Former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping has compared Paulo Costa’s size at UFC Vegas 41 to that of his bitter rival Vitor Belfort “on steroids.”
The lead-up to this past weekend’s main event wasn’t without controversy. Costa was scheduled to meet fellow former title challenger Marvin Vettori in a middleweight contest on the Apex’s 41st Fight Night card. After revealing his size and inability to make the 186-pound limit during fight week, the bout was first moved to a 195-pound catchweight, before being bumped up again to light heavyweight.
Despite many criticizing Costa’s conduct, the seemingly light 20% purse penalty, and suggesting Vettori should have refused to face “The Eraser,” both men delivered a thrilling brawl in Saturday’s headliner. While he appeared to tire early, Costa maintained his power and hard-hitting style until the 25th minute. But while he found some success and hit Vettori with some clean shots, it was “The Italian Dream” who pushed the pace and landed at a higher volume. After five rounds, Vettori was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
Costa Reminds Bisping Of An Old Rival
Whilst many have continued to slam Costa in the aftermath of the memorable Fight of the Year contender, UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping has made sure to credit “Borrachinha” for his performance on the night.
However, he also didn’t forget to give the Brazilian the criticism he deserved after the way he acted in the days leading up to his contest with Vettori. Speaking during an appearance on The MMA Hour this week, “The Count” described the weight debacle as “inexcusable.”
“I take my hat off to both of them. What an incredible fight… Regarding the weight-cutting thing, I’m always hard on people who don’t make weight. There’s only two things we can control, you turn up in shape, and on weight. If you’re not doing that, you’re not fulfilling your contractual and your professional obligations. You’re disrespecting the sport, you’re disrespecting your opponent, your team, and you’re disrespecting yourself as well.
“I like Paulo. I’m a fan of his and the way he carries himself, I have no issue with him. But that whole debacle was kind of inexcusable. He wasn’t apologetic, he didn’t really care, it was 195 (pounds) then it was 205. It’s not what you wanna see. It was very regrettable. But, it’s in the past and Marvin got the win anyway. Had he been beaten, I think I’d feel differently and I think a lot of people, especially Marvin, would feel differently.”
Bisping went on to laud both Costa and Vettori for putting on an entertaining fight. The Englishman especially praised the Italian for withstanding the powerful shots Costa was landing. Commenting on the Brazilian’s size and strength, Bisping compared “The Eraser” to “Vitor Belfort on steroids.”
“He [Vettori] got the win, and he got the win in an incredible fight. I mean, how Marvin Vettori took those shots, took that head kick. Costa was ripping to the body. of course, Vettori out landed him, he was working busier, but the big, nasty, disgusting shots that echoed around the bloody Apex when they landed, all belonged to Costa. And he looked gigantic in there. Marvin’s a big guy, he’s a big, strong, scary dude, but Costa looked like the Incredible Hulk, he almost looked like Vitor Belfort on steroids… he was scary, but Marvin took all those shots and never took a backward step pretty much. I have so much respect for both men.”
Bisping and Belfort had a well-documented feud. The pair collided in the Octagon at UFC on FX 7. In the main event, “The Phenom” finished “The Count” with a brutal head kick in the second round. As a result, Bisping suffered a detached retina, which has led to further eye complications in the years since.
Bisping’s issue with Belfort derives from the fact the Brazilian was using testosterone replacement therapy at the time of their fight. The former 185-pound champ has previously slammed his former opponent for, in his mind, cheating and gaining an unfair advantage in order to hurt people.
What did you make of Paulo Costa’s performance against Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 41?