UFC: Stephen Thompson Breaks Down Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa

Stephen Thompson believes Israel Adesanya will successfully defend his UFC middleweight title against Paulo Costa at UFC 253, by finishing the Brazilian inside three rounds. Adding that the Nigerian born Kiwi will ‘have a field day’ with the challenger.


Speaking to Submission Radio (as transcribed by BJPenn.com), Thompson said Costa is not a ‘technical striker’, but described him as a ‘brawler’.

“I don’t consider Paulo Costa a technical striker at all,” Thompson said. “I think he’s a brawler. I mean, you see him do it time and time again, he breaks people. For a guy that shredded and that big, he’s got cardio for days, this guy.

“When [Costa] beat Uriah Hall first, he broke Uriah Hall mentally,” Thompson added. “He just gave up out there. And of course you’re not gonna break Yoel Romero. And those guys fought pretty much exactly the same, came forward and swung for the fences.”

Counter Striker

While Thompson praised Costa for his sheer power, he believes Adesanya possess the tools required to trump the number two ranked UFC middleweight.

“For someone like Izzy Adesanya, he’s got the potential to finish this guy second or third round,” Thompson said. “Izzy is a counter striker. He waits for guys to make their mistakes and he takes advantage of it, and I think this falls right into his game plan, what he does best, for Izzy.

“Paulo Costa’s aggressive and he swings. He’s got a lot of big movement in his striking, he loops his strikes, which is going to be perfect for someone like Izzy to just take half a step back and counter back with a right hand or a left hook. Kind of like he did with Robert Whittaker, right? And Robert Whittaker I believe is faster than Paulo Costa.

‘Adesanya Is Going To Have A Field Day’

When Adesanya and Costa step inside the Octagon together, it will be only the second time two undefeated fighters have fought for the title in UFC history. And while Thompson credits ‘Borrachinha’ for his durability and toughness, he’s predicting that ‘The Last Stylebender’ will successfully defend his belt.

“The only thing with Paulo Costa is that he’s durable,” Thompson continued. “He’s very, very durable, he’s very tough to finish. I think after the first round, maybe Paulo Costa, if Izzy can tire him out just a little bit, it’s going to slow him down, and Israel Adesanya’s going to be able to have a field day counter striking this guy. I think I got my man Izzy winning that fight.”

Adesanya previously defended his belt against Yoel Romero at UFC 248, in what was deemed as a lacklustre affair. Costa also holds a unanimous decision victory in his previous fight over the ‘Soldier Of God’ at UFC 241, for which he received a Fight of the Night bonus.

Israel Adesanya is set to defend his UFC middleweight title against Paulo Costa in the UFC 253 main event on September 26th on Fight Island, on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Do you agree with Stephen Thompson’s analysis?

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