4-ranked middleweight contender Paulo Costa welcomed back former division champion Luke Rockhold in the UFC 278 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, which took taking place tonight (Saturday August 20, 2022) inside Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rockhold dropped his belt to Michael Bisping in June 2016 and has had just one victory at 185 pounds since, a stoppage of David Branch more than four years ago. Costa, meanwhile, is coming off a truly bizarre loss to Marvin Vettori, which was contested at the last minute at Light Heavyweight due to a bicep injury. This time around, Costa looked the part, while Rockhold was weird all fight week.

Nonetheless, when the dust finally settled, it was Costa who was able to endure 15 minutes of back-and-forth action, turning Rockhold to bloody mush en route to a competitive unanimous decision.


DIRECT! Watch UFC 278 PPV on ESPN+ here!

BLOCKBUSTER WELTERWEIGHT REMATCH! The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, August 20, 2022, for the first time in more than five years, headlined by a blockbuster welterweight championship bout that will see Kamaru Usman run it again with the candidate ranked #2, Leon Edwards. In the UFC 278 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, middleweight contender No. 4, Paolo Costaaims to spoil the return of the former 185-pound champion, Luke Rockhold. And last but not least, former featherweight champion and all-time great, Jose Aldoalso returns to bantamweight action!

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punch action!

Costa came out of his corner with speed, Rockhold keeping him at bay with front kicks. He tried to close the distance with a takedown attempt, which Costa half-stuffed, then continued to drill him with short shots until Rockhold could escape. On the restart, Costa chased Rockhold down the cage, with the former champion essentially pulling guard to avoid heavy hits. Costa landed in half guard, Rockhold pressing him to his chest to avoid the ground and pound her. Costa finally secured the mount and started landing hard punches, with Rockhold threatening with a guillotine to avoid damage. With two minutes remaining, Rockhold got back to his feet, using kicks to rack up the points. Rockhold appears to be dealing with a compromised nose, mouth open and bloody. Nice right hand from Rockhold at the end of the round, with both fighters looking seriously exhausted.

Rockhold with a huge backhand left to open the second stanza, followed by a hard kick to the ribs. He tried to turn it into a takedown, but Costa backed out the back door. Shot to the body, then a huge left hook from Costa along the fence. Hard kick from Costa, with Rockhold winging an injured left hand. He had enough energy for a 360-degree roundhouse kick and a follow-up shot that stung Costa. Big exchange along the cage, then Rockhold with some hard kicks as they got back to the middle. Brief stoppage by the ref for an accidental peek, with Costa chasing Rockhold on the restart. He landed a huge – absolutely huge – nutty uppercut from Rockhold. It was a blessing in disguise as an exhausted Rockhold is/was on the verge of collapse. After a short break, Costa was back on the hunt. Low inside kick from Rockhold, followed by a back kick, Costa responding with a hard inside leg kick. Huge kick from Costa in the final seconds, Rockhold running away as the seconds melted away on the clock.

Rockhold appeared on both judges’ scorecards and would need a miracle to turn the tide. And he hurt it early with a nice knee, following Costa to the canvas, but he was sloppy in the follow-up and couldn’t control it on the ground. When they regained their footing, they exchanged huge blows, with Costa stalking him. But Rockhold was playing a small opossum, drilling him with a huge jab that knocked him back. He followed it up moments later with a crescent kick, then dove for an ill-advised takedown, which slowed his momentum. Costa worked from side control, talking right into Rockhold’s ear while pinning him to the mat. Rockhold gave up his back and Costa took it, opting for a rear choke. Rockhold fought wrists and punched back, looking to spin onto his stomach. Rockhold was able to backtrack with 30 seconds to go, wiping his blood all over Costa’s face, until the final buzzer sounded.

Rockhold has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) after a very tough fight.

Final result: Costa defeats. Rockhold by unanimous decision


remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right herestarting from the beginning ESPN+ Online “Preliminaries” matches, which are due to start at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8:00 p.m. ET, prior to the PPV main card start time at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+ VPP.

For all the latest and greatest UFC 278: ‘Usman vs. Edwards 2’ news and notes, be sure to check out our full event archive here.

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