Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Marvin Vettori is just two weeks away from the biggest fight of his professional career, as the surging contender meets current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 263 on June 12 live on ESPN+ PPV from Glendale, Arizona.
Vettori, 27, first fought Adesanya at UFC on FOX 29 back in 2018. The Italian contender ended up losing via split decision, but Vettori has won all five of his UFC fights since then, including recent decision wins over ranked opponents Kevin Holland and Jack Hermansson.
While Vettori has worked on the standup that plagued him in his first meeting with “Last Stylebender” the best chance for him to upset the champion this time around is to utilize his wrestling. Remember, Vettori scored a middleweight record 11 takedowns in his recent decision win over Holland.
Luckily for Vettori, we’ve already seen Adesanya lose on the heels of bad wrestling defense. “Last Stylebender” moved up to 205 pounds this past March and collided with Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title. Blachowicz was able to go punch-for-punch with Adesanya on the feet before utilizing his wrestling and scoring multiple takedowns for valuable top time. It was a perfect gameplan and one that resulted in Adesanya’s first professional loss.
Blachowicz is a larger fighter than Vettori but that doesn’t mean the Italian middleweight can’t take some notes and implement a similar gameplan for his rematch with Adesanya. Just ask former UFC champion and current commentator, Michael Bisping, who believes Blachowicz laid out the script to defeat “Last Stylebender.”
“For Adesanya, he should go into this fight very confident,” Bisping recently explained in an interview with The Schmo. “Of course, he’s already beaten Marvin Vettori. Both of them have got better, I think Vettori has got way better. I think for Marvin Vettori, seeing the way Blachowicz beat him has set the tone for how to beat him.
“I think the way to beat Adesanya is obviously take him down, but most people take him down against the fence. It’s easier [to defend] because you can lean against the wall or the fence and if you get taken down, you can use that to stand back up. What we saw against Blachowicz was Blachowicz took him down in the middle of the Octagon. The reason that’s more beneficial is you got to be a better wrestler to penetrate and drive through and put them down. To take someone down in the middle is harder but you’ll have more success against Israel is because they haven’t got the fence to lean on — they’re just going to fall over. And then when you get him down, it’s actually way harder to get back to your feet if you’re in the middle of the Octagon because you’ve got nothing to lean on.”
All of that said, Bisping is still siding with Adesanya in the rematch. After all, “Last Stylebender” is undefeated at 185 pounds, already holds a win over Vettori, and will likely make his own adjustments to stay off his back at UFC 263.
“I think Vettori saw that and I think he’ll come with a heavy wrestling-oriented game plan like he did against Kevin Holland, but you still got to side with the champ. I’m still leaning with the champ. He’s the champ for a reason,” said Bisping.
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