Did Paulo Costa fight at UFC 294? Sort of.
Paulo Costa went from fighter to spectator to fighter again at UFC 294 this past Saturday. After more than a year away from his most recent fight — a decision win against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 — Costa was getting ready to return to the Octagon against Khamzat Chimaev. It was a fight we needed to see, especially since Costa and Chimaev had a run-in at the UFC Performance Institute that almost went left, so the promotion did the right thing and paired them together.
We were a few days away from the fight when it collapsed. Though he tried to get ahead of it with a pre-fight surgery, Costa had a staph infection that worsened to the point of forcing him to withdraw from the pay-per-view event. Fans were none too pleased and let ‘Borrachinha’ see and hear it online. However, some fans who were at UFC 294, decided to show Costa how they felt in person.
Paulo Costa fends off fans at UFC 294
In a pair of videos uploaded to X (formerly Twitter), Paulo Costa was seen involved in a scuffle with several fans. One fan leaped over a group of others to get to the Brazilian, who responded by throwing a right hand (with his recently surgically repaired arm!) before security intervened. As Costa was ushered away, at least two more fans attempted to rush him.
Watch the scuffle here, courtesy of X user Tahseen Almas:
In response to what happened, Costa shared some words for his original opponent, Khamzat Chimaev.
“Don’t mess with me [little] chenchen, I send you back home with smack straight in [your] big forehead,” posted Costa. “My right arm is working already.”
Well, he did say he could still fight at UFC 294, so he was sort of right.
Khamzat Chimaev gets through Costa replacement
With Paulo Costa withdrawing, the UFC got in touch with former champion Kamaru Usman to step in on short notice against Khamzat Chimaev. The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ fell short against ‘Borz,’ who earned a majority decision in the new co-main event.
Chimaev may not have escaped the fight unscathed, though. During a short post-fight interview with several reporters, the 29-year-old revealed he may have a broken hand.
“I dominated the guy first round,” said Chimaev (video provided by TNT Sports). “In the first round, last minute, I think I broke my hand. It was hard to wrestle and keep him down, but I couldn’t use my right hand, so we’ll see what’s happening. Maybe it’s broken, maybe not, but you feel f—king pain. I don’t know. I don’t care. I won. My hand was up.”
As for what comes next, UFC CEO Dana White previously said that the winner of Chimaev vs. Usman would get a fight with newly crowned champion, Sean Strickland. However, that could change depending on whether Chimaev did indeed break his hand.
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