In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), predicting outcomes can be as unpredictable as the fights themselves. One punch, one takedown, or one submission attempt can alter the path of the bout in an instant. Yet, this unpredictability is part of the intrigue, the thrill that keeps fans and experts alike immersed in combat sports.

The upcoming bout between Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (-192) and Paulo “The Eraser” Costa (+160) slated for UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria, offers its share of unpredictability. On one hand, we have the former Middleweight champion Whittaker, known for his high fight IQ, technical striking, and relentless cardio. On the other, there’s the dangerous Costa, a mountain of a man with explosive power, tenacity, and a reputation for being one of the toughest fighters to finish.

Analyzing the Tale of the Tape

At a first glance, the stats tell us this will be no walk in the park for either fighter. They’re evenly matched when it comes to height, both standing at 6’0”. Their reach is also within the same ballpark, with Whittaker’s 73.5” just slight of Costa’s 72”. Whittaker, ranked no.1, boasts a professional record of 23 wins and 5 losses, while no.2 ranked Costa carries 13 wins and a single loss to his name. On paper, they’re almost mirror images of each other. However, as we delve deeper, the disparities begin to surface, and the potential fight outcomes start to shape up.

Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker

Hailing from Australia, Whittaker is the first fighter from Oceania to hold a UFC Championship. The Reaper was once the top player in his division, mounting successive victories against some of the division’s best. He’s predominantly a striker, employing a mix of boxing, Muay Thai, and Karate in his technique. He’s also shown remarkable defensive wrestling, often deterring opponents who try to take the fight to the ground.

His striking accuracy is noteworthy, landing significant strikes with approximately 40% accuracy. However, his strongest asset is, arguably, his cardio. Whittaker can maintain a high pace throughout five-round wars, a testament to his grit and exceptional conditioning. This ability could be decisive against a fighter like Costa, known to carry raw power but also a tendency to gas out in the later rounds.

What might pose a concern for Whittaker in this fight is Costa’s power. While Whittaker is no stranger to heavy hitters — he’s survived wars with Yoel Romero — Costa’s power combined with his volume striking might pose a unique challenge.

Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa

Paulo Costa is a powerhouse. He’s built an impressive and terrifying reputation based on his ability to finish fights — 11 of his 13 victories came by way of knockout. Hailing from Brazil, Costa is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but prefers to utilize his aggressive and powerful striking in his fights.

Costa’s indomitable spirit was perhaps best displayed in his contest with Yoel Romero at UFC 241, where he absorbed significant damage yet rallied to secure a unanimous decision victory. It demonstrated his toughness and his ability to withstand punishment.

However, there are potential pitfalls for Costa in this matchup. His aforementioned penchant for brawling could play right into Whittaker’s hands. The Reaper is a master at controlling the distance, using his jab to keep opponents at bay, and could use this strategy to pick Costa apart and-dare we say it-even exhaust him.

Fight Prediction

Considering all these factors, Robert Whittaker looks primed to take the win. His combination of striking precision, excellent footwork, superior cardio, and fight intelligence gives him the necessary tools to overcome the raw power of Paulo Costa.

Whittaker’s game plan is expected to involve him keeping the fight at a distance, using his jab and his leg kicks, constantly moving to avoid the bull-rushing style of Costa. He will likely aim to survive the early rounds and then push the pace, testing Costa’s gas tank in the later rounds.

Costa, on the other hand, will likely attempt to pressure Whittaker, close the distance and land his signature power shots. While Costa certainly holds the power to knock anyone out in the division, he will have to overcome Whittaker’s striking defense, which is no easy task.

While the fight promises to be a thrilling contest, the edge goes to Robert Whittaker. His technical striking, effective defense, and exceptional cardio make him the safer bet for this matchup. It’s likely to be a hard-fought decision in Whittaker’s favor, with Costa providing a stern test right from the opening bell.


This article serves as an analysis based on statistics, previous performances, and fight styles and is not meant to serve as definitive betting advice. MMA, like all sports, carries an element of unpredictability, and anything can happen once the fighters step into the octagon.