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Dana White praises Marvin Vettori, says Paulo Costa must now fight at light heavyweight

·2 min read

LAS VEGAS – After a fight week with unusual changes, UFC president Dana White was ultimately pleased with the outcome of the main event of UFC Fight Night 196.

Marvin Vettori and Paulo Costa competed in an incredible back-and-forth war for 25 minutes, but just getting the two men in the cage seemed like a tall order during fight week.

“We were trying to keep this fight alive and make sure that it happened, and we couldn’t have done it without a guy like Vettori,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC Fight Night 196 post-fight news conference. “Vettori acted like an absolute professional, stud, a guy that’s incredible to work with. That’s why this fight happened.”

Vettori emerged victorious by unanimous decision after five rounds of intense fighting, despite shifts in the contracted weight. Throughout fight week, there were multiple changes to the bout that was originally scheduled to take place at 185 pounds. White confirmed the bout was agreed upon at 195 pounds initially, before the final shift to 205 pounds just a few hours before weigh-ins. Both men made the newly contracted weight but still added a few pounds between hitting the scale and stepping inside the cage.

“Vettori was 208 and Costa was 220,” White said about the fighters’ weight before competing on Saturday.

Despite all of the changes during fight week, the UFC boss had nothing but praise for Vettori’s professionalism while dealing with the entire ordeal.

“Again, you have to give all the credit to Vettori,” White said. “He was willing to fight at any weight and didn’t let this stuff mess with his head. At the end of the day, it’s all about the fight. They both fought their ass off. Costa looked better in the fifth round than he did in the first round, so he was definitely in shape. When a guy comes in that heavy, you have to question whether he’s in shape or not. He was in shape.”

While being in shape and putting on a great performance after everything Costa put his opponent and the promotion through this week may have helped avoid further punishments from the UFC, White said there will be changes for the Brazilian going forward.

“We absolutely tell you where to fight when this happens,” White stated firmly. “He’s gonna have to fight at 205.”

Usually, the UFC doesn’t like to force fighters to fight in a certain weight class, however, given the events that unfolded this week, White insists that will be different in dealing with Costa, who is now on a two-fight skid.

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