A pivotal middleweight middleweight showdown between Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa has been targeted for April 17.
Sherdog.com confirmed with sources from both camps that Whittaker and Costa are in negotiations to headline the UFC Fight Night card, likely in Las Vegas. However, an interim title will not be on the line as Whittaker had previously hoped. Reigning 185-pound champ Israel Adesanya is slated to move up a division to challenge light heavyweight title holder Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 on March 6. The UFC has not officially confirmed the April 17 card.
Whittaker lost the middleweight crown to Adesanya at UFC 243 via second-round KO in October 2019. Since then, “The Reaper” has rebounded to post decision wins over contenders Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. The 30-year-old Sydney-based fighter has won 11 of his last 12 Octagon appearances.
Costa, meanwhile, suffered his first professional defeat in 14 outings when he was stopped by Adesanya in the second round of their championship clash at UFC 253 this past September. “Borrachinha” began his promotional tenure with five straight triumphs, including notable wins over Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall and Yoel Romero. The 29-year-old has finished all but one of his triumphs inside the distance.