Paulo Costa came out swinging. After the snoozefest that was Merab Dvalishvili and Jose Aldo clash, Rockhold and Costa lit up the arena. Rockhold came out with a compression sleeve on his calf.
For those who don’t remember Rockhold had a staph infection and a wound that kept opening. Looks like despite the extended break that didn’t quite pass.
Rockhold went to his corner after round 1 and was barely able to breathe. His coach Jason Parillo struggled to get him to take out his mouthguard, sip water and even sit down. Rockhold was silent and seemed out of it.
But then he came out in Round 2 swinging once again. Rockhold almost took Costa’s back early on in round 2. Blood is pouring from Rockhold’s nose.
Costa landed a nice right. Rockhold’s cardio was visibly problematic but he really pushed himself still.
Utah altitude reportedly affecting everyone on the card.
Salt Lake City altitude is 4,226 feet (1,288 m).
An eye poke caused a brief break, Rockhold apparently eye poked Costa though the replay made it seem more like face push.
Costa with the dick punch! LMAO pic.twitter.com/FhaB68s9TM
— Follow @FTBeard7 (@FTBeard7) August 21, 2022
Costa struck Costa right on the groin with his hand. And tried to pile on ground and pound when Rockhold dropped.
Ref Mike Beltran saw it and called off Costa instantly but instead of a quick finish it was an official time out. Rockhold was ready to continue.
Rockhold is barely standing in between rounds. This time he sat down in between rounds. He was barely breathing through the last 30 seconds of Round 2.
Round 3 starts.
Rockhold drops Costa! Follows him down but alas Costa reverses. They’re back to their feet.
Rockhold’s arms often go down. He goes wild swinging. Rockhold wobbled Costa again landing a huge shot but then backed into the fence. Rockhold is barely breathing, Costa is starting to drop his arms.
ROckhold tries for a takedown, Costa takes sidecontrol.
Costa snags the back after a while. But Rockhold is properly defending the back. THey’re talking a lot while in back control. This is definitely the people’s main event.
— Shannonnn sharpes burner (@shannonsharpeee) August 21, 2022
Rockhold tries to power out, but doesn’t have the energy. He still spins out and lands in full crowd. ROckhold is rubbing his blood all over Costa’s face. The arena is going insane.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) August 21, 2022
Final result? 30-27 Paulo Costa by unanimous decision.
Rockhold retired after that performance. He lamented he was too old for this. He left his gloves in the cage.