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Israel Adesanya: Paulo Costa ‘doesn’t really mix it up,’ loses to Robert Whittaker at UFC 298

Israel Adesanya believes Robert Whittaker has more tools to win than Paulo Costa.

Whittaker (24-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) takes on Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 298 (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+) co-main event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Former middleweight champion Adesanya has knocked out both fighters in title fights but expects Whittaker’s grappling to play a key factor. He believes Costa’s approach is limited.

“Stylistically, I will say I think Rob’s going to wrestle him,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Rob can definitely land the takedown. Maybe not early on. Early on, I think it’d be f*cking hard. Rob will be at the distance. Faints, pump faking, doing his f*cking oblique kick. Costa will – I don’t think he’ll try and bait Rob or anything like that. I think he’ll go to Rob. I think he might not respect Rob unless Rob gets some respect straight away with the jab or his leg kicks or right hand or something.

“Costa will try and walk him down. If Rob’s smart, don’t get to the fence because that’s when he’ll bully you. Use good footwork. If Rob ends up behind the black line, that’s when Costa’s going to put that pressure and just try and body work him, because he does his best work when people are on the fence. Footwork from Rob to stay away from the fence. Costa to win, he just has to maybe – he doesn’t really mix it up. He barely kicks, like low kicks or anything. He likes to box, boxing heavy. I think against Rob that’s very limited.”

Adesanya predicts that former champion Whittaker will get his hand raised.

“I feel Rob will win by decision, UD (unanimous decision),” Adesanya concluded. “He’s going to land a couple takedowns. Depends who shows up. He might rock Costa, but I don’t think so.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie