UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes his UFC 253 opponent Paulo Costa is a “tailor-made” opponent for him.
Adesanya gave one of his more recent breakdowns of this matchup in an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. He shared his belief that Costa’s aggressive, forward-marching style will play perfectly into his hands.
“This is one of those fights that’s just tailor-made for me,” Adesanya said. “He thinks he’s just going to walk me down and that’s it. I implore him to try to do that, I implore him to keep that same energy, because he’s going to be in for a rude awakening before he wakes up on the floor.”
Costa is famous for his aggression in the cage, but also also shown some impressive durability, particularly in his 2019 win over the brick-fisted Yoel Romero. Despite the Brazilian’s sturdiness, Adesanya believes it’s possible he’ll be able to put his foe away early, once again emphasizing that Costa’s pressure will make him an easy target.
“I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly,” he said. “He’s going to try stalk pretty quickly, and I’ll be like ‘cool, alright, let’s go.’ Also, if he manages to survive the first few rounds—the first one and two rounds—I’m pretty sure by round two he’ll be gassed. It’s easy to knock someone out when they’re really tired.
“Everyone wants to be champion, but nobody wants to do five rounds,” Adesanya added, conceding that he could also finish his foe later in the fight. “It’s one of those things that everyone thinks it’s easy to do. ‘I want to be champ.’ But five rounds is no joke. I’ll probably stop him later on, but I can see him running into something early on, or me running my knee into his face.”
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