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He defeated Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 241 in a bout that had a bit of everything, earning both men “Fight of the Night” bonuses. But Costa (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) believes Romero (13-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) employed a few dirty tactics that could have cost him the fight.
During a Monday appearance on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” Costa described the crazy first round that had both fighters hitting the canvas early.
“He’s a nice guy, but he’s dirty,” Costa said. “In the first round, when I make a hook in his face, he went down then got up very quickly, and I say man I will knock him out in the first round because he feel my punch, my first punch, and I started hunting him in the octagon. And when I close to knock him out, he point on something, anywhere, I don’t know. Like look there Paulo, and I lose concentration, because he point something, maybe his mouth piece fall.
“And I’m not a dirty guy. I try to fight clean and when he point something, like maybe a mouth piece down, I think man, maybe something happened. So I lose my concentration, and he punched my face, but he missed my face and hit my neck, and I lose my balance, and I fall, so this is one thing.”
Then Costa hit Romero with a knee low, which sent Romero tumbling in pain. The ref stopped the fight to give Romero time to recover, which gave a break in the wild action for both fighters. However, Costa believes the knee landed to the body.
“The second thing, my knee not hit his balls,” Costa said. “My knee hit his stomach, and he said, ‘Oh, you hit my balls,’ and he jumped back, and the referee (said) stop, stop. I don’t know him deep, but he’s a nice guy, he looks like a nice guy, but his kind of fight is not clean.”
It was a close back-and-forth battle, but ultimately the judges scored it for Costa. The crowd wasn’t happy with the decision, but for Costa, he just got through, in his eyes, the toughest fight in the division.
“Wild fight, very brutal,” Costa said. “I feel happy, because I did my goal. I beat the beast. Yoel Romero is a beast, the most dangerous middleweight in the world. For a lot of people, he beat Whittaker, and Saturday I showed everybody around the world that I can be the champion. I beat a real beast, and I am more dangerous, more tough fighter than him.”
And Costa now has his eyes set on a middleweight title shot. Champion Robert Whittaker is scheduled to take on interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 243, and Costa wants to be front row watching.
“I want to be there to watch live my next opponent,” Costa said. “I want to be there to pressure him. I think Whittaker will beat Adesanya, but I will be there to watch. And I’m here. You need to figure it out because I’m coming.”
News | MMA Junkie