Israel Adesanya to defend middleweight belt against Paulo Costa at UFC 253

Jack Baer
·1-min read

After months of waiting, Israel Adesanya is officially set to face Paulo Costa.

The UFC middleweight champion will defend his title against the Brazilian at UFC 253 on Sept. 26, the promotion announced Saturday. Brazilian outlet Combate had initially reported the news of the matchup in July.

The location of the fight was not announced.

Adesanya-Costa a long time coming

Adesanya captured the full middleweight belt in 2019 with an impressive win over Robert Whittaker, then beat Yoel Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 248 in March. There has been some past chatter about a superfight against light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, but Jones himself said that would have to wait until 2021.

The 13-0 Costa was originally on track to face Adesanya after beating Romero at UFC 241, but had to wait after undergoing biceps surgery. Adesanya called out Costa after his own win over Romero, saying “I see you soon, boy.”

Costa was in attendance for that match, and was seen jumping over the fence toward the Octagon after the decision was announced. Now, six months and a pandemic later, Costa will get another shot at one of UFC’s biggest rising stars.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: (L-R) Israel Adesanya of Nigeria battles Yoel Romero of Cuba in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
UFC 253 will feature a battle of the undefeateds at middleweight. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

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