Paulo Costa of Brazil fights Johny Hendricks in their middleweight bout during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)" align="center" />
NEW YORK – Brazilian middleweight phenom Paulo Costa made a statement in his third trip to the Octagon, as he opened up the UFC 217 main card on Saturday with a one-sided second-round stoppage of former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at Madison Square Garden.
“I came to show the world who I am,” said the 26-year-old. “This is the new time.”
Costa opened up with hard kicks to the leg and body, immediately getting Hendricks’ attention, but when he went upstairs with a pair of kicks, “Bigg Rigg” tried to even the score, but his first takedown attempt came up empty. As the round progressed, Costa continued to land thudding blows with only a sporadic response from Hendricks, who couldn’t keep the prospect off him for long.
Keeping the pressure on in the second, every shot thrown by Costa was designed to end the fight, and after Hendricks took more and more punishment, referee John McCarty determined that the Oklahoma native had seen enough, stopping the fight at 1:23 of round two.
“He’s a tough guy,” Costa said of Hendricks, who is now 1-5 in his last six. “It’s not easy to fight against a former champion.”
Costa moves to 11-0 with the win. Hendricks falls to 18-8.