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The Bantamweight division plays host to an exciting fight, as Randy ‘The Zohan’ Costa takes on Tony ‘PrimeTime’ Kelley. Returning to the octagon for the second time in 2021, Costa will seek to rebound from a ‘Fight of the Night’ defeat to Adrian Yanez. A fight in which Costa looked sharp in the opening round, but ultimately was put down in the second. Prior to the defeat, Costa had strung together back-to-back first round knockout victories. Meanwhile, Kelley will make his first appearance of 2021. Having tasted victory for the first time in a decision win over Ali AlQaisi back in October of 2020, Kelley will seek to make it two straight.
This is an excellent fight, as both men are strikers. In fact, between the two, only Tony Kelley has attempted one takedown in his two fights inside the octagon. Make no mistake though, this fight will be a striking contest and an early contender for Fight of the Night. Randy Costa isn’t one to accumulate cage time, as all six of his professional victories have come via first round knockout. With a pressure heavy style, Costa marches forward and throws a barrage of strikes. Landing an absurd 8.64 significant strikes per minute, Costa stylistically speaking, checks in at number one all-time in the UFC in that category. As for Kelley, while he is a more well rounded fighter, he prefers to strike. With good head movement and footwork, Kelley does an excellent job of countering opponents and hitting them at odd angles. Having been taken down a combined ten times in two fights inside the octagon, Kelley may have a slight takedown defense issue. However, Costa will unlikely exploit that weakness, as he has shown zero intent to wrestle in four UFC fights.
As for a prediction, I’m going with Costa. While Kelley may find some success with his counter striking early, especially given Costa’s pressure style, his lack of striking defense is going to be his downfall. With a hands low approach, in two fights, Kelley has been hit by 57% of strikes thrown at him and is absorbing 4.77 significant strikes per minute. In other words, against someone with legitimate power like Costa, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. One in which I foresee happening, as I predict that Costa will win via knockout.