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Assets from the UFC 278 event at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Paulo Costa Defeats Luke Rockhold | UFC 278

Aug 222022

The Eraser is back! Paulo “The Eraser” Costa defeated Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In Saturday night’s co-main event fight in the middleweight division, Costa dominated the former middleweight champion for three rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory.

Monster Energy’s Costa (14-2) came to Utah looking to get back in the winner’s bracket after two consecutive losses against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. Costa’s opponent at UFC 278 was former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-6) from Santa Cruz, California. At age 37, Rockhold wanted to make a comeback after the last time stepping in the Octagon in July 2019 when he lost to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239.

 When the bell rang at UFC 278, Costa proceeded to erase Rockhold’s comeback dreams. From the start, the black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu matched his opponent’s pressure and landed precise shots that chipped away at Rockhold’s stamina. In Round 1, Costa countered a takedown attempt with a heavy left and a flurry of heavy punches in the clinch. Costa also rocked his opponent with a left uppercut and scored a successful takedown of his own before the bell.

When the fight moved into Round 2, Rockhold already battled a bloody nose and visible exhaustion. Costa continued to land heavy strikes and body kicks from a distance, further wearing out his opponent’s gas tank. Round 3 saw Costa connect a body kick and two left hooks, while both fighters tried to land knockout punches to end the battle once and for all.

When all was said and done, the fight went the full distance, with Costa doing the most damage and landing the most significant shots. After three hard-hitting rounds, Costa was covered in Rockhold’s blood as the judges named him the winner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). The epic 15-minute battle also earned the UFC’s Fight of the Night Bonus.

“This energy came through from this audience and it was amazing. The last time I fought in front of people was in 2019 with Romero. That fight was a war, and this was, as well,” said Monster Energy’s Costa upon winning the co-main event at UFC 278.


Saturday night’s victory at UFC 278 marks Costa’s first win since defeating Yoel Romero in 2019. Costa made his UFC debut in March 2017 and has earned several Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses throughout his career. Now back in the winner’s column, Costa is poised to face a top-five middleweight contender in his next bout. Stay tuned!