Alessandro Costa (10-2) successfully defended his flyweight title for the second time with a third round TKO against Kike Gonzalez last Friday in Acapulco, Mexico at LUX Fight League 18.
The Brazilian champion was tested early on in the fight, as Gonzalez connected with a clean head kick that briefly brought Costa to his knees. Costa had been extremely patient up to that point, but that head kicked seemed to do something to wake him up. He went on offense straight after recovering and earned a knockdown of his own when he connected with straight right that sat “El Locote” down. Hard pressure and a takedown in the final seconds put Costa squarely in control headed into round two.
“Nono” was much more active to begin the second round, continually kicking Gonzalez’s left leg which was already noticeably compromised by the end of the first round. While Gonzalez was still able to connect, Costa was very much the aggressor and landed the bigger shots. The Brazilian landed another takedown in the last ten seconds, but this time gained mount and fully locked up an arm bar that may well have ended the fight if not for the buzzer.
With Gonzalez’s leg heavily damaged, Costa chose to be patient and counter for the first minute of the third round before landing a body kick that doubled Gonzalez over. Costa poured on the pressure, chasing Gonzalez around the cage until he hit the mat and followed up with strikes until the ref stepped in.
This was an impressive victory for the twenty-five-year-old, both for his ability to overcome that early knockdown and also for winning a fight that was contested almost exclusively on the feet. Costa flashed his grappling with the arm bar that nearly finished Gonzalez at the end of the second round, which is no surprise considering six of his career victories have come by submission.
The Brazilian will always have his grappling to fall back on, though I would like to see him pursue it a little bit more actively considering how dynamic he’s been in attempting and finishing submissions so far in his career. That being said, this fight showed off the strides he’s made on the feet and his comfort with getting into a striking battle. Costa can tighten up his defense a bit more to avoid future situations like that early head kick, but his right hand knockdown of Gonzalez in the same round showed he does carry some power striking.
This was an extremely entertaining fight, but that’s rapidly becoming the norm from Costa in his still very-young career. He’s now on a five-fight win streak since debuting in LUX in 2019, which includes winning the promotion’s inaugural flyweight belt in 2020 and two title defenses in 2021.
At twenty-five years old Costa could afford to stick around in LUX and continue defending his title for a few more fights, but with his exciting style, this author wouldn’t be surprised if larger promotions come calling sooner rather than later. Costa’s teammate and former LUX featherweight champion Diego Lopes appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series earlier this year. While Lopes came up short in that bout, it’s possible we could see Costa offered his own UFC opportunity in the near future.