UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori

The middleweight title dispute at UFC 263 represents a rematch between current champion Israel Adesanya and the rising name in the division, Marvin Vettori. The two faced each other in 2018 when they were still small fish in the division, and at the time the Nigerian won by split decision.
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori

Israel Adesanya (20-1 in MMA, 9-1 in UFC) is just steps away from truly cleaning up the middleweight division, having faced everything the division had to offer: wrestlers , strikers , brawlers , former champions etc. The City Kickboxing star has so far proved flawless, except for his most recent bout, in which he moved up to the light heavyweight division for a shot at glory but ended up being controlled by champion Jan Blachowicz in a bout where the weight difference proved to be a crucial factor in favor of the Pole.

The fight against Blachowicz certainly sparked a glimmer of hope in other challengers for the middleweight belt: Israel Adesanya's takedown defense isn't perfect. The Nigerian shows himself untouchable on his feet and other knockouts in the division such as Paulo Borrachinha, Yoel Romero, Whittaker and Anderson Silva could do little. Adesanya is simply on another level, as even in Kickboxing the Nigerian had an impressive 75-5 record with 14 knockouts. However, his takedown defense has been little leaked so far in the middleweight division, with the only ones who managed to put the champion on his back to the ground were Rob Wilkinson, who was eventually knocked out; Brad Tavares and Kelvin Gastelum, who couldn't hold Adesanya on the ground, and a certain Italian named Marvin Vettori.

Marvin Vettori (17-4-1 in MMA, 7-2-1 in UFC), Rafael Cordeiro's student at Kings MMA, is on a great streak of five consecutive victories and is experiencing the best phase of his career. The Italian, who arrived as a very “basic” prospect to the UFC, showed a marked evolution in standing and wrestling , despite still being a very basic fighter. Some even compare him to American Chris Weidman, given his wrestling- laden approach and high -pressure striking . Vettori always tries to establish his jab and uses it to approach, just like many other Kings MMA fighters. Vettori also has a lot of gas and the ability to implement his game for as many rounds as it takes.

In his first confrontation with Israel Adesanya, Vettori had a very competitive fight, but ended up falling victim to the champion's footwork, who took advantage of the fact that the Italian is a very predictable fighter. However, he eventually managed to get his hands on Adesanya and put him down twice during the third round. It wasn't enough to overcome the first two roundsAdesanya's almost perfect ones, in which Vettori was quite right. This is perhaps the challenger's main weakness: his defense. The Italian always receives a lot of hits in his fights while trying to close the distance. Even against Kevin Holland, a fight in which Vettori dominated completely, he got some scares on his feet. Against Adesanya the Italian will always be in danger as long as the fight is at a distance.

The outlook for the fight is clear: Adesanya will try to keep her opponent at long range and try to make him pay dearly for every attack, as he is one of the best counterstrikers in all of MMA. Vettori, on the other hand, will try the good old “lay and pray”, that is, playing to get a takedown for as long as necessary to avoid the champion's blows. On the ground, there is no doubt that Italian is the superior fighter. Standing, the Nigerian has clear paths to victory. It's a fight in which Marvin has plenty of chances, but I believe his leaked defense will let him down. The bet goes to Israel Adesanya by smooth decision.



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