The opening betting odds have been released for the upcoming middleweight bout between top contenders Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa.
It was announced this week that Whittaker and Costa will meet in a five-round, non-title main event at a UFC Fight Night event scheduled for April 17. Both men had conveyed interest in an interim or vacant title fight with UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya fighting up at 205lbs in his next bout, but the promotion decided to just make it a non-title five-rounder, with the winner likely in line for a title shot.
With Whittaker vs. Costa now official, the sportsbooks have released the opening odds for the upcoming bout. Check them out below, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com.
Robert Whittaker -150
Paulo Costa +120
Whittaker opened as a -150 betting favorite (bet $150 to win $100), while Costa opened as a +120 betting underdog (bet $100 to win $120). The odds were always going to be relatively close for this fight considering it features the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked contenders in the middleweight division, and the bookies went with a slight lean towards Whittaker for a number of reasons, including his recent form.
Whittaker (22-5) is the former UFC middleweight champion. Since losing his belt to Adesanya in October 2019, Whittaker has bounced back with back-to-back wins over Jared Cannonier and Darren Till. Overall, Whittaker has an incredible UFC record of 10-1 while fighting at 185lbs. Some of his most notable wins during his middleweight run include Yoel Romero (twice), Ronaldo Souza, Derek Brunson, and Uriah Hall.
Costa (13-1) is coming off of a brutal TKO loss to Adesanya at UFC 253, but he has a golden opportunity to jump right back into the title picture by taking out Whittaker. The Brazilian has been a member of the UFC roster since 2017, and he has notable wins over the likes of the aforementioned Romero and Hall, plus Johny Hendricks.
Who is your money on in this fight, Robert Whittaker or Paulo Costa?