UFC 278 Co-Main Event Betting Preview | Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold Predictions, Odds, and Picks

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Luke Rockhold of the United States looks on after being knocked out by Jan Blachowicz of Poland during their UFC 239 Light Heavyweight bout. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to our screens for another action-filled pay-per-view event from the American Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, returns to the octagon following a three-year break when he faces the ever-dangerous Paulo Costa in the evening’s co-main event.

Read on for our complete UFC 278 co-main event betting guide, taking a first look at Rockhold and Costa, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis.

Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold

UFC 278 Middleweight Co-Main Event Bout

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 – 11:25 PM EDT at Vivint Arena

Luke Rockhold

  • Pro MMA Record: (16-5-0) (4 KOs, 10 submissions, 2 decisions)
  • Age: 37
  • Height: 6'3"
  • Reach: 77.0"
  • Trains With: American Kickboxing Academy (AKA)
  • Origin Fighting Style: Wrestling/BJJ

Following a three-year absence from competitive martial arts combat, former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold will enter the octagon at UFC 278 in an attempt to fight his way back into the win column and top-ten rankings.

Are Rockhold’s Fighting Days Behind Him?

Rockhold, 37, has surpassed the prime-fighting years of his professional MMA career, but an extensive background in both grappling and striking disciplines shouldn’t be underestimated. A wealth of elite-level experience – including a reign as the 185lb champion – won’t go unnoticed, but we must remain cautious of cage-rust and three knockout losses from his previous four bouts.

Age nor activity favor Rockhold, so he’ll be relying on experience and the element of surprise to overcome the aggressive nature of his opponent Paulo Costa this Saturday night.

Luke Rockhold Best Available Odds: +285 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Paulo “The Eraser” Costa

  • Pro MMA Record: (13-2-0) (11 KOs, 2 submissions, 1 decision)
  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6'1"
  • Reach: 72.0"
  • Trains With: Team Borracha
  • Origin Fighting Style: Muay Thai Kickboxing

After joining the UFC middleweight roster in 2017, Paulo Costa certainly lived up to his nickname (The Eraser) when storming through the division with a five-fight consecutive win streak and four TKO stoppages.

Costa Erased the Opposition Fast

Propelling himself so quickly into the top rankings perhaps stunted his opportunities when facing the middleweight elite, as the Brazilian suffered his first-ever professional losses in a title bout versus Israel Adesanya and a five-round battle against top contender Marvin Vettori.

Costa has erased UFC veterans Yoel Romero, Uriah Hall, and Johny Hendricks.

And what did these three fighters have in common with Rockhold? They were all aging veterans facing a youthful up-and-coming contender in Costa. This will undoubtedly give the Brazil-native a confidence boost heading into the weekend's co-main event, as we should expect the mental advantage to favor the bookmakers betting favorite.

Paulo Costa Best Available Odds: -330 at GTbets (visit our GTbets Review)

Costa vs. Rockhold: Breakdown and Analysis

Rockhold's Fight Style and How He Can Defeat Costa

Despite his early combat sport competing in grappling disciplines, the former champion made a name for himself behind a slick kickboxing output. Rockhold dominated the opposition from the previous generation, and he still presents an athletic movement.

However, the speed and power advantage he used to own is no longer present.

Taking Costa to the ground and submitting him is Rockhold's most viable path to victory, but even this approach will be complex.

Costa's Fight Style and How He Can Defeat Rockhold

I don’t discredit Costa for his most recent losses, as both Adesanya and Vettori are two of the best middleweight fighters on the planet.

I do, however, credit Costa for the skillset he was able to present before a losing streak occurred. Beautiful striking, speed, power, and notable defensive attributes include an ability to fend off incoming takedowns.

I anticipate Costa’s walk-down style and high aggression will be the difference-maker, especially when facing such a questionable level of durability that forced Rockhold onto the sidelines after taking too many knockout losses.

Costa vs. Rockhold: Prediction and Odds

The available odds at top-rated sportsbooks favor Costa, and the price tag of -330 isn’t pretty. With that said, I have confidence the former title challenger will dominate the striking exchanges and eventually end Rockhold’s night with a vicious barrage of punches.

Rockhold’s three-year hiatus, lack of head movement, cocky attitude, and questionable chin isn’t an underdog betting position I’d be confident in backing. Place Costa in your betting slip and add the KO/TKO prop for added value.

UFC Pick: Paulo Costa by KO/TKO or DQ (-150) [1.50u returns 1u profit] at BetOnline

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Paulo Costa KO/TKO or DQ (-150)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.

UFC 278 Preliminary Card

UFC 278 Preliminary Card