UFC 278: Paulo Costa bests Luke Rockhold in wild, wacky, exhausting affair | Video

The lead-up to Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold was nothing short of weird. Costa called Rockhold old and Rockhold mainly complained about the UFC. But overall, many expected it would be a quick bout with Costa’s hand raised at the end of the night.

That didn’t exactly happen.

Costa took control of the fight early, dropping Rockhold early and scrambled. Costa controlled much of the round, but Rockhold landed a series of body kicks on Costa and they clinched to end the round. Costa didn’t get that first-round finish many thought he would and now fans wondered if Costa’s cardio could last two more rounds.

At the bell Rockhold looked incredibly tired, mouth wide open and hands on his knees. He told his coach, “He’s exhausting” before the bell for ring two sounded.

Rockhold came out of the round like a new man landing body kicks and a takedown, but the onslaught didn’t last long and Costa took back control of the round. Then Rockhold cam back landing kick after kick, Costa was now showing the wear and fighting with his mouth open. Both men looked spent as they traded huge shots against the cage.

The fight broke briefly for the referee to warn Rockhold about his fingers and they went back into the round with just over two minutes left.

When it began Costa landed a hard groin strike, dropping Rockhold and the fight and Costa began to celebrate. While recovering Costa sat on the canvas and Rockhold rubbed the blood across his own face. The fight was just absolute chaos.

This time the round resumed again, just over 1:30 left in the second round. They traded shots again to end the round.

The third and final round was as sloppy and wild as anything we’ve seen. They traded strikes, each looking to drop the other and end the misery of the fight. It was clear they were both absolutely exhausted. Three minutes left and Rockhold faceplants, tripping himself and Costa pounced holding him down until Rockhold reversed and then rubbed his blood all over Costa’s face.

There was no love lost between these two men, and that’s clear.

It went to the scorecards and the win was clear for Costa.