Paulo Costa Landed 1 of the Best Head Kicks You’ll See on Robert Whittaker [WATCH]

Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker at UFC 298.

Getty Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker at UFC 298.

Paulo Costa landed one of the best head kicks you’ll see Saturday, February 17, when he bounced his heel off of Robert Whittaker’s face in the first round of their middleweight match at UFC 298.

It all went down at the UFC’s pay-per-view show that ESPN aired from Anaheim, California, with Costa and Whittaker slugging it out in the co-main event.

Costa, per official UFC data, landed 27 of 49 significant strikes in the opening round alone — and the most brutal of which was right at the end of the five-minute frame.

While Whittaker gave as good as he got, landing 38 of 62 significant strikes in that same round, it was perhaps the strike resistance he showed in standing up to Costa’s best kick of the night.

Later, in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Whittaker shrugged it off with his New Zealand humor, saying it was “nothing but a flesh wound.”

The kick could have put lesser fighters down on the ground, and possibly out for good.

Though Costa landed the strike of the fight, Whittaker threw and landed more shots in rounds one, two, and three, for a return of 95 landed from 175 thrown, attracting the attention of the cageside judges.

With scores of 30-27 and 29-28 (x2), Whittaker earned a unanimous decision win to advance his pro MMA record to 25 wins (nine KOs, five submissions, and 11 decisions) against seven losses. Costa, meanwhile, retreated to 14 wins (11 KOs, one submission, and two decisions) against three losses.

Paulo Costa Is ‘a Tough Dude,’ According to Robert Whittaker

As the Whittaker and Costa fight was, for anyone watching, one of the best bouts of the month, Whittaker was full of praise for his opponent when speaking on the ESPN broadcast after his win.

“This is the exact fight I prepared for,” Whittaker said, in a nod to the grueling nature of the match.

“He’s a tough dude,” he added.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to come here and perform, especially after my last fight,” said Whittaker.

“I’m looking to make an amends with [UFC middleweight champion] Dricus [du Plessis]. I’m back.”

Anthony Hernandez Win Over Roman Kopylov Was Another Notable Result at UFC 298

Whittaker’s win at 185-pounds wasn’t the only notable result at the UFC 298 show.

Earlier in the card, Ian Machado Garry silenced the haters with a split decision victory over Geoff Neal, Merab Dvalishvili picked Henry Cejudo up and carried him across the cage to slam him in front of Mark Zuckerberg en route to a points win, and Anthony Hernandez submitted Roman Kopylov with a rear-naked choke.

Hernandez even smiled at the ESPN cameras while he locked Kopylov in his chokehold.

“I want to do a main event … because I would like to have my face on a poster and I’m trying to get in the video game, so what’s up,” he said during the press conference after wrapping up his win. “I’m [expletive] doing this to have the damn belt and change my family’s life.”

He called Kopylov “just another guy that I beat.”

Speaking to White immediately following the fight, Hernandez said, “I just had to get out of my own way. … I messed up a lot.

“I’m done messing up,” he added. “I want to make my run for the title. … I’ve been conditioning my body. … I’m ready to show the world.”

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