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Israel Adesanya advises Luke Rockhold to wrestle with Costa ahead of UFC 278

The UFC 278 main event between Leon Edwards and Welterweight Champion is set to go down in a much anticipated rematch. In the co-main event of UFC 278 on Saturday at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) battles the Brazilian terminator Paulo Costa (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

Luke Rockhold, a former middleweight champion of the UFC and Strikeforce, has recently had difficulties. He has struggled with injuries for years and even took a significant vacation from the sport to rehabilitate. In his previous four fights, he has gone one and three. The 37-year-old was scheduled to face middleweight Sean Strickland at UFC 268 on November 6, 2021, after a two-year break. However, Rockhold pulled out on October 11 due to a strained disc.

It makes sense that Adesanya is paying attention to the crucial Middleweight co-main event between Rockhold and Costa because it might have a big impact on who will compete for the title in the future. Adesanya stressed the value of wearing down Costa early on with strikes and takedowns while breaking down the fight on his YouTube channel.

“But Luke, if he can wrestle him and get him tired, wear those muscles out. Luke, try to wrestle him straight away. Do what I did: Teep his legs, establish leg kicks a little bit, but start wrestling straight away and make him tired, make him second guess. Make him know he can be taken down or there’s a threat of being taken down.”

When Adesanya stopped Costa by TKO to win back his title in September 2020, it was Costa's first defeat. But given that Rockhold is making his comeback after a break of more than three years, Adesanya believes he should start the match with some grappling to make Costa uneasy.

However, Adesanya also advises Costa to approach Rockhold the same way he always does, which has led to 11 career knockouts.

“Costa, just do what he does,” Adesanya said. “Just barrage him, clip him. If he clips him, he’s probably going to drop Luke.

But given his instincts he has gone ahead and picked Luke Rockhold to be the winner of this bout if he can manage the distance and stick to the game plan. All five of Rockhold’s losses have come by knockout and although he’s facing a power puncher in Costa, Adesanya thinks more than three years without fighting should have a positive impact on the former middleweight champ.

The middleweight champ himself would be training for his upcoming fight in November against his old rival Alex Pereira. Maybe he can use his own advice in terms of wrestling with his opponent. Luke Rockhold while talking to Helen Yee sports also advised Adesanya to showcase his ground game against his next opponent. He said

“Israel's gotta check himself and he's gotta fight MMA. We all know Alex Pereira sucks on the ground. We all know even Israel could probably f***ing put him away on the ground."

What do you guys think of the matchup between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold? Does Luke go to sleep again considering the power Costa possesses or can Luke take Costa to the ground and teach him a lesson about how to behave like a man on twitter. Let us know in the comments.


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