Caio Borralho questions why Paulo Costa can’t fix ‘basic’ mistake that led Robert Whittaker loss

When Paulo Costa lost a unanimous decision to Robert Whittaker in the co-main event of UFC 298, fellow middleweight Caio Borralho couldn’t help but be baffled at how “Borrachinha” doesn’t seem to correct mistakes he’s made in multiple losses.

Borralho told MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that he likes Costa as an entertaining athlete, but advised him to go back to the drawing board to fix his game.

“What worries me the most is that [Costa] ate the same calf kicks [Israel] Adesanya landed,” Borralho said. “The same kicks. Again. I was like, ‘How’s that? Can’t you see this?’ When you stand on your lead leg to throw the right hands he throws, they will kick your calf. That’s basic these days.

“I thought it was lack of [adjustments]. ’Borrachinha’ is a very dangerous guy, very athletic, easily throws super fast head kicks. You see he’s big, gigantic, and kicks way high on the head and can end the fight against anyone in the world, but I really thought he lacked [adjustments].”

Borralho said he trained with Costa for a 10-day period in the past but questioned his countryman’s ability of perform on fight night the same way Costa does in the gym. Costa started his professional MMA career with 13 straight victories and 11 knockouts, but hasn’t been able to finish anyone since stopping Uriah Hall in July 2018. None of the six men he beat under the UFC banner are still under contract with the promotion.

“‘Borrachinha’ is a machine,” Borralho said. “I just thought that when it’s time to fight, he can’t put that to use. I don’t know if it’s over-training, I don’t know, but I’m sure he can’t perform in fights the way he does in training.”

All three judges scored the bout in favor of Whittaker, and Borralho poked fun of Costa on social media for suggesting that he could have won a decision, writing that the “fun part was watching Paulo thinking that his spinning heel kick in the first round won all the rounds for him.”

“He knows he didn’t do enough to win the fight,” Borralho said. “If you get all three rounds and see how many straight rights he landed, the hand he used to knock out all those guys during his career, I think he only threw four of those the entire fight. He didn’t act to win the fight.

“Whittaker was scoring, scoring, scoring, touching and touching, using his experience, because it seems that Whittaker is out of rhythm [in his career]. Whittaker is fading, he’s not growing as he used to. I feel that Whittaker is fading, but he won it with his experience, doing things in the third round to score and clearly win the fight, in my opinion.”

Costa will return to action on June 1, when he meets former 185-pound champion Sean Strickland at UFC 302. Borralho draws Paul Craig next at UFC 301, which goes down May 4 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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