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Former UFC title contender blames loss to Adesanya on ‘too much wine’

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UFC President Dana White places the championship belt on Israel Adesanya of Nigeria after defeating Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 on 27 September 2020, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Paulo Costa, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title contender has claimed that his defeat at the hands of Israel Adesanya on 27 September 2020 was down to drinking too much wine.

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The Brazilian-born fighter suffered a second-round TKO defeat to UFC middleweight champion Adesanya in Abu Dhabi in what was the biggest fight of the former’s mixed martial arts career.

In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Costa pointed at lack of sleep as one of the reasons why he couldn’t perform so well at UFC 253, revealing he drank a bottle of wine the night he fought “The Last Stylebender” on Fight Island in an attempt to get some sleep.

Costa said Adesanya had “all the merits for knocking me out,” but was impaired the moment he entered the octagon.

“I was kind of drunk [when] I fought, maybe, on a hangover,” Costa said in Portuguese. “I couldn’t sleep because of the [leg] cramps. Keep in mind that the fight happens at 9 AM [local time], we have to wake up at 5 AM to get ready, stretch, wrap the hands. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 AM in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30 AM.

“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do] but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle [of wine] to try to blackout. I had a glass and it didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle didn’t work. I had it all,” said the fighter known to UFC fans as Borrachinha.

“It was a different feeling. I’m always very active in every fight. There’s some apprehension, fear of getting hit and whatnot, so you’re on. In this fight, the championship fight, I was sleepy, yawning and unworried. It was odd. I didn’t feel anything, not even an agony, ‘Wow, I’m fighting for the title.’ Not even that. I was too calm. All that calm freaked me out.”

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Costa returns to action on April 17, facing former champion Robert Whittaker in a five-round main event in Las Vegas, and promises fans will see “an aggressive Borrachinha.”

“Aside from the Adesanya fight where many things happened, many factors that didn’t allow me to get there well, it will be the same Paulo of always, going for the knockout at all times,” he said.

“That’s who I am. I haven’t changed. The thing is, I was 20, 10 per cent of my capacities in the Adesanya fight. We had to change the strategy in the locker-room. ‘Don’t attack him, just wait for the first two rounds,’ which was a mistake. Today we know that was a mistake, but talking is easy.

“The right thing would have been not fighting the way I was, because I was different. I was different because I was in horrible conditions. I didn’t sleep, I had leg cramps all the time, before walking out to the octagon, in the locker-room. There are many things we can say, but won’t be the case for this video. But the athletic commission came to the locker-room twice to check my leg, to remove the oil we had on it to have a massage. But, I’ll say it again, I was very confident. I wanted to fight, I thought I could do it. I just think the strategy was wrong, to not attack him,” he added.


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