UFC 298: Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa Prediction, Pick and Odds

Expect the former champion to bounce back with another vintage performance

Sep 3, 2022; Paris, FRANCE; Robert Whittaker (red gloves) before his fight against Marvin Vettori
Sep 3, 2022; Paris, FRANCE; Robert Whittaker (red gloves) before his fight against Marvin Vettori / Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite somehow flying under the radar, Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa are primed for a potential Fight of the Night at UFC 298.

Finally competing in 2024 after several failed attempts by the matchmakers to put the two together, both Whittaker and Costa will look to rebound after a down year in 2023. With the title already changing hands since the New Year and plenty of chaos in the division just two months in, the winner of the co-main event could re-establish themselves in the title picture.

Though coming off a loss to Dricus du Plessis at UFC 290, Whittaker enters the fight as the betting favorite for the ninth time in his promotional run. Costa has not competed since defeating Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 back in August 2022.

Odds according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa odds, total

Whittaker: -250
Costa: +205

Over 2.5: -150
Under 2.5: +120

Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa best bet

Unless Whittaker is completely washed — which he does not appear to be at just 33 years old — this fight is tailor-made for the former champion to bounce back with a signature win as he has repeatedly done. Though the loss to Du Plessis was a significant letdown in his career as a large favorite, Whittaker has still yet to lose a fight in the middleweight division to any fighter who has not been a UFC champion.

There are no guarantees in MMA but Whittaker has fared well against plodding power punchers similar to Costa in the past with wins over Yoel Romero, Uriah Hall and Jared Cannonier. Similarly, Costa has routinely struggled with technical strikers who weaponize speed and cardio with losses to Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori.

Costa assuredly will have the power and strength advantage but while his physique is always intimidating, the former bodybuilder has not had a finish since 2018 and has not even recorded a knockdown since 2019. Perhaps equally as damning, Costa has zero wins over fighters currently on the UFC roster.

Since losing to Du Plessis last summer, Whittaker has appeared to be laser-focused on returning to form. He has shown all of the signs to emphatically bounce back as we have already seen him do with a main event win over Darren Till in 2020 after losing the belt. However, Whittaker has also not seen a finish since a TKO victory over Jacare Souza in 2017 while Costa has only been finished once in his career by Adesanya. In 24 career wins for Whittaker, 10 have come by decision, all coming in the UFC.

Barring a Hail Mary wind-up death punch from either man, this fight has all the signs of reaching a decision with both men proving their durability in each outing. Expect Whittaker to frustrate Costa with his movement and precision, and don't be surprised if he mixes in takedowns as well.

Take the decision prop at plus money with confidence as Whittaker has not lost back-to-back fights since 2014!

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by decision

Best Bet: Robert Whittaker by decision (+130)

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change