Paulo Costa is back in the win column after defeating Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision at UFC 278. Following his two straight losses, the much-needed win improved Costa’s record to 14-2. Despite coming out on top, Costa was not happy with the officials in his fight.
The morning after the fight, Costa took to Twitter to voice his displeasure. Responding to a fan, Costa called out the officials for allowing a timeout after a body shot, something that also happened in his UFC 241 matchup with Yoel Romero. He called for the UFC to begin implementing video assistant referees, as we have seen in other sports.
Costa continued by tweeting out a photo of the body shots that he landed on both Rockhold and Romero, while noting that instead of allowing him to go in for the kill, the referees gave his opponents time to recover.
Fortunately for Costa, the referee’s decision to call an official timeout still ended in him winning on both occasion, however, ‘Borrachinha’ could have arguably gotten an emphatic finish in these bouts.
While it is a judgment call for the official to make, adding a video assistant referee who can quickly review such scenarios would make a lot of sense. It would also discourage fighters from faking an illegal hit to get timeout to recover.
Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold wins “Fight of the Night”
Paulo Costa’s co-main event victory over Luke Rockhold netted both fighters a “Fight of the Night” bonus, something that UFC President Dana White predicted would happen beforehand. It also captivated those around the world by its wildly entertaining ups-and-downs.
Rockhold seemed to tire out as the fight progressed, but showed tremendous heart, as referee Marc Goddard pointed out. At one point near the end of the fight, Rockhold, who announced his retirement after the fight, deliberately smeared his blood over Costa’s face- something that drew an amused smile from Costa.
Despite Costa feeling that he was cheated out of a finish, he came out as the victor. Receiving a fight of the night bonus of fifty thousand dollars should make the victory even sweeter. With this win, Costa has revivified his UFC career, the fan-favourite Brazilian just might surprise us yet.