A middleweight match between Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa is scheduled for a UFC Fight Night on Saturday, April 17th. The battle between the top 185-pound fighters could create a middleweight championship battle for the winner after both men lost previous clashes with the champion. Israel Adesanya. UFC officials confirmed the fight against ESPN on Monday.
Whittaker is on a two-match winning streak since losing the middleweight title to Adesanya in October 2019. Prior to the loss, Whittaker had won nine stride matches, including capturing the interim title and being promoted to full champion. Since the knockout loss to Adesanya, Whittaker has scored impressive decision wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier to put himself back in the title race. UFC President Dana White declared after the Cannonier victory that Whittaker would need at least one more victory to get his championship fight.
Costa suffered a brutal knockout to Adesanya in his latest match as he challenged for the title. The fighters had exchanged months of aggressive waste talk, but Costa was outgunned in the Octagon. The loss was the first of Costa’s pro career, and the Brazilian immediately began calling for a rematch, bumping into Adesania’s anticycles. He has completed 12 of his 13 wins within the distance.
Adesanya, meanwhile, are going up to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz to the 205-pound championship in March. It creates a reasonable timeline where the winner of Whittaker vs. Costa, depending on the outcome of Adesania’s match and where he puts his focus, could receive a rematch for the 2021 middleweight title.
Specifications for the Fight Night event, including location and location, have not yet been announced. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFC has hosted events at either the UFC APEX in Las Vegas or in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island.