Long before Israel Adesanya went to war with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236, one of “The Last Stylebender’s” toughest fights prior was one against Marvin Vettori. Indeed, Adesanya narrowly edged out “The Italian Dream” via split decision at UFC on FOX 29 in April 2018 in a super-close fight.
Since then, both men have gone on to do great things, with Adesanya capturing the Middleweight strap and Vettori winning four straight fights, good enough to earn him the No. 6 ranking at 185 pounds. With Vettori lined up to face Darren Till at UFC Vegas 23 on April 10, 2021, a win over “The Gorilla” could shoot him up to a rematch against Adesanya.
But, “The Last Stylebender” has a dog in the fight because he has gone on record numerous times saying that he’d love to give Till the next title shot. According to Vettori, it’s simply Adesanya’s way of trying to get on his nerves while hoping to avoid a rematch.
“He’s doing it on purpose,” Vettori told MMA Junkie. “He’s definitely doing it on purpose. He wants Till to win, and he’s trying to get on my nerves. I can see this thing miles away. He knows what’s going to happen.
“Darren Till is a good fighter,” he continued. “I’m not going to underestimate him. My attention is 100 percent on him, and he’s dangerous, and I have to put my whole attention on him. But I’m confident that my next fight and his next fight will be him, and Israel’s next fight will be me.”
Vettori isn’t keeping his disdain toward Adesanya a secret. Case in point, he is very bothered that even though Jan Blachowicz schooled Adesanya and handed him his first mixed martial arts (MMA) loss a few weeks ago, the media seems to be writing more about “The Last Stylebender” than the man who beat him.
“I don’t like the guy, so I didn’t want any good for him,” Vettori said. “I think the winner of that fight is the guy who deserved to win, and that’s all that matters to me. I think Jan was better, and I think a lot of the thing Jan predicted about that fight, it happened. I’m happy the judges judged it the right way. I think Jan was really good defensively, and he shut down Israel’s game and he did a great job.
“Now I’m a little disappointed,” Vettori continued. “Not that I care, but sometimes I see these things and I wouldn’t like that to happen to me. The media are over Israel again, and no one talks about Jan, and Jan is the current champ and beat a guy that was the champ at middleweight to come up and take his belt.… Jan blocked his way from taking the light heavyweight belt. I’m going to take the middleweight belt and once and for all the hype train will be derailed.”
Adesanya’s rise to superstardom is one of the reasons he is constantly stealing the headlines win, lose or draw when compared to Blachowicz, who has a more reserved personality.
But, if “The Italian Dream” has a say in the matter, Adesanya better enjoy the fame and recognition he has now because if he has the chance to get a do-over, the party is over for “The Last Stylebender.”