Coach Explains What Strickland Needs To Do To Beat Costa

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Sean Strickland and Erik Nicksick

Sean Strickland’s head coach Erik Nicksick believes Paulo Costa presents a tricky challenge for his pupil.

Strickland and Costa will square off for a five-round middleweight co-main event at UFC 302, with the winner likely fighting for the middleweight crown next. ‘Tarzan’ in particular will be a strong position to fight for the belt if he manages to secure an impressive win against the Brazilian, since he lost his belt in a razor close fight against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297.

As far as Costa in concerned, he is very much in the discussion given his style, believes Strickland’s coach Nicksick, who recently told The Schmo that ‘Borrachinha’ is a seriously tough challenge for the American.

“[Paulo]’s a menace when he gets your back up to the cage when he gets you backed up the barrier,” Nicksick said. “That’s when I think his name ‘The Eraser’ is very prevalent and he’s looking to put your lights out. So it’s going to be important to not back yourself up in the cage. He’s very, very good there, very dynamic… When you watched him with Robert Whittaker, the kicks come from anywhere, but they come fast, too. So we gotta make sure that [Sean’s] not in the position where he’s leaning, or in a bad spot position-wise.”

Since losing to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253, Costa  has lost two out of three fights, with a few pull outs due to one reason or another.

Who will come out on top in the upcoming bout between Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa?