Brazilian slugger Paulo Costa is in line for his first UFC main event after reports emerged that the UFC is seriously considering drafting him in to replace Yoel Romero in this month’s UFC on ESPN 3 event in Florida.
Costa has won all four of his UFC bouts thus far, all via TKO, and was most recently seen defeating Uriah Hall last July but a bout with compatriot Souza would be his biggest test to date. Interestingly, the UFC had initially targeted Costa vs. Souza as the headliner for this card before opting instead to rematch Romero and Souza but those plans were scrapped earlier this week when Romero withdrew from the contest after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
News of the potential booking was reported by Brazil’s Combate.
In addition to Costa’s win against Uriah Hall, he also bested former champ Johny Hendricks, Gareth McClellan and Oluwale Bamgbose in his UFC tenure.
Souza, meanwhile, had intimated that if he was not awarded a title shot against current champ Robert Whittaker with a win in the original booking against Romero that he would consider walking away from the sport. It is unclear if that position still stands against Costa.
Souza has alternated wins and losses in his last four bouts but was last seen earning a big win against another former champion, Chris Weidman, last November. He was defeated by Whittaker by TKO in April 2017.
UFC on ESPN 3 takes place on April 27 and will be co-headlined by the return of Greg Hardy who faces Russia’s Dmitri Smoliakov.