UFC 278 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold: Choose This Co-headliner to Win by KO (Saturday, August 20)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Paulo Costa
- Paulo Costa is a big favorite in Saturday's UFC 278 headliner.
- Manpreet Jhass breaks down the matchup and offers up a prop bet with shorter odds for Costa.
Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold Odds
Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns after three years to take on Paulo Costa in a pivotal matchup on Saturday at UFC 278.
This high-stakes middleweight matchup serves as the co-main-event to the big Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards rematch.
Rockhold is riding a two-fight losing skid in which he has been brutally finished. The most recent knockout came at the hands of Jan Blachowicz in July 2019.
Costa is also riding is a two-fight skid, but he's been the more active of the two with three fights during the time Rockhold has been sidelined.
Will Rockhold make a successful return? Or will the raw power of Costa be too much for him to handle? Read on as we break down the matchup and look for betting angles.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||10:03||7:22|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||4/21/1991||10/17/1984|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||6.85||4.18|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||7.02||2.43|
|Take Down Avg||0.21||0.67|
In recent years Rockhold has aligned himself with a smaller gym to get more focused training, now being led into battle by boxing wiz Jason Pirillo.
Rockhold's striking and grappling are both elite. He has devastating kicks that can crumple any man. He has sneaky head kicks that he uses with his long and lanky frame. When he’s able to ground his opponents, he can unleash devastating ground and pound, or use his Brazilian jiu-jitsu to find submission opportunities.
Had it not been for nagging injuries and his durability issues, he could have gone down as one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the UFC Octagon. With Rockhold turning 38 in October, it seems like his career is coming to a close and he won't have the opportunity to make a case for that argument.
This weekend's opponent, Costa, is a nightmare matchup for Rockhold considering the knockout power he possesses.
With 11 of his 13 professional MMA wins coming via knockout, it is easy to see why Costa is such a massive favorite.
Considering Paulo has shot for only two takedowns in seven UFC appearances, it's clear what his game plan usually entails.
The question mark surrounding Costa is his motivation to compete. We all remember the debacle of a fight week he had leading up to his recent fight against Marvin Vettori. On fight week he demanded the fight be moved up 20 pounds to light heavyweight because he essentially didn't feel like cutting weight. Surprisingly, he still went in there and gave us a solid performance, showing that even on his worst day he can be competitive with the top guys.
Based on everything I've seen up to this week, he seems to be in phenomenal shape.
Call me fatty now 😡 pic.twitter.com/BdIB6Cw6i5
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) July 27, 2022
The other storyline is that this is the last fight on his contract with the UFC. He may be looking for a highlight-reel finish to have some leverage in the negotiating room.
Last week I told people not to get enamored by guys who are reliant on finishes to get their hand raised.
However, the difference between David Onama and Paulo Costa is that Costa is already proven to be a high-level fighter.
Costa vs. Rockhold Pick
I've been battling with myself all week to build up the confidence to back the big underdog price on Rockhold, but it's hard to watch his most recent performances and not believe that Costa will find that finish at a certain point.
If Rockhold's chin does hold up, this price will look like an absolute steal. I believe he still has the skill set to compete at a high level, I just don't think his body will allow him to.
Costa is just too explosive and has too much power for me to have any confidence in backing the dog here.
If you enjoy a sweat, Rockhold at odds of about +300 is the spot for you. He can win minutes and chip away at Paulo. However, once the fight starts, I think it's just a matter of time before Costa finds the button.
The current 78% implied odds on Costa is a tad wide; I'd adjust it ever so slightly to 70%
However, the implied odds of Costa by knockout is around 60%, and I think there's value there. A lot of his success here is rooted in him finding that chin and turning off the lights. If I were to make a bet at all, it would be Costa by knockout, down to -190.
The Pick: Paulo Costa via Knockout -150 (DraftKings)