Sean Strickland Defeats Paulo Costa By Split Decision At UFC 302

Sean Strickland was able to constantly march down Paulo Costa on his way to a split-decision victory tonight at UFC 302.

Round One:

Solid calf kick from Costa. He lands it again. Front kick to the body from Strickland. Another low kick from Costa, who looks sharp.

Front kick from Strickland again. Costa loads up on a calf kick but misses this time. Strickland tries for a front kick again and gets caught by a punch.

Costa punches to the body. Strickland marching forward and continuing to work front kicks to the body. Costa punching to the body.

Leg kick from Costa. Front kick from Strickland. He lands it again. No backwards steps from Strickland. Calf kick for Costa. Jab lands for Strickland. He lands a reaching jab now. Front kicks from both legs from Strickland.

Costa targest the body with a punch again. Costa attempts a head kick but doesn’t get through, then Strickland lands a punch that knocks Costa off-balance to the mat for a moment.

Front kick for Strickland. Costa with a spinning kick attempt to the body that doesn’t land. Strickland has Costa constantly having to move back.

Round Two:

Front kick to the body from Costa now. Calf kick from Strickland. Solid calf kick from Costa. A couple of punches graze the target from Costa. He goes back to the calf kick.

Costa punches to the body and then back to the calf. Jab from Strickland. Calf kick for Costa. Strickland back to marching forward. Body punch from Costa. He lands it again. Jab from Strickland and tries to follow up with the right hand but doesn’t connect with it.

Strickland feeling out with those front kicks. Costa comes up short trying to land to the body. Jab for Strickland.

Low kick from Costa but Strickland checked it. Front kick to the body and a jab from Strickland. Strickland checking the low kicks better now.

Costa still lands a low kick though. Solid kick for him. Now a jab. Wheel kick attempt from Costa is blocked.

Repeated push kick attempts from Strickland and then lands a clean jab that knocks Costa off-balance to a knee. Costa rights himself and waves Strickland forward. Strickland obliges by continuing to march forward as he has been doing for much of the fight.

Round Three:

Costa punches to the body. Front kick to the body for Strickland. Costa tries for the leg kick but it’s checked. Body punch for Costa. He loads up on a heavier one to the midsection. Another checked leg kick from Strickland.

Strickland with a rare flurry of punches and Costa backs off and grins, but he’s soaked in sweat, while Strickland still looks fresh.

Kick from Costa. He goes to the leg and Strickland checks it, which seems to hurt Costa.

Nice three-piece combo from Strickland. He lands again as he starts to open up more with his straight punches.

Costa breathing heavier. He aborts on a spinning kick attempt. He tries that again to the body and commits to it but comes up short.

Low kick from Costa. Costa misses a kick and then punches to the body. Light front kicks from Strickland. Chopping leg kick to the thigh from Costa.

Body punch from Costa. Straight punches from Strickland. Heavy one-two from Costa snaps Strickland’s head back.

Now a solid one-two from Strickland. Light front kicks to the body from Strickland and then loads up on a big strike to end the round.

Round Four:

Light inside leg kick from Strickland. Back to the front kick for Strickland. Jab for him. Costa lands to the body.

Grazing right hook from Strickland. Kick from Costa is checked. Body kick for Costa. Left hand gets through for Costa as Strickland moves forward. Front kick from Strickland. Now a right hand gets through for the former champ.

A series of punches land for Strickland though without much power. Solid right hand over the top for Costa. High kick attempt from Costa.

Jab for Strickland. Nice jab again for him. Calf kick connects solidly for Costa. Side kick to the body from the Brazilian.

Jab for Costa. A few grazing puinches get through for Strickland. Solid body punch from Costa and then a low kick. Jab lands for him too.

Strickland throws out his front kicks. Low kick for Costa. Strickland whiffs on a few punches. Short flurry from Strickland in close but Costa’s guard was up.

Round Five:

Body punch for Costa. He lands there again. Jab for Strickland as Costa goes to the body again. Now a calf kick for Costa.

Jab for Strickland and avoids return-fire from Costa. Leg kick from Costa is checked. Strickland catches a kick but doesn’t do anything with it.

Solid body kick for Costa. Now a jab for him. Push kick from Costa. Strickland not landing too much so far in the round but does then get through with a straight punch down the pipe. Now back to the push kicks for him as Costa lands to the body with punches.

Strickland lands to the body again with that front kick. Jab gets through. Now a jab from Costa. Strickland lands his again followed by the front kick.

Another front kick for Strickland. Jab for Costa. He goes back to jabbing the body. Strickland works his jab.

Strickland lands a punch as Costa was trying for a spinning kick. Combo of punches from Strickland as he suddenly comes to life late in the round. He’s pressing forward more aggressively now and throws out more punches and a head kick that’s blocked but still knocks Costa off-balance. He seems ok but still under pressure here as Strickland ends the round in the ascendancy throwing jumping kicks.


Costa’s leg kicks seemed like an effective weapon early in the fight, but instead of backing down Strickland just kept pressing forward relentlessly, managing to check the kicks more often and use his front kicks, jab and occasional flurry of punches to keep the momentum going, eventually leading him to a split-decision victory (46-49, 50-45, 49-46), with one judges nod in favor of Costa standing out like a sore thumb next to the other two scorecards.

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