MMA

UFC 278: Luke Rockhold vs Paulo Costa Picks, Predictions, Odds

Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold
August 20, 2022 11:25 pm EDT
The Line: Luke Rockhold +310 / Paulo Costa -375
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold fight Saturday in UFC 278 at the Vivint Arena. Costa enters this fight with a 13-2 record and has won 85 percent of his fights by knockout. Rockhold enters this fight with a 16-5 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by submission.

Costa has split his last 4 fights, and he’s coming off an October loss to Marvin Vettori. Costa is averaging 6.85 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 59 percent. Costa is averaging 0.21 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Costa is coming off a decision loss at UFC Fight Night 196 where he landed 172 total strikes and ate 214 total strikes. Costa was deducted a point due to an eye poke. Borrachinha, who started his career with 13 straight wins, is now riding back-to-back losses. Costa needs a bounce back win on the big stage to kind of get that buzz back. Costa is a massive fighter at middleweight who throws every strike with the intention to hurt his opponent, and he has good variety to his strikes. He has legit knockout power in both hands, but he also has many kicks and will mix them in-between combinations. Costa, who is a black belt in BJJ, is always pressing the issue offensively and has produced 11 knockouts in 13 wins. Costa has above average takedown defense as well and has erased cardio questions with each of his last 6 fights going at least 2 rounds. This will be Costa’s first career fight in Utah.

Rockhold has split his last 6 fights, and he’s coming off a July (2019) loss to Jan Błachowicz. Rockhold is averaging 4.18 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Rockhold is averaging 0.67 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 30 percent. Rockhold is coming off a knockout loss at UFC 239, a bout where he made his light heavyweight debut. Rockhold will fight for the first time in over 3 years, as he took some time off and then was dealing with a herniated disk, which forced him to pull out of UFC 268. At almost 38 years old, it’s going to be interesting to see how Rockhold looks. When in good form, Rockhold is an exciting fighter who has a black belt in BJJ and has finished 14 of his 16 victories. Rockhold is accurate on the feet, throws knees in the clinch, and 5 of his 8 submission wins have come by rear-naked choke. However, all 5 of Rockhold’s losses have come by knockout, so there are some chin concerns, especially as he gets older. This will be Rockhold’s first career fight in Utah.

I almost never bet on fighters who have been out of the sport for a while, and it’s hard to make a case for Rockhold with him out of the cage for more than 3 years. Rockhold also has chin issues given all of his losses have been knockouts, and Costa is somebody with legit pop in his hands. This is a rough return fight for Rockhold if we’re being honest. This could get ugly if Costa is able to land something early.

Give me Costa by knockout to shave down the price.

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Paulo Costa By TKO / KO

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.
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