Perennial middleweight contender, Paulo ‘Borrachinha’ Costa will have eyes firmly set on proceedings this weekend at UFC 248 – with the victor of Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero expected to face the undefeated Brazilian later this year. The 28-year-old managed a unanimous decision triumph over title challenger, Romero, in his last outing last August – but was forced to spend time on the sidelines due to a bicep injury which required surgery.
Regardless of result this weekend – Costa’s manager, the decorated grappler, Wallid Ismail – claims his client will challenge for the undisputed middleweight crown in July this year. Speaking with Colin Crandall from the MMA Power Hour in Las Vegas on Friday evening, Ismail revealed how the promotion is targeting a middleweight title bout between Costa and either Adesanya or Romero for International Fight Week.
“It’s going to be July,” Ismail revealed. “It’s going to be July 11th. – this is what It’s going to be. For me, it’s a done deal. It’s not maybe or – he’s here to be in the first row on Saturday to wait for the winner. If it’s’ (Israel) Adesanya, it’s going to be great – if not, if it’s (Yoel) Romero, it’s going to be amazing. Romero is a great fighter. ‘Borrachinca’ beat him really badly – I count it 3-0 [rounds]. Some people say 2-1, I say no. For me, ‘Borrachinca’ beat (sic) the three rounds because the people need to understand, the fighters move forward. In this fight, Romero was pissed-off about me.“
Costa still holds the #2 rank at 185-pounds, and according to both the consensus, and Ismail – is next in line to the middleweight throne once he’s cleared to compete once again.