One-time UFC middleweight title challengers Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori fell short in bids to win the belt. But they’ll try to stay in the mix by fighting each other at a UFC Fight Night event scheduled for Oct. 23.
Multiple people with knowledge of negotiations confirmed the matchup to MMA Fighting after an initial report from ESPN.com. The Oct. 23 event’s location and venue has not been confirmed, but Fight Night events have been hosted at UFC APEX in Las Vegas since the outbreak of the pandemic.
After Vettori was shut out by shared Costa rival and current middleweight champ Israel Adesanya at UFC 263, he targeted a matchup with the Brazilian. Costa responded by calling him a “moron,” setting the table for the fight.
Before meeting Adesanya, Costa, who is ranked No. 3 in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, was undefeated with 13 wins including five straight in the UFC. His stock took a hit, however, when he was stopped in the second round and later claimed his loss was the result of drinking too much wine the night before the fight. He then trashed the UFC’s pay scale on social media, drawing a fiery response from UFC President Dana White.
Vettori, the No. 6 ranked fighter, had won five straight in the UFC, including a decision over Kevin Holland that solidified his No. 1 contender status. The Italian fighter lost a split decision to Adesanya in his first meeting with the champ in April 2018.