Israel Adesanya: Paulo Costa ‘definitely going to get tired,’ loses to Sean Strickland at UFC 302

Israel Adesanya’s former foes will battle it out at UFC 302.

Former middleweight champion Sean Strickland (28-6 MMA, 15-6 UFC) takes on Paulo Costa (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in Saturday’s co-main event (pay-per-view/ESPN2/ESPN+) at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) is the only fighter to finish Costa, stopping him in Round 2 of their middleweight title fight at UFC 253 in September 2020. Strickland upset Adesanya this past September at UFC 293 to claim the middleweight title but lost his belt to Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297.

Having fought both Strickland and Costa, Adesanya questions Costa’s gas tank in a five-round fight.

“It’ll be interesting. I think it’s just going to be on the feet, kickboxing, boxing,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Costa might get jabbed the f*ck out in this one. He’s definitely going to get tired, and Strickland is going to take advantage of that.”

Adesanya proceeded to break down the keys to victory for both fighters but ultimately picked Strickland to outlast Costa.

“Costa to win, what would Costa have to do? Would have to be aggressive, use body kicks and also use his jab,” Adesanya said. “Even if he might not land some of them, go jab-for-jab with Strickland. Also, mix up the grappling, just to get him (Strickland) tired as well. Strickland, do what he does. Pressure, use his jab. I think front kicks will be a problem for Costa, dealing with them when Strickland throws them.

“Costa is more dynamic, more juice. It’s more about consistency, momentum. Even though he (Strickland) just lost to Dricus, he beat me before that and he had a long – just active, active. Costa has only fought three times (since losing to Adesanya). … I’m going to pick Strickland in this fight. I’m going to say it’s going to go the distance. He’s not going to finish him.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie