Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight bruisers Marvin Vettori and Israel Adesanya will battle this Saturday (April 14, 2018) at UFC on FOX 29 inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
He’s being overlooked a bit in favor of his highly-touted opponent, but Vettori has previously established himself as one of the division’s better prospects. The 24-year-old Italian has shown a well-rounded game that’s consistently improving, and he’s lost just once in five UFC appearances. Of course, it’s easy to understand the reason people are so excited about Adesanya. “The Last Stylebender” is one of the most decorated kickboxers to ever step into the Octagon, showing off solid grappling defense and great patience in his Octagon debut to earn yet another knockout win.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each fighter:
Key Wins: Vitor Miranda (UFC Fight Night 112), Alberto Uda (UFC 202), Igor Araujo (Venator FC 3)
Key Losses: Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC 207)
Keys to Victory: Vettori is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt with eight submission victories to his credit. The prospect has always been working under Rafael Cordeiro at King’s MMA, showing improved kickboxing offense since making that transition.
Defensively, he’s still very much a work in progress judging from his last brawl, but aggression is the name of the game here anyway.
At this stage in his career, the ideal opponent to defeat Adesanya would be a strong wrestler with chain takedowns, tight top control and the gas tank to wrestle for three rounds. Vettori doesn’t quite fit the mold, but he’s definitely powerful, can wrestle and is as tough as a $2 steak.
Vettori wants Adesanya on the mat, and he must bully the smaller man into the fence first to accomplish that. Vettori will be the bigger man — not in terms of height and reach, but weight — and he must rely on that to kick, punch and push back his foe. Along the fence, Vettori has a real chance to score takedowns, and he’s likely to dominate if able to establish top position.
Key Wins: Rob Wilkinson (UFC 221), Melvin Guillard (Australian Fighting Championship 20)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: A professional kickboxer and boxer, Adesanya is one of the most technical, creative and dangerous strikers in UFC. Each of his 12 professional wins came via knockout, and there’s little doubt that Adesanya is looking for another stoppage here.
This is a similar match up as last time for Adesanya, Vettori is just all-around better than Wilkinson. In that match, Adesanya used rangy kicks and punches to the body to slow down the grappler, patiently defending the majority of takedown attempts until his foe was severely tired.
Sounds like a wise strategy here as well.
Vettori is young and tough, but there is no toughing out a clean body shot. Attacking the mid-section and legs will quickly make Vettori a less threatening grappling and slower striking, leaving him very vulnerable to Adesanya’s massive technical advantage on the feet.
Bottom Line: Two of the better 185-pound prospects are facing off, and it should be very fun.
Vettori is a major underdog in this match up, but there’s a clear path to victory for the Italian. He’s legitimately dangerous on the mat, undoubtedly the best wrestler/grappler who Adesanya has faced yet. If he does pull off the upset by forcing Adesanya into uncomfortable positions, it will go a long way in building his name and pushing him closer to the rankings.
Adesanya already has a ton of hype, and his debut victory were very impressive. If he continues in similar fashion against a tougher opponent, the push behind “Stylebender” will accelerate significantly. UFC would love to see him ranked and fighting fellow strikers, which is the reason he’s already been given the co-main event slot.
For either man, a loss is a manageable setback. Vettori is still quite young and not really expected to win, so there is only opportunity for him. Adesanya is deeper into his career as a combat sports athlete, but he’s still relatively young in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). If Vettori exposes some part of his ground game in particular that needs work, it will likely benefit him long term.
At UFC on FOX 29, Marvin Vettori and Israel Adesanya will go to war. Which fighter will have his hand raised?