Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa Agree to Meet at 205 Pounds for UFC Fight Night 196 Headliner

By Jay Pettry Oct 21, 2021

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Editor's note: The article has been updated at 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 21 to reflect a change in the weight classification.

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship main event has gone through several transformations before setting on a new weight class on Thursday night.

At UFC Fight Night 196 Media Day on Wednesday, Paulo Costa stated matter-of-factly that he would not be able to reach the middleweight limit of 186 pounds come Friday for the weigh-ins. There were immediate concerns their headlining matchup would be scuttled, as Costa admitted to weighing 211 pounds on Wednesday afternoon, thus requiring a drastic 25-pound cut in less than 48 hours.

During that interview with the media, Costa hoped that he and Marvin Vettori could meet at 195 pounds or higher, in order to make the weight cut less strenuous on both men. Vettori expressed that he was already in the midst of his own serious cut to middleweight, and he was none too thrilled at the prospect of this fight designation changing. In an interview with ESPN on Wednesday night, the two verbally agreed to this fight changing to a 195-pound catchweight, but the details needed to be hammered out with the promotion, the commission and the fighters themselves behind the scenes.

Yahoo Sports was the first to release on Thursday that all parties had come to an agreement to make this “UFC Vegas 41” main event from a middleweight matchup to one that takes place at 195 pounds. The news has since been confirmed by other outlets and the promotion itself. As a result, Costa has already been fined 20% of his purse, which will go straight to Vettori. Any further weight misses – many have already speculated that Costa may not be able to hit 195 pounds or the potential one-pound allowance that may come with the new weight target – will be handed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which has the power to revoke the fight itself should there be enough of a weight discrepancy or for medical reasons.

Speaking to Sherdog's Marcelo Alonso on Thursday night, Costa's manager Wallid Ismail has since provided an update that the bout, while once a 195-pound catchweight affair, has since been agreed to at the light heavyweight range of 205 pounds. Both men have now agreed to the new weight classification, and they have signed contracts to make this official. This may serve to alleviate any weight miss concerns some had for Costa, who now only needed to cut five pounds from the discussed 211 to the light heavyweight limit of 206.

The last UFC main event to deliberately come outside of a standard weight category, where neither competitor missed weight, came at UFC Fight Night 95 in 2016. There, Cristiane Justino and Lina Lansberg fought at 140 pounds, and “Cris Cyborg” put Lansberg away in the second round. For men, the most recent catchweight headliner took place atop UFC 147 in 2012, when Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva threw down, in a rematch at the affectionally termed “Franklinweight” of 190 pounds due to the sizeable gap between middleweight and light heavyweight.

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