A major middleweight fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa has been officially announced for UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on October 21st.
Costa had been hinting on social media that this match-up was in the works, but Chimaev had denied it yesterday, claiming he had a bigger fight booked.
However, it seems the Brazilian star was right, and that confirms his originally booked fight against Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 later this month has been cancelled, with Aliskerov now also moving to UFC 294 to fight Nassourdine Imavov instead.
And so Costa now finds himself in a much bigger match-up as he looks to build on a win over Luke Rockhold in a somewhat bizarre and scrappy fight back in August of last year.
Before that the previously unbeaten Costa had lost two fights in a row, starting with an underwhelming performance in a TKO loss against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, which he later blamed on drinking too much wine the night before the bout to help him sleep.
Costa then showed up to fight week for his next bout against Marvin Vettori drastically and unapologetically overweight, which led to it being moved to light-heavyweight on short-notice, though he still lost by unanimous decision.
At his best Costa is still a force to be reckoned with though, which is why the UFC re-signed him to a bumper new deal earlier this year, but his patchy form pales in comparison to the undefeated 12-0 Chimaev, who has yet to find his equal in the Octagon.
Along the way he’s won six fights in the UFC, with his toughest test so far being against Gilbert Burns at welterweight, who became the first fighter to take him to the scorecards, though he still won by unanimous decision, while he’s also beaten the likes of Li Jingliang and most recently Kevin Holland.
Chimaev vs. Costa joins a UFC 294 card in Abu Dhabi that will be headlined by a lightweight title rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira.