Luke Rockhold returns to octagon after three years to face Paulo Costa in the co-main event of UFC 278 PPV.
Rockhold was last seen to competing Jan Blachowiz at UFC 239 in the light heavyweight division. That loss was Rockhold’s third in four bouts after winning the Middleweight title. His attempts to return his 2 years layoff were thwarted by further injuries. However, he feels like the title shot should be his if he beats Costa here.
Paulo Costa is dealing with his own issues. After a Fight of the Night bout against Yoel Romero in 2019, Costa was quickly knocked out by Israel Adesanya at UFC 253. After that, he withdrew from the fights against Jarod Cannonier and Robert Whittaker before showing up 25 pounds over the weight limit for his bout against Marvin Vettori. However, he has managed to make the weight easily this time around after UFC President Dana White had made it clear that Costa will never compete at middleweight ever again.
Will Costa be able to bounce back from his first career losses? Will Rockhold be as effective after his 3 years hiatus? Join us as we post round-by-round and play-by-play updates from Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold from UFC 278 PPV.
Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold Live Updates
Round 1: Costa starts with a body kick and almost gets caught with a big punch from Rockhold. Rockhold charges him and goes for a takedown. Costa hits him with several quick punches on the head after defending the takedown. Costa nails Rockhold with several shots after pushing him against the cage. Costa takes him down to the mat. Costa attempts to get in the half guard but Rockhold is not letting him get any free shots. Costa nails him with some shots. Costa starts to work with elbow strikes to Rockhold’s ribs. Rockhold is attempting a choke while he is down on the mat. Rockhold counters and pins Costa against the cage. They return to the middle of the cage now. Rockhold goes for a high kick. He hits some body kicks in quick succession. Costa hits back with some punches. Rockhold attempts a takedown but Costa defends. They trade more strikes as the round nears the end.
Round 2: Costa’s kick is countered with a big punch. Rockhold follows up with more big punches. He goes for a takedown but Costa manages to be on his feet. Costa hits a body shot as Rockhold now has his back near the cage. Both men are choosing their spots for their shots. Rockhold returns to the center with a big roundhouse kick to Costa’s body. Costa pushes him back with a punch. They trade high kicks. Rockhold is already tired. He hits a side kick to the ribs. Costa nails him with a few punches. The referee stops the fight as Rockhold tries to push Costa away. Costa nails a high kick and follows up with several body shots. He catches Rockhold with a groin strike to cause a time-out. Costa thought he has won the fight, but the referee clarifies.
100 seconds still left in the round. Rockhold hits a high kick. Costa hits him with a couple of jabs. He counters a back fist with a body kick. Rockhold hits a spinning back kick. Costa nails him with another body kick. Rockhold is mostly backpaddling. Costa hits another big body kick with 20 seconds left in the round. Rockhold is just trying to pass the time. Rockhold is exhausted.
Round 3: The final round starts with more backpaddling from Rockhold. Costa hits more jabs and punches. A counter-backfist from Rockhold trips Costa. He is back to his feet quickly though. Rockhold lands a punch flush on Costa’s face. He is still going back mostly though. Costa is looking for his shots. Rockhold catches him with a big elbow, but he does not have any energy for a quick follow-up. Costa now invites him for a free shot when Rockhold hits another shot. Costa hits a couple of punches. Rockhold goes for a takedown but Costa defends it and puts him to the mat now. Costa is now trying to get control on the mat. He has his arms wrapped on Rockhold’s neck. Rockhold tries to get get back to his feet but Costa is on his back. Costa is trying to set up for a rear naked choke. Rockhold is trying his best to stop it as we get into the last minute. Rockhold turns around and gets back on the top. He hits a couple of shots but the round ends before he could do much damage.
In the replay, we see that Rockhold put his nose blood all over Costa’s face in the final seconds of the fight.
Official Decision: Paulo Costa wins via unanimous decision(30-27, 30-27, 30-27).