This Saturday, 23/10/2021, Paulo “The Eraser” Costa, (#2 13-1-0) takes on Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori (#5 17-5-0). This is not just a must-win fight for both men, but the fighters know a simple decision victory might not be enough for them to keep their respective number. The winner of the match needs to make a statement!
Both men’s last fight was against current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya (21-1-0). Usually, a loss to the champion would not be terrible, but the way they lost. In Vettori’s case, it was a five-round masterclass, where Adesanya won every round decisively. Also, this was the second time they fought making the score between then 2-0 to Adesanya. On the other hand, Costa was picked apart and TKO’d in the second round. What hurts his standing, even more, were the excuses he made after the fight. his lack of activity since, and his pulling out of a number one contender bout against Robert Whittaker.
What are their path’s to victory?
For Costa, his best path to victory is his striking. He needs to go first and stay on the attack which has brought him the best results in his early UFC career. His first five bouts ended in four KO/TKOs and only one decision. Even though he is known for his power and being a berserker, his striking accuracy is also extremely high.
Vettori is known to take a couple of punches to give one back. This is not something he wants to do against Costa because of his power. But despite being the slightly shorter fighter, Vettori does have a slight reach advantage on both the hand and the legs. If he can connect first he can use this to set up his wrestling takedowns and ground and pound. He demonstrated much more wrestling against Kevin Holland he will need to against Costa as well.
With everything on the line in this fight and the blueprint of these fighters, this should not be a boring fight. Both men have too much to prove, and a loss could very well see one of these two out of the top five of the division.