UFC: Whittaker vs. Costa to Headline April 17 Event

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Robert Whittaker UFC 254 Weigh-in
Robert Whittaker, UFC 254 Weigh-In Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

A high stakes middleweight bout is on deck for April 17 and former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will take on top contender Paulo Costa in the night’s headliner.

A bout with major title implications in the UFC middleweight division is on deck in April as former champion Robert Whittaker (22-5) is expected to meet recent title challenger Paulo Costa (13-1).  First reported by Sherdog and confirmed by ESPN, the two are set to headline an event on April 17.

Former champion Robert Whittaker is looking to put pressure on reigning title holder Israel Adesanya to return to 185 pounds as he looks to make it three straight since 2020.  After losing the belt to Adesanya in 2019, Whittaker has turned back top contenders Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.  UFC President Dana White had also expressed interest in a rematch with Whittaker and Adesanya for the title before “The Last Stylebender” expressed his desire to move up to challenge light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.  That bout is official for March 6.  Should Whittaker prevail, it will put pressure on Adesanya to either return to 185 pounds regardless of the outcome of his light-heavyweight bout or allow the UFC to move forward and create an interim title for Whittaker to fight for.

Paulo “The Eraser” Costa is looking to bounce back from his loss to Adesanya in September.  After much anticipation, Costa came up short in his bid to win the title and was handed his first professional loss.  Leading up to the fight, Costa was 13-0 and had defeated former champion Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall, and Yoel Romero consecutively leading up to the title.

There is no report yet on the fights that will be on the undercard.  No location or venue for the event have been announced.

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