Marvin Vettori defeated Costa via a unanimous decision in the main event of UFC Fight Night 196 from the Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Costa came out throwing heavy leg and body kicks. Vettori countered and caused a slip to the ground by Costa, giving him control of the center of the octagon. However, Costa continued firing those body kicks that caused Vettori to drop his left elbow to defend them.
Costa began slowing down as Vettori was just getting started. Vettori's feints and movement helped him avoid the majority of Costa's power shots. "The Italian Dream" stayed busy with his volume and started touching Costa with his jab and throwing more combinations.
The Italian Dream turning up the pace in round 1<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFCVegas41?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFCVegas41</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MarvinVettori?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarvinVettori</a> <a href="https://t.co/xFck9C0GU6">pic.twitter.com/xFck9C0GU6</a>
Vettori kept the pressure on to start the second round, but Costa landed a big head kick that sent Vettori backing up to the fence. As Costa pressed forward, Vettori somehow managed to stay on his feet despite eating some powerful shots.
Vettori managed to duck under a punch and land a takedown. After they separated off the fence, Costa accidentally poked Vettori in the eye. Referee Jason Herzog took a point away from him after warning him earlier to stop extending his fingers.
Vettori once again pressed forward with feints and combinations to open the third round. Costa managed to land a couple of kicks and punches, but his opponent didn't go anywhere. Vettori continued scoring with straight punches until Costa landed a takedown.
Costa landed some ground strikes before attempting a guillotine choke, but Vettori popped his head right out and ended the round in top position.
Vettori kicked off the fourth round with his trademark pressure as Costa looked content to back up towards the fence. Vettori landed some big shots that got Costa's attention. He began to move forward and throw more power shots, but Vettori continued throwing back.
Vettori's counter left cross landed flush a few times, but Costa didn't go down. Vettori landed a body kick to end the round, and Costa was visibly exhausted.
Vettori was the fresher fighter in the fifth and final round, using his speed to beat Costa to the punch. But Costa continued throwing those hard body kicks, and Vettori finally slowed down.
Vettori started to initiate grappling exchanges, but Costa seemed to gain a second wind and defended every takedown attempt as the fight went to the judges.
After earning the unanimous decision, Vettori said he went for the finish, but Costa's power saved him. Vettori said he knew he would have the cardio advantage and relied on that to secure the win.
Costa gave up 20 percent of his fight purse to Vettori after he decided he would not make the middleweight limit. Costa's camp requested that the fight be moved from 185 pounds to 195 and then finally to 205 pounds.
Vettori and Costa both were coming off losses to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Vettori said he's not chasing the belt right now, but his end goal of becoming a champion hasn't changed.
Here's a look at the complete results and a closer look at the other action on the main card.
- Marvin Vettori def. Paulo Costa via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46)
- Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn declared a majority draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)
- Jessica-Rose Clark def. Joselyne Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Alex Caceres def. Seungwoo Choi via submission (rear-naked choke) (Round 2, 3:31)
- Francisco Trinaldo def. Dwight Grant via split decision (29-27, 27-29, 29-27)
- Nicolae Negumereanu def. Ike Villanueva via TKO (punches) (Round 1, 1:18)
- Gregory Rodrigues def. Jun Yong Park via KO (punches) (Round 2, 3:13)
- Mason Jones def. David Onama via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Tabatha Ricci def. Maria Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jamie Pickett def. Laureano Staropoli via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jai Herbert def. Khama Worthy via TKO (punches) (Round 1, 2:47)
- Jeff Molina def. Daniel Lacerda via TKO (punches) (Round 2, 0:46)
- Randa Markos def. Livinha Souza via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jonathan Martinez def. Zviad Lazishvili via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Grant Dawson vs Ricky Glenn (majority draw)
Grant Dawson looked well on his way to a dominant victory, but Ricky Glenn never gave up and showed why he's a rising prospect in the lightweight division.
Glenn quickly got back to his feet after Dawson's first takedown, but Dawson didn't let the body lock go and got Glenn back to the ground. Glenn defended well and didn't take a lot of damage, but as he tried to get up he gave up his back, and Dawson locked him in a body triangle. Glenn remained composed and survived the round.
Dawson came out in the second round looking for the takedown early. Glenn was able to fend off the first few attempts very nicely, but Dawson was relentless. He slammed Glenn to the ground and landed in side-control.
Dawson maintained top position for the rest of the round, but Glenn again avoided taking any serious damage.
Dawson continued to chase the takedown when the third round started. Glenn, who looked to be the fresher fighter, defended well and landed a knee. Dawson's desperation showed when he couldn't land a takedown and pulled guard, giving up top position to Glenn.
Glenn knew he needed a finish and tried to land hard shots or apply an arm-triangle choke. He cinched in a d'arce choke to end the round, but Dawson survived.
Two judges scored the third round as a 10-8 for Glenn, which led to the majority draw.
The draw ends an eight-fight win streak for Dawson. He will have to diversify his offense and not rely so heavily on his wrestling moving forward.
Jessica-Rose Clark def. Joselyne Edwards
Bantamweights Jessica-Rose Clark and Joselyne Edwards was a classic "grappler vs. striker" matchup, and this time, the grappler was victorious.
