Yoel Romero against Paulo Costa really is a battle of the brawn, as two of the most ripped fighters you’ll ever see step into the Octagon at California’s Honda Center.
This fight finally goes ahead nine months after it was first due to feature at UFC 230 last November, and it could be a memorable one well worth the wait. Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa puts his undefeated record on the line against the dangerous Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero, who’s been out of action for over a year after listening to doctors’ orders following his last fight against Robert Whittaker.
Fight to finish inside the distance
That bruising, back-and-forth encounter was Romero’s second defeat to reigning middleweight champ Whittaker in his last three fights, ending a run of eight straight victories. The Solider of God did knock out Luke Rockhold in between those losses though, while the Cuban also received a massive $27m payout following a lawsuit against a company that supplied him with a supplement containing a banned substance, which wasn’t listed on the ingredients. It’s safe to say Romero is no longer fighting for the money, but it remains to be seen whether that has any impact on his preparations for this bout.
Yoel Romero to win by knockout
At the age of 42, it could even be the case that Romero views this as his last fight. A victory may see him back in the frame for a title shot, but even if his defeats to Whittaker were both closely fought, they remain as two losses. Costa on the other hand is aiming for his first title fight, and this is very much a case of youth against experience. Physically though, Romero still looks as much of a monster as he did in his early 30s, and he shows few signs of slowing down. Costa meanwhile is on the up though after winning all 12 of his MMA fights, including four in the UFC.
Yoel Romero to win by submission
Both of these men have major points to prove. Costa has to take out fighters like Romero if he wants to ascend to the top of the middleweight rankings, while the elder statesman is looking to show it’s not his time to step aside just yet. Expect some heavy, heavy hands, with Romero not afraid to take the fight to the ground either. Costa has shown he possesses ruthless power, and Romero may actively attempt to utilise his wrestling pedigree to force a submission. The Eraser has an 82% takedown defence though, and he’ll be trying to impose his high intensity style on the older man. Romero has only ever been knocked out once eight years ago, so Costa may target a points victory on the back of a high work rate as his way to success.
Paulo Costa to win on points
Yoel Romero to win the fight
Even though Romero is quite a strong favourite with most of the best betting sites, this fight is tougher to call than it may appear. Costa has fearsome power in his fists, as he’s shown with four straight TKO via punches victories in his first four UFC bouts. However, Romero is an old hand who’s still in stunning shape. The Soldier of God is looking for one last tilt at middleweight gold, making this a must-win fight for the Cuban. He has the heavy hands and wrestling skills to see off the challenge of the young upstart, who has plenty of time to come again. It’s likely to be a brutal, bruising encounter and it could be real highlight on this stacked card.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams