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Paulo Costa vs. Jared Cannonier headlines Aug. 21 UFC event

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Top middleweight contenders Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier will headline a UFC fight card scheduled for Aug. 21.

Multiple people with knowledge of the booking confirmed the news to MMA Fighting following a report from ESPN.com. The city and venue of the late summer event has yet to be confirmed.

Costa returns to the cage after he withdrew from a booking against ex-champ Robert Whittaker at UFC Vegas 24 due to lingering effects from a previous COVID-19 infection. Whittaker was rebooked against one-time title challenger Kelvin Gastelum and won a dominant decision.

Costa’s most recent appearance came in this past September when he challenged champ Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title at UFC 253. The Brazilian slugger was stopped in the second round for his first loss as an MMA pro. He has repeatedly called for a rematch with rival Adesanya, claiming his loss was the result of drinking too much wine the night prior to the fight.

Cannonier most recently fought this past October, when he was outpointed by Whittaker in the co-headliner of UFC 254. The setback snapped a three-fight streak and a potential title shot against Adesanya.

Whittaker is in the running to face Adesanya, but the winner of Costa vs. Cannonier is poised for a future title challenge.