ESPN reports that Kelvin Gastelum will now headline the UFC event on August 21 against Jared Cannonier; Paulo Costa responds on social media.
Late Friday night, ESPN reported that former UFC middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa withdrew from his August 21 bout with Jared Cannonier. Taking his place will be perennial contender Kelvin Gastelum, who will be competing for the third time in 2021. Later that evening, Costa responded on social media to say he had never signed the contract to fight Cannonier in the first place and that he desired more money to be the headliner.
Just to be clear. I never signed or locked up that contract. Why ufc announced this fight if didn’t signed? My question too
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) June 5, 2021
The Brazilian previously withdrew from an April bout with Robert Whittaker roughly a month before the fight due to what was reported to be severe flu like symptoms. Costa’s mention of YouTubers appears to be in regards to the large purses going to brothers Logan and Jake Paul in boxing despite having hardly any professional fights between them. Costa has firsthand experience working with Logan Paul after an infamous sparring session last year.
Kelvin Gastelum will be looking to get back in the win-column after dropping a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker in April. Gastelum coincidentally stepped in for Costa for that bout as well. Prior to the bout, Gastelum had snapped a three fight skid with a victory over Ian Heinisch in February.
Jared Cannonier will also be making his first appearance since losing to Whittaker after competing with the former champion last October. Cannonier injured his shoulder during the bout and required time off, making the August bout his first in 2021. Prior to the loss, Cannonier was on a three fight win-streak against notable opponents in David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson.