Austin Lingo vs. Melquizael Costa prediction | UFC Vegas 77 1

UFC Vegas 77 will take place at the UFC Apex this Saturday, July 15, and features a featherweight bout nestled into the prelims between two action-oriented fighters in Austin Lingo and Melquizael Costa.

Costa will be making his debut in the UFC’s featherweight division after suffering a loss at lightweight to kick off his career in the big leagues. Lingo is also coming off a loss and will be looking to get back on track – as is the case with most fighters on this card.

Costa and Lingo are both talented prospects with apparent ceilings, given the level of skill displayed thus far in their careers. I’m hoping to see an expanded offense from Lingo and more polish from Costa to push them into that next tier of prospect.

Betting Odds

The odds currently favor Costa at over 2:1, which could give good value on a UFC vet like Lingo.

  • Melquizael Costa: -210 (BetUS)
  • Austin Lingo: +165 (BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Fight Breakdown

Austin Lingo is 29 years old with a pro record of 9-2. He excels offensively with his forward pressure and boxing combinations. He doesn’t throw a wide variety of strikes – mostly jabs, crosses, and hooks with the occasional low kick – but he uses an array of combos with these punches to land efficiently. He likes to use the jab to measure for his right hand to follow as he pushes forward while occasionally switching it up to a hook that comes first, preventing his opponent from slipping as they would with the lead jab. His footwork is quick with short steps that he uses well to pressure his opponent and back them to the cage while keeping control of the center. This short footwork keeps him grounded enough to explode into combos quicker than larger steps that cover more distance.

His combos, though sharp and accurate, are limited. Without the use of kicks, clinch strikes like elbows and knees, or even wrestling, his striking becomes predictable and easy to counter as he blitzes forward. On top of this, his head movement while entering with his combos is predictable as he will dip his head off to the left of his opponent before following with the right. When he does throw the right hand or if he’s swinging with hooks, the head movement is always dipping severely and leaving him open for counter uppercuts, knees, etc. He doesn’t have the greatest defense when retreating either as he relies heavily on his high guard and will eat shots when thrown in combination. He comes with a solid chin and toughness though which has helped him balance out any deficiencies in his striking defense.

He has shown little to no wrestling thus far in his UFC career, tallying just two takedowns on three attempts. In his debut against Youssef Zalal, he was taken down 6 times, but only twice in his last 3 fights (including stuffing 17 attempts against Jacob Killburn), so he has shown an improved ability to defend the takedown. However, his forward striking and lack of diversity in his strikes gives his opponents a lot of free shots at his hips that will be a problem against good wrestlers.

His opponent, Melquizael Costa, is 26 years old with a record of 19-6 as a pro and will be making his 145 lbs debut in the UFC this weekend. He’s a well-rounded southpaw who mainly uses kicks in the striking department. He keeps his distance and times his kicks to the body and head well to keep his opponents in kicking range but out of punching range. His best shots are the left front kick and round kick to the body which he’ll follow up to the head once the body shots take effect.

He doesn’t throw his hands often but will mix them in occasionally to give multiple looks and open up the guard for his kicks. He gets wild when he starts to get going and comes forward; he’ll drop the hands before and during the strikes while keeping his chin up. You can see this work to his detriment against Thiago Moises who was able to catch him as he came forward with heavy counters.

He’s a very active fighter in the clinch as well, which has proven effective but also cost him in the past. When he’s in control of the clinch positions, he’s very good at staying busy with body shots, elbows and knees with occasional takedown attempts, continuing the trend of overwhelming his opponent with diversity. When he’s pressed up to the cage, he has shown a lot of skill in defending takedowns as well as getting back to his feet if he’s dumped. This is the case at least during the beginning of the clinch exchange; when he’s been there for a while, he’s shown a tendency to start throwing little strikes and knees instead of defending the takedown which led to a large amount of Moises’ control in the second round before Costa was finished via rear naked choke.

Defensively, Costa will rely on quick reactions to move back as he usually forces his opponent to rush into punching range. He loves to fade out of range, throwing counter hooks with a surprising amount of force behind them. He can get overwhelmed when backed to the cage as he can’t always work his kicks and is forced to box which can lead to wild, looping shots that are easily countered.


Both fighters favor striking exchanges with vastly different approaches. While Lingo uses very tight traditional boxing combos and blitzing entries, Costa hangs back and uses kicks to keep range and batter the body before working high kicks and punches of his own to the head. Though neither has shown impressive offensive wrestling, Costa’s six submission victories and one of two losses coming by submission for Lingo may give Costa the chance to showcase his grappling. If the fight stays on the feet, it’ll be on Lingo to use feints and good entries to get past the kicks of Costa and land hands of his own. Lingo is very good at keeping his opponent in front of him, but he’s susceptible to kicks (especially to the body) and could be pushed back with these.

If he isn’t able to consistently press forward and Costa finds success with the kicks, Lingo doesn’t have a lot of other skills he can go to. Costa has shown impressive skills in the clinch and good grappling from both top and bottom but Lingo’s takedown defense has improved greatly which should keep this fight standing. Costa’s striking defense isn’t polished and the reads Lingo’s past UFC opponents have found off his entries likely won’t be as easily exploited by the Brazilian, so Lingo could see success similar to the fights against Kilburn and Saldana where he was able to work his combos.

I do like Costa in the matchup as long as his cut to 145 lbs doesn’t take too much out of him. Lingo has the edge in experience with his four UFC bouts to Costa’s one, but he does have 25 pro fights to Lingo’s 11. Lingo has only been finished once in his career and has gone to decision in three of his four UFC fights. Meanwhile, Costa has had four of his last five end inside the distance.

Featherweight bouts have ended inside the distance about half the time in 2023. In the last ten, six have gone to decision, but four of the last five have ended inside the distance, so the trends would show that this one goes to the cards. I’m going with Costa to win it on the cards, but I like the Over set at 2.5 rounds at -130 best in this matchup.

Best Bet: Over 2.5 Rounds (-130 odds at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *