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UFC 278 results: Luke Rockhold retires from MMA after losing decision in a slugfest with Paulo Costa

UFC 278: Costa v Rockhold Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Paulo Costa gutted out a hard-fought three round decision to win the UFC 278 co-main event as an exhausted Luke Rockhold announced his retirement afterwards.

It was a war until the final horn but Costa was consistently dishing out more damage round after round, which led to the judges giving him the fight with all three scorecards reading 30-27 in his favor. As soon as the fight ended and the decision was read, Rockhold began removing his gloves as he signified that his career has come to an end.

“I’m been through so much the last three years,” Rockhold said. “Thank you UFC. I can’t do this s*** anymore. I’m f****** old.”

Rockhold definitely left it all in the cage as he engaged in a grueling battle with Costa as the middleweights threw everything and the kitchen sink at each other.

An early takedown attempt from Rockhold led to a flurry of punches from Costa as he began blasting away at the former champion with a barrage of punches. Rockhold escaped but Costa continued to pursue him with huge, heavy shots as he looked for the early knockout.

Another shot clipped Rockhold before Costa decided to take the fight down to the ground where he began applying pressure from the top. With Rockhold holding on, Costa advanced into the mount but he lost the position just seconds later as the middleweights exploded back to the feet.

Rockhold landed his best strikes in the opening round with several stinging kicks to the body as Costa smiled and just invited him to throw more. As he went to the corner, Rockhold was breathing out of his mouth thanks to his nose being mashed with blood streaming down his face.

As the second round started, Rockhold came out with a frantic pace but Costa weathered the storm. Still, Rockhold was managing to throw some big shots even as he looked like his gas tank was nearly drained.

With time ticking away, Costa started concentrating more and more on the body including one thunderous kick that reverberated off Rockhold’s midsection. Both fighters were running on fumes with Costa and Rockhold just unloading on each other with everything they had left.

A sloppy takedown attempt from Rockhold backfired late as he ended up with Costa on top of him before eventually giving up his back. Somehow, Rockhold survived a submission attempt as he rolled back on top as he literally rubbed his bloody head down on Costa until the fight came to an end.

Costa knew he had done enough to get the nod as he celebrated his victory in what he previously announced was the final fight on his current contract with the UFC.

“He surprised me with his chin,” Costa said about Rockhold. “He got a lot of creative shots on the face, on the chin. People say he doesn’t have a good chin but he does.”

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