Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at Brazilian Paulo Henrique Costa as he makes his UFC debut against South African Garreth McLellan at UFC Fight Night 106 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Paulo Henrique Costa Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil Age: 25 Height: 6-foot Reach: NA Weight Class: Middleweight Camp: Champion Team Career Record: 8-0 Key Wins: None Key Losses: None Background The Brazilian middleweight first began fighting professionally five years ago. He’s won all seven of his professional fights by finish. Strengths

  • Likes to be on the front foot as the aggressor in his bouts
  • Powerful combinations
  • Combines body kicks well
  • Heavy, knockout-caliber ground-and-pound
  • Transitions quickly on the ground to latch in submissions

Weaknesses

  • Needs to improve striking defense
  • Output really decreases in the second and third rounds
  • Doesn’t have cardio suited for a three round fight

Fighter Grade Offensive Striking: C Striking Defense: D Knockout Power: C Athleticism / Speed: C- Footwork: C- Chin: C- Offensive Wrestling: D+ Takedown Defense: C- Submissions: D+ Conditioning: F Intangibles: C- Overall Grade: D+ Matchup with Garreth McLellan Costa makes his UFC debut against the South African McLellan. Costa first burst on the UFC scene on a season of TUF Brazil. He appeared to have a lot of promise but lost in the semifinals to Lyoto Alexandre when his conditioning gave out on him in the second half of the fight. From a talent perspective, there’s no question in my mind that Costa is the superior fighter. He’s faster, more creative and hits harder than McLellan. Furthermore, his takedown defense is good enough to stuff McLellan’s attempts. Costa should be able to impose his will early in this fight and hurt his opponent. I think he’s able to hurt McLellan with one of his heavy hook punches and then follow up with the finish. If he’s unable to get a first-round finish, this fight becomes interesting. McLellan doesn’t have amazing cardio himself, but he does have more to offer in this regard to Costa. While the most likely result is an early Costa stoppage, I can also see a scenario where McLellan earns a come-from-behind victory late in the fight. This fight comes down to if McLellan can weather the early storm. UFC Ceiling Costa has an offensive skill set which should resonate in the UFC’s middleweight division. He combines strikes well and does a nice job of mixing in leg kicks to the body. His takedown defense is pretty good, and when he does get opponents to the mat, he has excellent ground-and-pound. If fights were always just five minutes in length, he’d be an excellent prospect and a sure-fire future Top 15 middleweight. However, fights are 15 minutes in length, and Costa has yet to show he can fight for 15 minutes at a consistent pace. It’s his conditioning that will determine just how well he will do in the UFC. If he can improve his endurance, he will have a lengthy career in the promotion. Fight Film Check out Costa in some of his most recent fights… Costa vs. Lyoto Alexandre (TUF Brazil Exhibition on Fight Pass) https://www.ufc.tv/video/marcio-alexandre-junior-vs-paulo-costa-the-ultimate-fighter-brazil-3 Costa vs. Adriano Balby Costa vs. Eduardo Ramon


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