Middleweight title fight between undefeated champion Israel Adesanya (19-0) and unbeaten challenger Paulo Costa (13-0) has been set to headline UFC 253, Brazilian website Combate reported on Sunday. The date of pay-per-view fight card is scheduled for September 19, which in Australia coverts to September 20 in (AEST / AWST). The venue accommodating the event is yet to be confirmed, with “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi and APEX in Las Vegas being the potential hosts, depending on situation surrounding coronavirus pandemic.
In his previous outing this past March Adesanya made the first successful defense of his undisputed title, taking a unanimous decision against Yoel Romero. Prior to that he KO’d Robert Whittaker to in the second round to unify 185-pound championship, after winning an interim belt by UD against Kelvin Gastelum.
Paulo Costa hasn’t fought since August 2019 when he defeated Romero also by unanimous decision. Before that he won all of his fights via stoppage inside two rounds, which includes 11 KO/TKO and a submission.
Costa was expected to challenge Adesanya in March (instead of Romero), but was out of action due to injury (torn left biceps). At the post-event press conference both fighters mentioned the date of July 11, which is now in history.
The date of September 19 was originally rumored to see a lightweight championship showdown between the reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim 155-pound titleholder Justin Gaethje. At this stage it is unclear when “The Eagle” will step inside the Octagon next, due to passing of his dad.
Costa has confirmed his fight against Adesanya in a tweet, posting “The fight is on folks! In September I’ll bring the show up”.
Adesanya and Costa have been engaged in a verbal warfare. The pair now has a chance to square the differences inside the MMA cage.