since then, his status has diminished. In 2022, he’s best known as the former boyfriend of Demi Lovato. The reason for this is that he hasn’t been inside the octagon for more than three years.
In fact, the last time he fought a professional UFC fight was in July 2019, when he made his UFC Light Heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz. It wasn’t a successful debut – the Polish fighter KO-ed him in the second minute of the second round.
It was the second time in a row that we saw Rockhold get knocked out. Before Blachowicz, it was Romero who did it in the fight for the UFC Middleweight title.
Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold Prediction
When it comes to their fighting skills, these two are very similar fighters. However, when it comes to form and shape, it’s Costa who’s much superior. We think the Brazilian fighter is bigger, faster, and stronger than his opponent, which should be the key factor on Saturday.
Pick: Paulo Costa by KO/TKO