When Greek Gods turned on each other at the peak of Mount Olympus, whoever was lucky enough to be within watching distance would probably have seen something as wild as Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa.
These were two men who look like what the casual sports fan would probably think of if they were to imagine a cagefighter — swole athletes with fist-like abs, an oversized trapezius, and hulking, vein-popping biceps.
Romero and Costa is what happens when high-powered genetic-anomalies fight, because in the opening round alone, they teed off on each others faces and bodies, exchanging jabs, hook shots, and uppercuts until they had both been knocked down in a flash, electrifying the Honda Center crowd in Anaheim, California.
Neither fighter relented after getting dropped, with Romero upping the pace further with a flying knee. Feral striking led to an accidental low blow when Costa struck Romero’s groin with his kneecap, leaving the Cuban gesticulating theatrically on the floor, then against the fence when he had finally gotten back to his feet.
With Costa’s expert punching, he fought his fight against a veteran renowned for his wrestling, and that continued into the second round when he pressured Romero with an extraordinary come-forward style. Romero finally scored a takedown late in the round but it was too late to affect the score, with Costa doing enough to win both of the opening rounds.
In the third, Romero landed two uppercuts in quick succession, before having to absorb a potentially body-buckling kick from Costa. With around 90 seconds left on the fight clock, Romero and Costa put their hands behind their backs as if to goad the other into attack-happy battle. The fight finished as it started, with insanity.
On the ESPN+ broadcast, Joe Rogan said: “That was one of the rare fights that lived up to all of the hype — amazing.”
All three judges scored the fight the same, 29-28 to the winner, Costa, who extended his fight record to 13-0 (11 by knockout, one by submission) having gone the distance with Romero, who saw his record drop to 16-4 because of defeat.
“I train like a crazy man [to] fight against this beast,” Costa said in the middle of the Octagon. “This guy [he gestures Romero to him] thank you, thank you very much.”
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