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Anthony Smith not sold on Paulo Costa as knockout artist

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Anthony Smith believes Paulo Costa is mislabeled as a knockout artist.

Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) takes on former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (24-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) in the UFC 298 co-main event Feb. 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Eleven of Costa’s 14 professional wins have come by knockout, with his first four UFC wins by TKO. Smith pointed to Costa’s most recent decision win over Luke Rockhold at UFC 278, where he failed to put away the bloodied former middleweight champ. While Costa got off to a hot start in his UFC career, that hasn’t been the case lately.

“I know that everyone’s going to get mad at me when I say this, but Paulo’s always been regarded as this crazy heavy hitter knockout artist, but he hasn’t knocked out anybody in a while,” Smith said on the “Believe You Me” podcast.

“Is he explosive and aggressive? And he does land a lot of shots absolutely, but think of the last person he flatlined. I couldn’t even tell you off the top of my head. He was in there with Luke. He had Luke Rockhold hurt a couple of times and wasn’t able to put him out.”

Smith went on to clarify that while Costa does have power, he’s not shutting people’s lights off.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he doesn’t have power. I’m saying he’s not flatlining people where they’re nervous about it,” Smith said. “The Johny Hendricks (win) was like an overwhelming – it was a TKO, but he’s not scaring people off.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

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