For the final UFC event of 2022, it’s a banger of a card to close out the year. Headlined by Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland, the UFC Vegas 66 card features 14 fights in total. The card has eight ranked fighters in the top 15, 15 different countries represented, and just one UFC debut. Alessandro Costa would be that sole debut as he’s stepping in on short notice.
Costa is stepping in to fight the #9-ranked flyweight Amir Albazi on Saturday. Albazi was supposed to fight Alex Perez and Brandon Royval but is instead now welcoming a newcomer.
Alessandro “Nono” Costa
Standing at Five-foot-four
Fighting at 125 lbs (flyweight)
Fighting out of Amazonas, Brazil/Mexico
Training out of Lobo Gym / Brazilian Warriors
A pro record of 12-2
3 KO/TKOs, 6 Submissions
How will Costa fare in the UFC:
Costa fought this past season on the Contender Series and despite a win wasn’t awarded a UFC contract. He took that and three months later defended his LUX title with a twelve-second knockout. He has made three title defenses to his LUX flyweight title and now has an opportunity to beat a ranked UFC flyweight.
Costa, although more of a jiu-jitsu player, is a dangerous guy on the feet. Costa’s right hand is his money shot. He has a good lunging right hook and when pressed back has a sharp counter right hand. He dips under punches and returns with fire combinations. Costa throws with some big power but his hand speed really stands out. The Brazilian doesn’t shy away from throwing explosive shots such as flying knees, rolling thunder, and cartwheel kicks. Not overdoing it with the flashy stuff but he has it to throw. Costa isn’t bouncing all over the cage but is light on his feet. He’ll allow himself to become flat-footed at times. His feet are quick and it shows when he decides to explode forward.
There are times Costa has shot from too far out and was seen coming way before it happened. That’s rare and while it does happen, it’s later in the fights or just a mistake he won’t repeat over and over. Costa does a fine job ducking under punches to get the takedown. He’s good at using trips/throws in the clinch. Even circling to the back and muscling guys down Costa does well. Costa has the ability to chain wrestle if he doesn’t complete the first takedown, he can cut a corner and adjust to get it down.
What’s even better than his wrestling is his grappling. I’d rate Costa as a high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner. His biggest issue is he can get overzealous when trying to transition to a dominant position. On top or on bottom Costa is a big submission threat. He has fluid hips off his back, being able to quickly attack an armbar. Even on top the armbar is what he likes to attack with. He’ll take risks going for armbars, jumping to a triangle, and taking the back because he’s so good in any position. Costa knows no stalling once he gets the takedown. Right away he’s working to pass guard and get into better positions.
I really like Costa as a prospect in the flyweight division. His speed, endurance, explosiveness, and athleticism match what a top-level flyweight should be. Costa is a well-rounded fighter with tons of potential. He’s also very exciting to watch despite that contender series fight.
How he matches up against Albazi:
I think Costa can hang with about everyone on the mat in the UFC including Albazi. Albazi is best on the mat as his submission base is extremely dangerous. While I do think Albazi is a bigger threat at submissions Costa matches his ground game as a whole. If the ground game of both cancels each other out like I think it will it will come to who is better on the feet. Albazi is getting better on the feet but Costa has him covered. Costa is more powerful, technical, faster, and has more tools. I like Costa here for the upset.