UFC Middleweight Fight Canceled- Paulo Costa Withdraws From Fight Against Robert Whittaker

Published 03/16/2021, 2:10 AM EDT


The UFC is without a main event for their April 17th card as Paulo Costa has withdrawn from his proposed fight against Robert Whittaker. As a result, Dana White and co. will now have to look elsewhere for an opponent for ‘The Reaper’. Costa has reportedly suffered severe flu and will not be ready for the fight next month.

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Whether the UFC cancels the fight altogether or tries to reschedule it to a later date is not yet known. However, ‘Borrachinha’ will not be ready on the due date as the illness has taken a toll on his preparation. The clash was a very important one for the current landscape of the middleweight division.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) Paulo Costa of Brazil kicks Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Ag. Fight was the first to report about the possible falling out of the bout. For the uninitiated, both fighters were looking to get another shot at the UFC middleweight title.

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Costa last fought the champion Israel Adesanya and was defeated in a one-sided contest.

Whittaker dropped his belt to ‘Stylebender‘ at UFC 243 in 2019. Since then, he has picked up wins over the likes of Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.

Many expected ‘Bobby Knuckles‘ to rematch Izzy next. But the UFC wanted a showdown between the former champion and the Brazilian Costa, possibly to determine the next No.1 contender.

Unfortunately, Costa’s withdrawal has jeopardized the situation immensely. Adesanya is back in the middleweight division too after his failed bid to capture the light-heavyweight belt against Jan Blachowicz.

Should the UFC reschedule Paulo Costa vs Robert Whittaker?

The UFC Fight Night events on May 1st and May 8th are still without main events. So, the possibility of the promotion rescheduling the fight on those dates is still there. However, it won’t be surprising to see the Organization discard the bout altogether.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 24: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Darren Till will fight Marvin Vettori on April 10th. The outcome of that fight can play a big factor in the company’s decision. Also, with ‘Stylebender’ looking to defend his belt, the UFC might book ‘The Reaper’ for his rematch next. No official word on the context has been given yet.

What step should the UFC take regarding the current situation? Let us know.

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Apratim Banerjee

686 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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