MMA: UFC 248-Adesanya vs Romero

Initially delayed twice by injury and quarantine, the long-awaited UFC middleweight title bout between champion Israel Adesanya and Brazilian slugger Paulo Costa is finally a go. Adesanya (19-0) will make the second defense of his 185-pound title on Saturday, Sept. 19 in the main event of UFC 253, according to an initial report from Combate. A site has not been finalized although the pay-per-view card is expected to take place in Las Vegas. 

Both ESPN and MMA Fighting have since confirmed the news of the title fight as official. 

Costa (13-0) was forced to pull out of their initially-scheduled bout in March due to a shoulder injury. Adesanya, 30, instead took on veteran contender Yoel Romero at UFC 248 and came away with a close decision in a fight littered with inactivity. 

The beef between the two fighters began last October when Adesanya knocked out Robert Whittaker to unify the middleweight title in Australia. Costa, who was fresh off his own decision win over Romero, sat cageside and shared words with the new champion. The same scenario played out after Adesanya edged Romero and security was forced to prevent Costa from entering the cage. 

The matchup between the unbeaten rising stars is expected to be everything Adesanya-Romero wasn't considering Costa's straight-ahead style of pressure and power shots. It's a style which should mesh perfectly with the calculated counter-striker in Adesanya, who has rapidly climbed the pound-for-pound rankings after storming onto the scene for his Octagon debut in 2018.