Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is set to get his desired “wine night” with top-five contender Paulo Costa.
Earlier this year, Rockhold teased his return on Instagram and hinted at “Borrachinha” being his desired opponent. He later shared that sentiment on Submission Radio, expressing a willingness to hunt for Costa’s ‘wine-affected liver’ in June.
Per a report from Combate, while he won’t be getting his wish as early as June, Rockhold will be returning against the Brazilian a month later, with the pair being matched up for UFC 277 on August 20.
The news comes despite Costa recently branding a collision with the unranked Rockhold as the ‘worst-case scenario’ for him. For whatever reason, the former title challenger appears to have accepted the offer placed on his table by the UFC.
Rockhold Returns From Three-Year Absence To Face Costa
With this matchup, Rockhold (16-5) will be returning from a three-year layoff. In his last outing, the 37-year-old was brutally knocked out on his light heavyweight debut by then-future champion Jan Blachowicz.
The 205-pound test came after Rockhold went 1-1 at middleweight following his shock title loss to Michael Bisping in 2017. After rebounding against David Branch, the Californian was knocked out by behemoth Yoel Romero.
Having had his attempt to return to the Octagon against Sean Strickland at Madison Square Garden last November canceled courtesy of a herniated disc, Rockhold was forced to undergo recovery but is anticipating reaching full health this summer.
The man who’ll welcome Rockhold back to action has been a controversial presence of late. Without even mentioning his newfound social media prominence, Costa (13-2) has made headlines in and around his last two Octagon outings.
While a three-round war against Romero took his stock to new heights, a failed title challenge and post-fight excuses, in which he revealed that he’d drank an entire bottle of wine the night before UFC 253, left a bad taste for many.
Although he played his part in a Fight of the Night in his next outing, which he lost on the scorecards to Marvin Vettori last October, Costa’s monumental weight miss and attitude to the infraction certainly didn’t win him over any new fans.
Now, having clearly been successful in convincing the UFC not to force him to transition to light heavyweight permanently, “Borrachinha” will look to force his way back into title contention by adding a third straight loss to the record of former champ Rockhold.
Who do you think will emerge victorious at UFC 277, Paulo Costa or Luke Rockhold?