Israel Adesanya will have his first title defense against Paulo Costa this March in Las Vegas.
Sources told BJPENN.com the two camps are in preliminary talks and a date has been agreed upon. The UFC flew Paulo Costa out to Australia to watch the fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, where following the fight they started negotiations.
Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa have a massive rivalry and the two have continued to trade shots at one another following UFC 243. ‘The Last Stylebender’ had previously accused the Brazilian knockout artist of using steroids, while Costa criticized Adesanya for his recent performances and promised to knock him out.
Following his win over Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa told BJPENN.com that he plans on killing Israel Adesanya when the two fight. He also called the Kiwi a fake champion in the lead up to the Whittaker fight.
Israel Adesanya is 18-0 as a pro including being 7-0 in the UFC. On Saturday, he TKO’d Robert Whittaker in the second round to become the UFC’s middleweight champion.
In his most previous effort, Adesanya scored a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in what was considered to be the ‘fight of the year’. The win made him the interim middleweight champion. In the fight before that, ‘Stylebender’ beat Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 234. He also holds a TKO win over Derek Brunson, and wins over Brad Tavares, Marvin Vettori, and Rob Wilkinson respectively.
Paulo Costa, meanwhile, is coming off of a very impressive win over Yoel Romero at UFC 241. The Brazilian is 13-0 and 5-0 in the UFC with notable wins over Uriah Hall and Johnny Hendricks.
Right now, no contracts have been sent out, but all signs point to the fight taking place in March in Las Vegas. The fight would no doubt be a massive one as Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa not only have beef, but also sport undefeated records.
Who do you think will emerge victorious when Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa throw down? Sound off in the comments section Penn Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/7/2019.