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Why is Paulo Costa rooting for Israel Adesanya over Robert Whittaker? ‘I really want to knock him out cold’

Paulo Costa will fly to Melbourne to watch Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya unify the middleweight titles in the main event of UFC 232 on Oct. 5, and he’s pulling for Adesanya to win.

“Borrachinha” is likely next in line for the 185-pound championship after a close decision victory over Yoel Romero in August. He hopes to have solidified his case for being the rightful title contender after defeating Yoel Romero, an opponent he calls “the toughest guy in the division.”

Still recovering from surgery on his left bicep, Costa, who sustained the injury more than one year ago, guarantees he’ll ready to enter the cage by December. He predicts an early-2020 clash with the winner of Whittaker vs. Adesanya.

And even though he sees Whittaker as the favorite to win in Australia, the Brazilian middleweight hopes he’s wrong.

“I’m really rooting for Adesanya to win,” Costa told MMA Fighting. “I think it’s going to be a really tough, I don’t think he gets past (Whittaker), but I’m asking God for him to win because I would really love to win the belt by beating him up.

“I really want to knock him out cold in the Octagon (and) leave him lying on the floor unconscious. I want to take that belt away from him so he stops being such a clown, but I don’t think he gets past Whittaker.”

According to Costa, his beef with Adesanya started one year ago in Las Vegas. They had been booked to compete against Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares, respectively, in different UFC cards during last year’s International Fight Week. Adesanya won a unanimous decision in the five-round headliner of The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale, while he finished Hall in the prelims of UFC 226.

“We were at the same hotel when I was going to fight Uriah Hall,” Costa said. “He fought the night before against Brad Tavares, but no one knows who the hell Brad Tavares is, and he’s acting like he’s the man. We both won and he called me out. I don’t even know who this f*cker is, you know?

“He was just starting in the UFC. He had two or three fights, while I couldn’t fight because I was recovering and then waiting for Romero, and he grew (in the UFC) and became this cocky guy, always talking about me.”

“Borrachinha” hopes to finally meet Adesanya in the cage next year, but his mind tells him that Whittaker will remain champion. Asked who would be a tougher opponent in a five-round championship contest, he ranks both under his last opponent.

“I think Whittaker is more complicated,” Costa said. “(Adesanya is) too easy. Not that he’s a bad fighter. I think that compared to Romero and Whittaker, Adesanya would be the easiest one.

“I have nothing against (Whittaker). It would be a normal fight. I would still move forward to knock him out. None of my fights were personal, and I still knocked everyone out, so it would be another good one. But I think he’s easier than Romero.”

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