Israel Adesanya stopped Paulo Costa 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 TKO 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. Adesnya hurt Costa with a left kick that dropped him to the floor with just more than a minute left in the round, then mounted his opponent and landed several hammer fists to earn the finish.
Adesanya (20-0) won the title last October with a TKO of Robert Whittaker and had defended it once, beating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision in March.
Costa (13-1) also beat Romero by decision in his most recent fight, in August 2019, but before that he had finished every opponent he had faced, including 11 by knockout and one by submission.