The middleweight fight between Paulo Costa and Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 has been scrapped. And, based on some recent rumor, it seemed as if Paulo Costa has been sent packing as well.
Costa defeated former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in his most recent contest via unanimous decision at UFC 278 in August 2022. However, it was not the same Rockhold who was the middleweight championship and is at the end of his run as a professional fighter.
Recently, a Twitter account impersonating ‘UFC Roster Watch’ shared an update mentioning Paulo Costa’s release from the UFC roster. The rumor came just after Costa pulled out of his upcoming fight against Ikram Aliskerov. However, these claims regarding Paulo Costa’s release are false. And Costa is still signed to the UFC.
❌ Fighter removed: Paulo Costa— UFC Roster Watch (@nerdsnfilthyani) July 17, 2023
Ikram Aliskerov has only fought once in the UFC, but the Russian remains undefeated in his last six fights. His lone professional defeat came in a 2019 matchup with Khamzat Chimaev, which ‘Borz‘ considers to have been his most difficult contest to date.
Being fresh off great victories, the cancelation shocked Costa and Aliskerov. Aliskerov had won his past six fight, while Costa had won his most recent bout.
Why was UFC 291 fight between Paulo Costa and Ikram Aliskerov canceled?
As per reports from The Sports Daily, the reason behind Paulo Costa’s pullout has not been made public. However, it is widely believed that Costa will be rescheduled for a bigger bout later this year. However, It is a big blow for UFC 291, which was shaping up to be one of the biggest PPVs of the year. The event had the potential to be one of the finest cards of the year.
Since Costa has dropped out of the competition, a Twitter report claimed that Aliskerov will face a different opponent. If true, Roman Dolidze will handle a difficult assignment in Salt Lake City on 12 days’ notice.
Paulo Costa seemingly confirms the Khamzat Chimaev fight
Paulo Costa initially failed to give a reason for the cancellation, but he now seems to be pointing to a new booking. ‘Borrachinha‘ has hinted at an exciting fight against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in October, One Twitter user tweeted, “Paulo Costa fight is off because he’s fighting Khamzat Chimaev in Abu Dhabi.”
Costa responded to the tweet by saying, “Smart”.
Smart— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) July 17, 2023
Given that Aliskerov seems to be nearly as dangerous as “Borz” without the clout, Paulo Costa might have made a wiser decision if he did manage to get a booking against Chimaev.
Regardless, a high-level matchup between two challenging middleweight contenders like Aliskerov and Dolidze would be a fight to watch.