UFC Vegas 77: Melquizael Costa’s Heavy Body Kick Attack Helps Dominate Austin Lingo

Austin Lingo and Melquizael Costa, UFC Vegas 77
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 15: (L-R) Melquizael Costa of Brazil punches Austin Lingo in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on July 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Austin Lingo racked up a respectable 2-2 UFC record in four years with the promotion. On Saturday, he looked to go above .500 with a win against Melquizael Costa at UFC Vegas 77.

Costa, a promising Brazilian talent, was given the tough task of facing once-ranked lightweight Thiago Moises on short notice earlier in 2023. Now, Costa was attempting to notch his first UFC win against Lingo at his natural weight class of featherweight.

Costa’s southpaw stance made it an open stance matchup between him and Lingo. Costa came out with a varied kicking attack from the get-go: leg kicks, round kicks, and teeps. Lingo did the advancing but had trouble closing the distance, cutting the cage, and landing on Costa initially. The body kicks of Costa seemed especially effective and surely would paid dividends later. Kicking kept the range long and Lingo’s boxing heavy attack was ineffective in response. He avoided just about every strike from Lingo and then hurt Austin with front kick to the body halfway through round one.

Lingo recovered and kept fighting but was visibly in pain and dropped his hands to his stomach. Costa did not let up and added spinning body kicks to his arsenal. Melquizael then began to target the head more, both with kicks and punches. When the first round ended it was potentially even a 10-8, as Lingo barely landed any blows and got hurt several times to the body.

The second round saw Lingo get staggered with a left hand right away. He blocked a head kick after that but kept moving forward, showing incredible toughness. He tried to move forward and clinch up, maybe looking for a takedown, but Costa easily avoided it. The body kicks once again tore up the midsection of Lingo. Lingo started to respond with leg kicks but that was about the only type of strike he could land. Lingo finally landed a big strike, hurting Melquizael with a punch and dropping the Brazilian to a knee. Costa got right back up and played it off well, though. He got right back to his body kick-heavy attack and it was just as effective as before. Lingo was more wild now, getting desperate to hurt Costa He landed some good hooks, but it was not enough, he was unquestionably behind still. Costa did stick in the pocket and box more, as time went on though giving Lingo chances to land punches. Despite having one good moment, it seemed Lingo would need a finish to win the fight after two rounds.

The final round saw Lingo essentially running forward. Costa responded with a takedown attempt that was stuffed, but it stifled the pressure momentarily. Lingo then had a big moment, landing a two-piece combo that snapped the head of Costa back. Costa went for a judo throw but Lingo got back to his feet. Body kicks were once again the most important strikes of the round. Lingo will surely not be happy tomorrow morning when he wakes up. Costa landed a flying knee two minutes in followed by a head kick. Lingo then got caught blitzing forward and taken down halfway through the round. Costa got on his back with a hook in, but lost it. He went for a Kimura but Lingo spun out, only for Costa to get his back once more, this time with both hooks in. Costa stayed patient but pounced when he saw the chance, putting the forearm under the chin of Lingo. Austin was able to clear the choke attempt and roll to his back, with Melquizael on top. Lingo turtled up to try and stand up but Costa once again got the rear body-lock. He was able to drag Lingo the mat and attack a rear-naked choke and an arm-in guillotine before the bell, but Austin Lingo survived the full fifteen minutes.

There was not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Melquizael Costa had earned his first UFC win when the judge’s scorecards were read. He looked amazing and has a bright future ahead of him in a stacked UFC featherweight division. All three judges recognized his efforts and awarded him each round, including one judge giving him a 10-8 round.

Official Result: Melquizael Costa def. Austin Lingo by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)