Clark opened with an early takedown less than a minute into the fight. But she didn't do much damage to Edwards while she was in top position. Referee Keith Peterson stood them up due to inactivity.
Clark tried to initiate the grappling again, but Edwards defended well this time and reversed position. Once they broke from the clinch, Edwards threw a slick combination and landed a couple of shots. Clark wanted no parts of the striking and got another takedown to end the first round.
Edwards flipped the script and initiated the grappling early in the second round, but Clark clearly had a wrestling advantage and got Edwards to the ground with a single-leg takedown. Clark didn't land many shots on the ground but managed to move into full-mount with about two minutes left in the round. She didn't do much with the advantageous position, though, and Edwards bucked her off towards the end
Knowing that she needed a finish, Edwards came out aggressively in the third round. She showed off her fast hands with a couple of strong combinations. But once again, Clark was able to force the clinch and secure a takedown for the fourth time.
Strong grappling display shown so far by <a href="https://twitter.com/missjessyjess?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MissJessyJess</a>! <br><br>[ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFCVegas41?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFCVegas41</a> live on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ESPNPlus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ESPNPlus</a> ] <a href="https://t.co/0t5QuTdAiF">pic.twitter.com/0t5QuTdAiF</a>
Edwards worked her way back to the feet, but Clark got her down again for her personal-best fifth takedown on her way to a dominant unanimous decision victory. Clark finished with over 10 minutes of ground control time.
It was Clark's first UFC appearance in over a year and her second straight win. While her grappling prowess was on full display, Clark could have upped her aggression and chased a finish. She hopes to be more active this year.
Alex Caceres def. Seungwoo Choi
Featherweights Alex Caceres and Seungwoo Choi both showed flashes of brilliance in their back-and-forth contest.
The two strikers came out firing early, but Choi landed the cleaner and harder shots. He had a big moment midway through the first round when he countered a left kick from Caceres with a big left hand and sent him to the canvas. Choi followed with a flurry but landed an illegal knee while Caceres was on the ground, causing referee Jason Herzog to take a point away.
Caceres tried to break Choi's striking rhythm in the second round by initiating grappling exchanges. But Choi, who had a visible size advantage, easily defended against the early clinch attempts.
But Caceres didn't give up on the grappling. After getting kicked in the body and pushed up against the cage, Caceres made a slick move to jump on Choi's back. He locked in the body triangle while Choi was still standing before sinking in the rear-naked choke. Choi went down to the ground and tapped out.
BRUCE LEEROY with a vintage performance 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/BruceLeeroyGlow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BruceLeeroyGlow</a> sinks in the choke! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFCVegas41?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFCVegas41</a> <a href="https://t.co/IxBX2RwtCW">pic.twitter.com/IxBX2RwtCW</a>
Caceres has now won five fights in a row. He could move into the top 15 in the featherweight division after Saturday's victory.
Francisco Trinaldo def. Dwight Grant
Welterweight veterans Francisco Trinaldo and Dwight Grant fought a close fight that could've gone either way.
Grant opened the first round controlling the distance with his height and reach advantage, but the 43-year-old Trinaldo stayed patient and landed the biggest shots of the round with a couple of overhand lefts.
The second round was much of the same, with Trinaldo controlling the center of the octagon. Grant managed to land a big right hand as Trinaldo threw a kick and turned it into a takedown, but Trinaldo survived the flurry to make it out of the round.
A change in momentum in the 2nd! <br><br>[ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFCVegas41?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFCVegas41</a> live on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ESPNPlus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ESPNPlus</a> ] <a href="https://t.co/pVAEa7NtfW">pic.twitter.com/pVAEa7NtfW</a>
Trinaldo committed two early fouls in the third round, first landing a low blow and then poking Grant in the eye. Referee Mike Beltran took one point from Trinaldo for the second infraction.
After getting the point taken away, Trinaldo fought with more urgency and got Grant to the ground for the first time in the fight. Trinaldo had the clear advantage in the grappling and threatened with submissions before moving into full-mount. Grant survived the round to send the fight to a decision, where two of three judges scored the fight for Trinaldo.
With the win, Trinaldo bounced back from his decision-loss in June and has now been victorious in four of his last five appearances.
Nicolae Negumereanu def. Ike Villanueva
Nicolae Negumereanu opened the main card with a bang, dispatching Ike Villanueva with a TKO less than two minutes into the first round.
Negumereanu and Villanueva came out and started trading shots early. Villanueva had some moments where he got the better of the exchanges and Negumereanu looked to utilize his wrestling advantage. The 27-year-old Romanian light heavyweight prospect pushed Villanueva against the cage but couldn't get him to the ground.
Once they broke off the cage, Negumereanu started throwing with reckless abandon and dropped Villanueva after clipping him behind the ear. Negumereanu followed with more shots on the ground before the referee stepped in 1:18 into the round.
There was a bit of controversy as it looked like Negumereanu landed some shots to the back of Villanueva's head, but the punch that caused the knockdown was a legal blow, so there was no chance of overturning the result. It was Villanueva's fourth loss in his last five UFC appearances, all by KO or TKO.
For Negumereanu, it's his second straight UFC win after losing his promotional debut by unanimous decision. He was already known for his strong wrestling base, but Saturday's performance showed he has the power to finish fights with his striking as well.