Paulo Costa got back into the middleweight win column last night (Sat., Aug. 20, 2022) at UFC 278 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, when the Brazilian contender outlasted a returning Luke Rockhold in the co-main event.

Costa tested Rockhold’s chin early and the former UFC champion was able to absorb the damage and find a home for some of his own offense. “Eraser” was able to score a takedown as well and scored valuable top position. Rockhold came alive in the second with hard kicks to the body and solid punches, but his gas tank was nearly depleted. An accidental low blow on Rockhold provided him with a few moments of rest, but he kept putting his hands on his hips and knees to catch his breath.

Rockhold hurt Costa early into the third and gained top control, but the Brazilian quickly broke free. The two middleweights started to exchange heavy leather along the cage before Rockhold leaped in for a takedown and got reversed onto his back. Rockhold was able to reverse it with moments left in the round and rubbed his bloody face into Costa’s to the roar of the crowd.

In the end, it was Costa who did enough over the course of 15 minutes to score the unanimous decision win. The loss left Rockhold bloody inside of the Octagon and ready to hang up his MMA gloves for good in a memorable retirement performance.

Check out the full fight video highlights below courtesy of UFC/ESPN:

During and following the fight some of MMA’s finest took to social media to talk about the action, as well as Rockhold’s retirement from the sport. Check out some of the comments below:

Costa was just given 3 Random Drug Tests during his walk to the Octagon. #UFC278

— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) August 21, 2022

Crowd gives a much better response to Costa than Rockhold, I didn’t see that coming

— Funky (@Benaskren) August 21, 2022

Is Salt Lake’s elevation 18,000 feet?

— Chuck Mindenhall (@ChuckMindenhall) August 21, 2022

Perfect timing for a nut shot

— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) August 21, 2022

If I ever hear anyone question Rockhold’s heart …

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 21, 2022

I haven’t seen Luke Rockhold look this tired since he was dating Demi Lovato. #UFC278

— MacMally (@MacMallyMMA) August 21, 2022

Do you reckon rubbing your own blood in the face of your opponent with your own face is something that’s unique to MMA?

— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) August 21, 2022

What a disturbingly entertaining fight. I don’t even know how to describe that.

— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) August 21, 2022

Was Luke trying to kiss Borrachinha at the end?

— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) August 21, 2022

Even in that loss best way for @LukeRockhold to go out. So much heart but it takes two and @BorrachinhaMMA was so good tonight. Great fight fellas , happy trails my brother Luke!

— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 21, 2022

Congrats to Rockhold on a great career! Let me know if you change your mind at some point . #ufc278

— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) August 21, 2022

Man. That was beautiful yet heartbreaking. God speed, Luke

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 21, 2022

Hey man, Luke Rockhold went out like a warrior. With a loss, he changed the way he will be remembered forever. I think that’s beautiful.

— Boogerbeard (@Boogerbeard1) August 21, 2022

For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.