Paulo Costa was originally scheduled to fight newcomer Ikram Aliskerov at The Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah at UFC 291. However, with less a fortnight remaining, the card has now seen a huge change as Costa was replaced by Roman Dolidze.
While Paulo Costa didn’t initially provide any reason for the pullout, he now seems to have hinted at a new booking. @MMAPauli on Twitter reported that ‘Borrachinha’ has been booked for a high-caliber clash against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in October. Responding to the tweet, Costa wrote:
“Pauli is smart enough 🙏🏼🧃👀🧢”
While Ikram Aliskerov is only one fight old in the UFC, the Russian is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. His lone professional loss dates back to a 2019 decision against Khamzat Chimaev, which ‘Borz’ acknowledges as the toughest fight of his career.
If Paulo Costa has indeed secured a booking against Chimaev, it is certainly a smarter choice for the Brazilian, given Aliskerov appears to be almost as dangerous as ‘Borz’ minus the clout.
Meanwhile, ‘Borrachinha’ is coming off a bizarre decision win over Luke Rockhold in August 2022 that snapped a two-fight skid.