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MMA Preview: UFC 302 – Sean Strickland (28-6-0) vs Paulo Costa (14-3-0)

Sean Strickland is a former UFC Middleweight champ who lost his championship belt to Dricus du Plessis in January. If he wants to get another shot at the title, he needs to get back on the winning track.

Unfortunately for him, this seems like a big ask considering that he’s fighting Paulo Costa at UFC 302

Sean Strickland is a brawler who likes hurting opponents and doesn’t mind getting hurt. He was given a shot at the title for literally saying yes to every fight. In the last two years, he fought three fights per year. Arguably the best performance of his entire career was in the title fight with Israel Adesanya, which he won by a unanimous decision. Strickland landed 137 significant strikes against the kickboxing genius and got hit only 94 times.

He failed to make a title defense, though. Dricus du Plessis took the title away from him, beating him by a split decision. Strickland landed 173 strikes, while getting hit 137 times. The reason why he lost is that the South African fighter landed 6 takedowns.

Now, he’s fighting against Paulo Costa, whose fighting style isn’t too dissimilar to the one of du Plessis. Could this be a problem for Strickland?

Paulo Costa is like Strickland in the sense that he lands a lot of strikes and is not afraid to get hit. He’s also liked du Plessis in the sense that he’s got many weapons in his arsenal.

Costa is no stranger to making takedowns and despite winning only once by submission in his career, there’s no denying that he’s a very good grappler.

Still, ahead of his fight with Strickland at UFC 302 in New Jersey, his biggest advantage seems to be his power. He looks huge in photos he’s been posting on social media. Costa’s training footage also shows him to be in top shape, suggesting that Strickland is in trouble..

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