Israel Adesanya is still the king of the middleweights. There was plenty of tension heading into this fight as the two didn’t like each other. From the previous press conferences, things were very personal so it was with no doubt that this fight was going to be extremely competitive.
Stylebender pulled a massive and well-deserved win against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263. Dominance can and can’t be the word the describe the fight as Vettori was aggressive at certain points in the fight and managed to have a few takedowns. However, this didn’t match up to the striking performance from Adesanya, as he was so clinical in his total strikes. The variation he had to offer was outstanding, from leg kicks, head kicks, uppercuts, you name it was there. As well as his performance on the Offence he deserves massive credit for his defence.
For those that really know the Defence of Adesanya was going to be a key factor as he doesn’t wrestle with his fighting style and certainly familiar with being on his back. Vettori’s wrestling and takedown abilities were going to be a worry for Adesanya. His last fight vs Jan Błachowicz at UFC 259 is a perfect example of what could have happened again.
Adesanya was striking early rounds then got caught in grabbing and wrestling for the rest of the fight. When on his back he couldn’t break holds and get up again. That was the big factor that led him to lose. In this matchup against Vettori, Adesanya’s defence exceeded expectations and the level of improvement was easy to see.
The first Round started of slow as both were being patient with each other until they saw an opportunity. Everything seemed to be even on the scores between the two fighters. That changed as Vettori was able to get a grab and clinch Adesanya, before wrestling him to the ground.
At this point, it was an advantage for Vettori and things got scarier when he attempted to go for submission when stylebender was on his back. However, Izzy was able to get out by turning and then going for a ground and pound.
The intro started good but Vettori seemed to get more of the advantage on the scorecard as judges score more on wrestling and grabbing control.
In the middle of the fight from after the first round, Adesanya was in more control and was getting strike after strike with vicious leg kicks. The leg strikes were more deadly than the previous every time as Vettori’s leg was taking serious damage. At one point Izzy was able to chop him down making him eventually fall as Vettori’s leg gave in. Luckily, he was able to dodge the follow-up strikes from Adesanya otherwise the fight could have finished early.
After sticking to the outside, striking from distance scoring on the card the last round was going to require a lot of work from Vettori. We were able to hear his corner give him advice and just like spectators knew it was a make or break for him that round. Vettori had 5 minutes to be champion. His best option was to jab and follow up before grabbing/taking Adesanya down.
This didn’t exactly happen, and he was unsuccessful as he simply didn’t have the energy left. Having little energy is a massive disadvantage because Adesanya worked on his cardio and breathing to last longer. Making the championship round is tough enough as anything can happen in a fight.
However, you also need your energy to be efficient as it’s the championship round and scores can be key. The crowd got tired of Vettori grabbing Adesanya against the cage to regain his energy and try a takedown at the same time. Stylebender started to make funny faces and was seen tapping his opponents bum which was a hilarious moment to witness.
Vettori wasn’t pleased at how the fight ended and he felt that he didn’t exactly lose. The loss was painful for him to take, this was his second opportunity at facing stylebender for the title which he is now down 0-2. Adesanya was happy to put the nail in the coffin for this chapter and move on to another.
In terms of significant strikes, Adesanya managed a total 53% and Vettori only managed 33%. Vettori also had a higher takedown percentage with 28% achieve four successful takedowns. This simple still wasn’t enough as he couldn’t control Adesanya who won the judge’s score with 50-46.
What’s next for Vettori? is the dream over? There is plenty of time left for Vettori to achieve his dream and be the first Italian to be a UFC champion. He’s 27 years old so he can even still get better as a fighter.
Currently, he is ranked number 3 so maybe taking a few top-ranked contenders will be a new opportunity to earn a championship match again if he wins. On the other hand, stylebender is already fixed on facing Robert Whittaker in a highly anticipated rematch. This is another fight that will be huge and hopefully will be amazing!