UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya’s next challenge will come against Paulo Costa, as the matchup is targeted to take place on September 19th at UFC 253. The pairing was first reported on Saturday by Marcelo Barone and Raphael Marinho of Combate.
Adesanya defended his belt for the first time in March, where he defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 248. Being an interim champion before, “The Last Stylebender” defeated Robert Whittaker in the fall to claim the belt.
Something Adesanya has in common with his new opponent, Costa, is that they’re both undefeated in MMA.
The first four of Costa’s UFC fights saw him stop his opponent in the first two rounds with punches. His most recent fight went to decision, where Costa defeated Yoel Romero.
His matchup with Romero in August of 2019 was on UFC.com’s list of “Ten Best Fights of 2019.”
“The fight is on folks,” said Costa on Twitter following news of the matchup breaking.
While Adesanya did not comment on the matchup, he posted a graphic of him and Costa on his Instagram story.
UFC 253 currently has three fights scheduled besides the championship main event. Here’s the card in its current state:
Bout 4: Israel Adesanya (19-0) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0) (UFC Middleweight Championship)
Bout 3: Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-8-1) (Strawweight)
Bout 2: Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1) (Featherweight)
Bout 1: Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-5) vs. Ciryl Gane (6-0) (Heavyweight)