Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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UFC 302 results, highlights: Sean Strickland gets past Paulo Costa to stay in middleweight title picture

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It wasn’t pretty, nor was it exciting, but Sean Strickland got the job done against Paulo Costa in the UFC 302 co-main event. Strickland took a split decision over Costa, though the fight appeared to clearly favor Strickland in most, if not every round.

Strickland used a kick-heavy game from the opening moments, throwing a steady diet of leg kicks and front kicks to the body. Those kicks disrupted Costa’s timing early, but some early Costa leg kicks had welted Strickland’s lead left leg.

After one round, both men had landed almost no shots to the head, instead focusing to the body and legs. Strickland scored a big moment in Round 2, landing a stiff jab that briefly knocked Costa to the canvas. While Costa quickly popped back to his feet, there was no erasing the moment in the eyes of the cageside judges.

While Costa had the early success with leg kicks, Strickland was the man whose leg kicks had the bigger impact in the final round, leaving Costa visibly showing damage from shots to his calf. 

The fight mostly slowed to a crawl in the final two rounds. Strickland scored another knockdown in the final seconds of the fight, though the headkick he threw to score it was mostly blocked.

After five rounds of dull action, Strickland took the win by scores of 46-49, 50-45, 49-46.

“It was a boring fight, sorry guys,” Strickland said after the fight. “That Brazilian goes backward fast.”

Strickland went on to say that he wanted a rematch with Driscus Du Plessis, though it’s hard to imagine his performance against Costa will get people salivating for the winner of the rematch between Du Plessis and Israel Adesanya.

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