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The brother of former Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger Paulo Costa would like to add some details to the story about Costa drinking too much wine before his last fight.
Scheduled to face Robert Whittaker on April 17 in Las Vegas, top-ranked middleweight Costa (13-1) brought a big story to MMA world last week. “Borrachinha” declared on his YouTube channel that he fought drunk against Israel Adesanya, in the main event of UFC 253 last September at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
On Wednesday, Costa’s older brother and head coach, Carlos Borracha, confirmed that information in an interview with Sherdog.
“He arrived in Abu Dhabi weighing 211 lbs., and because of that, we needed to train a lot in the [days before] the fight. Due to that, after the weigh ins, he felt a lot of cramps that prevented him [from sleeping]. It was 2:30 [a.m.] when he decided to drink wine to try to sleep until 5 a.m., when he had to wake up and go to the event. Of course, if I was with him in the room, I wouldn't allow him. But in this event, for the first time, he took his girlfriend, and I stayed in the next room with [boxing coach] Badola.”
Carlos recalls that he just noticed that something was wrong when he knocked on his brother’s door to go to the event at 5 AM. Costa’s girlfriend, Tamara, told Borracha what happened.
“She opened the door and immediately told me [Costa] couldn’t sleep. But until that moment, I didn’t know that he drank a bottle of wine. He just told me so when he asked me to throw water and slap his face, something he never did before. When the fight started, it was clear to me that his reflexes were affected. I have no doubt that in normal conditions that fight would be different,” guaranteed Borracha.
Borracha was well aware that his brother’s version is considered by media and fans as one of the biggest excuses in MMA history.
“‘Borrachinha’ really [doesn’t] care about that, he just brought to the public a mistake he had committed. And of course, it changed totally our training routine.”
When asked about Adesanya’s double belt attempt on Saturday, facing light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, Borracha had no doubt to point to the Nigerian as the heavy favorite.
“I believe Adesanya will win,” he explained. “Jan has strong hands, but he is too slow for Adesanya’s game. I believe he will do, pretty much, what he did against my brother, controlling the distance and winning.”
After training for 40 days with the “Pitbull” brothers in Natal, Brazil, Borracha is optimistic about the return of ‘Borrachinha’ against former champion Whittaker.
“[The] ‘Pitbull’ brothers and head coach Mano Santana were really important for us in that fight against Whittaker in terms of understanding karate moves. But it is important to make sure that we are not making a complete change in [his] style, we just added more tools to our arsenal,” Costa’s coach stated.
Borracha also brought up Costa’s training partner and Future FC middleweight champion, Caio Borralho, as an important key to his brother’s preparation for Whittaker.
“We brought [Borralho] all the way from Maranhao to help us, he is such a great karate fighter and [can emulate] Whittaker’s game perfectly.”
When asked to preview the opponent’s tactical game, Borracha was expecting that the Australian will try to use his aggressiveness to make Costa fight off his back foot.
"We are training a lot of kicks, but when he feels the power of Paulo’s hands, he will step back,” Borracha concluded. “And we will play the [predator-prey] game.”