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UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori

One of the brightest stars in MMA right now will return this Saturday as current UFC middleweight champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya rematches former foe Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori.

​ Israel Adesanya is coming off the first loss of his pro MMA career when he unsuccessfully challenged current light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259. Adesanya dared to make history when he faced Blachowicz, trying to become the fifth fighter in UFC history to become a champion in two weight classes simultaneously and just the first fighter to hold both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles simultaneously. Although Adesanya ultimately lost, his road to super stardom has only taken a minor bump. Adesanya debuted with the UFC in February 2018 and defeated Rob Wilkinson by second round TKO. Adesanya’s next fight took place against Marvin Vettori. Adesanya won the fight by split decision, but Vettori heavily disagreed with the decision. Adesanya went on to win his next four fights, one which including Adesanya winning the interim middleweight title, and then challenged Robert Whittaker to unify the middleweight belts. The event had the largest attendance in UFC history, and the event did not disappoint as Adesanya knocked Whittaker out in the second round. Adesanya has since defended his middleweight title twice, with the most recent defense being a second round TKO victory against Paulo Costa. Adesanya is primarily a kickboxer but is very well rounded. Adesanya did struggle with the takedowns from Blachowicz, but with Adesanya being the smaller fighter in that fight it’s not a huge surprise he was controlled on the ground. Adesanya is very good with keeping his distance and just touching his opponent with jabs and leg kicks. Adesanya is never overzealous and picks his shots carefully. Adesanya is still a star even though he’s coming off a loss and getting a decisive win over rival Vettori is just what he needs to get back on track.

​ Marvin Vettori, currently ranked No.3, has quietly put together an impressive win streak since losing to Adesanya. Vettori is on a five-fight win streak, with each win being more impressive than the last. Vettori is coming off a dominant unanimous decision win over rising talent Kevin Holland. Vettori’s original opponent had to pull out, and Holland offered to step in on a few weeks’ notice and Vettori agreed. Vettori outwrestled Holland to secure the win. Before that, Vettori took on Jack Hermansson when Hermansson’s original opponent had to pull out a few weeks before the fight. The fight would be a scrap between the two with Vettori pulling off the upset to earn a unanimous decision win over the top contender. With each passing win, Vettori had put together a strong case to rematch Adesanya with the middleweight title being on the line this time. Vettori’s wish has finally be granted and he’ll get his chance at both revenge and a chance to become world champion this Saturday. Vettori is also a well-rounded fighter but is more of a grappler opposed to Adesanya’s kickboxing style. Vettori will look to take down Adesanya and control his rival on the ground and look for a finish. Vettori will set up his takedowns by throwing a jab or a hook and then shoot for the takedowns. Wherever the fight ultimately ends up, Vettori will be well equipped to deal with whatever his rival throws at him.

​ Rematches are always fun, but they are even more fun when a title is on the line. I’m picking Israel Adesanya to put a close on this chapter with Vettori by defeating Vettori by decision. Watch all of the amazing fights this Saturday on ESPN+ PPV!

(In memory of my dad, Gerald Tidwell, I miss you every day.)

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