Randy Costa returns after his most recent fight, a quick but exciting knockout loss to Adrian Yanez. That loss puts Costa at 2-2 in the UFC with all four fights ending by finish. Tony Kelley, at the age of 34, is seven years older than Costa but only has one more professional fight. Kelley enters at 7-2 and 1-1 in the UFC.
Order UFC 281
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira is tonight! Watch every UFC 281 fight here.
- Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
- Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Costa vs. Kelley betting odds
Costa is a 2:1 favorite over Kelley who is +160 on the comeback.
- Costa: -200
- Kelley: +160
Costa vs. Kelley breakdown
I caution people from placing too much stock in a fighter who looked good in a loss. However, Costa’s last fight is that rare occasion where I see his stock higher after a loss. Yanez, his opponent, is quickly becoming a household name; and, in the first round, Costa hung with and arguably beat Yanez. After an exciting first round where Costa stunned his opponent with an onslaught of speed, power, and variety, he gassed out in the second round and was finished. In all of his fights, Costa has never seen the third round, win or lose. His cardio is a continual question before each bout. When fresh, Costa has real knockout power, especially for a 135er. His varied attacks, heavy hands, and snapping kicks, often come in combination. He tends to land with a thud behind a stiff jab or snapping kick. His movement is lightning fast, both when striking and moving in and out of the pocket. Broadly, Costa is often the faster, more athletic, and more powerful fighter which results in performance bonus winning finishes. However, we’ve seen durable and technical fighters who can survive his early blitz cause him issues.
Kelley is absolutely durable. Despite fighting at featherweight against heavy hitters, Kelley has never been finished. He is a reliable and well-rounded fighter who often pushes his opponents into uncomfortable positions. Whether he tests his opponents’ cardio, ability to take a shot, response to pressure, Kelley is adept at neutralizing his opponent’s strength and exposing their weaknesses. Kelley is often the fighter moving forward, staying at range when he has the reach advantage or making it a pocket brawl when he’s undersized. Once in a striking exchange, Kelley often lands with more volume than his foe and works the body as well as the head. His biggest flaw is his natural striking. While Kelley is fundamentally sound, he can be slower the punch and not land with as much power as his opponents. However, Kelley is a fighter who can’t be counted out until the final bell.
Costa vs. Kelley prediction
This fight should play into Kelley’s wheelhouse. Both men want to stand and trade, Costa has struggled against durability, and Kelley excels in gritty deepwater fights. That being said, I’m going Costa here. He should be a step ahead in speed, power, and volume. So long as he doesn’t blow his gas tank in round one again, Costa should be able to land more often and with more damage for the win.
Prediction: Costa to win
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.