Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is back in action, facing off former title challenger Paulo Costa. The pair is set to headline the UFC Fight Night card scheduled for April 17 in the US and April 18 in Australia.
ESPN was first to report the bout (via Twitter), that is yet to be made official by the promotion. The venue accommodating the event is to be determined.
Robert Whittaker (22-5) is riding the two win streak, winning both bouts by unanimous decision. In his previous outing last October he defeated Jared Cannonier, following the win over Darren Till in July. “The Reaper” lost the title against Israel Adesanya by knockout in the second round in October 2019.
Paulo Costa (13-1) suffered the first defeat in his professional MMA career last September, when he was KO’d by Adesanya also in Round 2. Before that he scored a unanimous decision against Yoel Romero, and finished 12 opponents prior to the final horn, including Uriah Hall, Johny Hendricks, among others.
The Whittaker vs Till matchup is scheduled for five rounds.
Meanwhile, the reining middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moves up a weight class to challenge the defending light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. The contest headlines UFC 259 fight card on March 6 (March 7 in Australia) live on pay-per-view.
Last October UFC President Dana White said Whittaker vs Adesanya 2 was the fight that made the most sense at 185. Former titleholder said he was looking to face champion in July 2021.
Things changed (as per above), with Whittaker vs Costa now looks to, perhaps, determine the next opponent for Adesanya at middleweight.