Sean Strickland, UFC 302, Pride Month

Sean Strickland defeats Paulo Costa in UFC 302 co-main event

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, June 1, 2024, for UFC 302, going down live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Headlining the event is a lightweight championship affair showcasing no. 1 pound-for-pound ranked Islam Makhachev (25-1), who attempts to make the third defense of his title tonight opposing no. 4 ranked former interim champion Dustin Poirier (30-8) in the main event of the evening.

Co-headlining the event is a five round middleweight clash between no. 1 ranked former champion Sean Strickland (29-6) and no. 7 ranked former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-4).

Strickland was coming into his first fight since dropping the belt to Dricus du Plessis in January, a fight many believed he won, while Costa lost to former champion Robert Whittaker one month later at UFC 298 in a truly epic three round war in his latest appearance.

Continue reading to see how this middleweight encounter went down:

Official Result: Sean Strickland def. Paulo Costa via split decision (46-49, 50-45, 49-46)

Costa landed three heavy calf kicks in the first 30 seconds of the bout, reddening the lead leg of Strickland badly. Strickland switched his stance and began to walk Costa down, feinting and landing a lot of front kicks up the middle throughout the remainder of the opening round.

Costa landed a few more hard kicks to the lead leg of Strickland early in the second, though Strickland continued walking him down, eventually dropping him momentarily with a one-two. Strickland continued to walk Costa down and out-strike him through the remainder of round two.

Strickland had a great round three, badly hurting Costa’s right shin after checking a leg kick and getting some combinations going as the round went on.

After a close round four Costa had a good fifth up until the end, this being the only round he out-struck Strickland, though Strickland came in with a flurry of strikes and dropped him in the final seconds of the fight.

After losing his title in a razor-thin split decision, his latest defeat prior also coming via heavily disputed five round split decision, it for a second there looked like that was about to happen to Strickland once again. And after a night with scorecards like tonight, we kind of had a feeling there would be some weird scores after watching this one.

Nonetheless, Sean Strickland gets back to his winning ways tonight at UFC 302.

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Brady Ordway
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That's the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you'd like to see those pieces, be sure to check out!