Israel Adesanya made it look easy against Paulo Costa, rolling to a TKO victory in the second round to retain his UFC middleweight title in the main event Saturday night at UFC 253 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The stoppage came at 3 minutes, 59 seconds.
Adesanya went to work on Costa’s lead leg early on, whipping several hard kicks that left visible bruises on the challenger’s shin. The normally active Costa was kept at bay in Round 1 as Adesanya used his quickness to evade Costa’s pressure.
Adesanya continued to attack the leg in the second round and opened up a cut near Costa’s left eye with a head kick. The beginning of the end for Costa came when Adesanya evaded a left hook and floored him with a counter left. Costa tried to recover, but Adesanya quickly mounted him and landed several hammer fists to earn the finish.
Adesanya (20-0), who won the title last October with a TKO of Robert Whittaker, made his second defense Saturday. He beat Yoel Romero by unanimous decision in March in his previous fight.
Costa (13-1) also beat Romero by decision in his previous fight, in August 2019, but before that he had finished every opponent he had faced, including 11 by knockout and one by submission.