There has been much bad blood between Israeal Adesanya and Paulo Costa. But for the time being, they are saving it for the octagon.
The highly anticipated middleweight title bout between Adesanya and Costa headlines UFC 253 on Saturday to kick off a five-week stretch of events for the promotion on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
On Sunday morning, Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail posted a video to his Instagram page of a run-in where the 185-pound rivals faced off on Fight Island. In stark contrast to previous interactions, the two kept it professional and pleasant as they briefly chatted. Check out the video below.
After they shook hands, Adesanya pointed out the challenger looked skinny, to which Costa replied, “I look lean, never skinny.” The champion jokingly requested Costa remain skinny ahead of the pay-per-view main event on Saturday.
Since making octagon debut in February 2018, Adesanya’s (19-0) rise has been meteoric. “The Last Stylebender” has won all eight of his octagon appearances, including capturing the interim and undisputed middleweight titles in respective bouts against Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker before successfully defending it against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in March.
Costa (13-0) has won all five of his UFC bouts, including four finishes in bouts against Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. In his most recent appearance, “The Eraser” picked up a unanimous decision win over Romero at UFC 241 in August 2019.
In addition the 185-pound championship headliner, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz meet in the co-main event to crown a new light heavyweight champion after Jon Jones recently vacated the title.