UFC: Marvin Vettori (-185) Vs Paulo Costa $$
This fight has quickly deteriorated into a shit show. In an act of complete defiance and unprofessionalism, Paulo Costa showed to UFC Apex up and didn’t even try to make weight. This fight has been moved to the UFC Light Heavyweight, 20 pounds heavier than originally scheduled. I watched the weigh-in and Paulo looked absolutely ripped even at 205. My take is that he knew he was never again going to fight at Middleweight again or beat Adesanya so he thought he would just cheat his way to a victory.
To me, I serious have to question Costa’s mental stability. In the pre-fight interviews, he looked completely nonchalant about his lack of professionalism. This is the same guy who gave an endless list of lame excuses about losing his last fight including drinking a bottle of wine and being hung over for the title fight against Adesanya. UFC fighters are a rare breed and it is not uncommon for fighters to occasionally to their grip on reality. I have called out a few fighters in the past for the same thing, including Conner McGregor.
For all these reasons and more, I cannot in good conscience bet on someone in this condition. In order to be successful in this cut throat realm, you need to be laser focused or you risk some pretty serious dire consequences. Lack of focus leaves the door open to a wide range of potentially bad scenarios of which only one needs to happen in order to have a very bad night.
Getting to a more technical break down of this fight, I was leaning towards Vettori as my pick even before any of this controversy began. Marvin is the superior grappler, he holds a substantial advantage on the ground, and his conditioning is unmatched be anyone in the middleweight division.
Where Costa holds the advantage is in the power and striking department and I imagine he will be looking to land his power shots early and often attempting to get a finish in the first or second round. This is his best path to victory for Costa and if it were to play out this way, not many people would be surprised.
But looking again at Costa, he is heavily muscle bound and is potentially at risk for gassing out before the end of this fight which is scheduled for 5 rounds. Costa has only a single fight in his entire career that even made it into the third round. In contrast, Vettori just survived a five round battle with Adesanya and has a proven track record in championship rounds with all three of his most recent fights going the full 25 minutes.
Vettori may need to survive a flurry of attacks in round one, but the longer this fight goes the better his chances become. I see Marvin getting a third or fourth round choke after Paulo gasses out and gives up his back.