Paulo Costa is looking fit as a fiddle weeks before his highly anticipated return to the Octagon this month.
Costa, a one-time middleweight title challenger, will make his first appearance of 2023 as the promotion heads back to Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City for UFC 291. In the main event of the evening, fans will be treated to a rematch five years in the making as top-ranked lightweight contenders Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier run back their 2018 classic.
Fans will also get their first glimpse of former middleweight champion Alex Pereira at 205 as ‘Poatan’ is set to square off with former light heavyweight world champion Jan Blachowicz.
The main card’s featured bout will see Paulo Costa return to take on Russian standout Ikram Aliskerov. Ahead of their main card clash later this month, Costa offered up a look at his training whilst showing off his shredded physique in a video clip shared on social media.
FIXED! Now audio is running Gourmet 🧁 Chen Chen is dead 🧢 MR SECRET JUICE IS PURE MADNESS 🧃 pic.twitter.com/bALhVAOZOP
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) July 14, 2023
Paulo Costa rides into the contest with a solid 14-2 record, his only losses coming against reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and fellow top contender Marvin Vettori. His last appearance came in August 2022 when he squared off with the returning Luke Rockhold at UFC 278. The bout was both entertaining and odd, but Costa ultimately escaped with a unanimous decision victory.
Since then, Paulo Costa has been going back and forth with the promotion in hopes of securing a bigger bag for himself. According to the man himself, he did exactly that, signing a new contract worth upwards of $1 million per fight.
At UFC 291, we’ll find out if the No. 7 ranked middleweight is worth the investment when he faces the unranked Ikram Aliskerov. With a record of 14-1, Aliskerov will be looking to land a spot in the 185-pound division’s top ten after dispatching Phil Hawes in his promotional debut at UFC 288 in May.