We’ve seen this matchup before. Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa are set for this weekend pending weigh-ins tomorrow morning. It’s the classic stylistic matchup that can be incredibly exciting or incredibly boring. UFC 253 puts the vacant light heavyweight belt on the line but it is overshadowed by the main event, rightfully so. With Adesanya taking the MMA world by storm, he’s gained many fans and many people who already want to see him lose.
History is bound to repeat itself. It’s a common trope used in history study and it’s also applicable in MMA too. We’ve seen the same thing happen time and time again, a counter striker and a power puncher match up and the results are usually one of two things, a knockout or a schooling. Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time, took on the powerful George Foreman. Foreman was one of the scariest punchers the boxing world had seen. He knocked out Joe Frazier, the lineal heavyweight champion, inside of two rounds. Ali boxed up Foreman and put on a career best performance, finishing the champ.
Adesanya and Costa is that matchup. Costa has that puncher’s chance and Adesanya has been hit by the likes of Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker. But if you’re a betting man, put your money on the champ. Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa’s matchup is a copy of the old classic between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Israel Adesanya: The Second Coming of The Spider
Adesanya is oft compared to Anderson Silva, and rightfully so. Izzy shows no real weakness on the feet and is a masterful striker. He’s flashy and confident. Both are counter strikers and have spectacular, matrix-like finishes. But the comparisons don’t end there. Anderson Silva was known to be completely fine waiting on his opponent to come at him first. He was patient, often to the boos of fans wanting a banger. We saw that in the Belfort fight at UFC 126. Belfort circled Silva, waiting for Silva to go first. But Silva waited. Eventually, we saw Belfort start to grow impatient and come at Silva, opening up the iconic teep to the face that has played on Silva’s highlight reel for years.
We’ve seen Israel Adesanya happy to not engage. He’s given us so many highlights in his fights with Gastelum and Whittaker, but he’s also laid a recent stinker on us. Adesanya was criticized for not engaging with Yoel Romero at UFC 248 who got his fair share of criticism as well. Romero stood there still for half a minute wanting Izzy to come to him first. Adesanya did once and got his bell rung and changed it up and didn’t come like that again.
There are some big differences with Costa and Belfort. Belfort was a blitzer, he ran at you and threw bombs. It’s how he made his name in the sport. Costa does a much better job at cutting off the cage and giving you nowhere to go. He did this particularly well against Romero, giving the Cuban Missle Crisis nowhere to go.
There’s nothing for sure, especially in fighting. It’s likely that now that I’ve aired this out and posted for the world to read that Costa will go out there and starch Izzy just to embarrass me. But, gun to my head, Izzy is going to style on Costa this weekend. Stay posted to My MMA News to see just how right I am. Thanks for reading.