Sean Strickland Outpoints Paulo Costa In Alarming Split Decision Win – UFC 302 Results (Highlights)

Strickland didn't think he and Costa lived up to the hype at UFC 302; judges couldn't agree on decision.

Strickland 302
(via @sportscenter - X)

The road back to the title starts now for Sean Strickland and it’s anything but easy.

In his first fight since losing the championship to Dricus Du Plessis, Strickland will face game contender Paulo Costa in a special five-round co-main event to UFC 302. The middleweights meet head-on from the Prudential Center in Newark New, Jersey, looking to bounce back from a loss and reinsert themselves into the title mix all at the same time.

Costa finds strength in schedule, fighting again after going three rounds with former champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 298. Brazil’s Costa didn’t get his hand raised versus Whittaker, but nearly took out “The Reaper” with a spinning back kick in the opening round. The performance was enough to earn him a shot against a top contender and no one higher than #1 seed Strickland.

Proud American Strickland’s more than happy to be fighting on home soil after massive showings on other shores. Super stardom in Sydney, controversial contest in Canada and now a new start for the former champ in New Jersey? We’ll see this Saturday from Newark.

Round 1:

Leg kicks lands for Costa. Strickland walks forward, throwing out the teep kick. Costa throws big shots to the head of Strickland that just miss. Front kicks are feinted out the wazoo from “Tarzan”. Costa tags the body of Strickland. Costa throws a leg kick. More leg kicks pile up for Costa. Strickland is careful covering range across the Octagon. Strickland gets Costa’s attention with a big exchange. 

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Costa

Round 2:

Strickland pumps out the front kick while Costa returns with a kick to the leg. Strickland eats a hard leg kick and then another. Strickland changes his movement to avoid more leg kicks. Strickland checks a kick from Costa. Strickland presses with a jab. Strickland avoids the clinch with Costa. Costa throws a spinning wheel kick as commentator Joe Rogan questions when is the strike going to come, funnily enough. Strickland stuns Costa with a left hand over the top that sends “The Eraser” backwards, almost falling to the canvas. 

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 3:

Costa attacks to the body with a punch. Strickland clips Costa with multiple shots in the pocket. Costa appears to be in trouble but shrugs it off with a smile. Strickland checks another kick from Costa. Strickland connects with a left hand as he marches forward on the Brazilian. Costa and Strickland trade on the feet but not to much avail overall with several strikes not meeting their mark or the criteria of significance. Costa lands a leg kick and Strickland returns with a combo coming in.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 4:

Strickland lands a left hand. Costa goes to work with a low leg kick. Glancing shot lands for Strickland. Costa times an uppercut. Strickland stays the aggressor, firing teep kicks here and there. Costa throws a big right hand that partially finds its target. Strickland touches up Costa with punches. Costa mixes in his strikes well going upstairs with punches and down low with kicks. Strickland fires a combo on the inside. Strickland swings big with a punch that misses.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 5:

Costa kicks to the body. Costa lunges forward with a right hand. Strickland defends well against Costa’s oncoming attacks. Costa works to the body. Costa lands a body kick. Strickland lands the jab. Strickland and Costa both aren’t able to get off much shots in this round, with each being defensively sound.

Strickland finds a right hand on Costa, who then swarms the Brazilian with even more strikes. Strickland sees red and continues to throw wildly as the remaining seconds on the clock tick by. Strickland throws a headkick that sends Costa off balance, down to the ground. Costa gets back up to face a frenzy from Strickland. Costa survives to see the scorecards after Strickland caps it off with a jumping front kick like they’re in Sparta, not New Jersey. (Question: Isn’t there a Sparta, New Jersey?)

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Official result: Sean Strickland defeats Paulo Costa via split decision (46-49, 50-45, 49-46)

Check out the highlights below:

Published on June 2, 2024 at 12:34 am
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