Marvin Vettori came into the Gila River Arena, Glendale, venue of his much talked about second outing against Israel Adesanya, the Nigerian born New Zealander, on a high. I mean, having had his fill on Marijuana the night before the encounter, hoping to nail the Stylebender via brawnish intimidation. But on the fight night, he had his hands full trying as he tried unsuccessfully to decipher Adesanya’s fighting style. In the end, he got burnt as ringside judges unanimously declared the champion a clear 50-45, 50-45, 50-45 winner, to retain his middleweight UFC belt.
Recalled that both the Stylebender and “Angry Marvin” as his Italian opponent is called, had heated encounters on social media, culminating in the faceoff at the press conferences where Adesanya told Vettori of his intention to quickly dispatch him on Sunday night in order to stamp his unquestionable authority on the middleweight division.
He proved himself right on the night as he took the night on a high even though he failed to put Vettori to sleep in the second round as he promised.
The Sunday night encounter, Adesanya’s successful third defense of his belt, came after losing to Jan Blanchowicz in a a daring bid to up his rank to the light heavyweight. Indeed, the Stylebender gave enough display to prove that he has truly improved on his ground work as he uncannily and severally untangled himself from Vettori’s trademark takedowns. Recall that Vettori had actually taunted the Stylebender to dare him on the floor as he claims he is miles a better brawler on the mat.
But Adesanya was on cue as he douse and dimmed Vettori’s takedown moves with red hot leg kicks and telling jabs.
With the unanimous decision on Sunday night, Adesanya bettered his first encounter with Vettori whom he defeated earlier via a slim split decision. This time, contest judges had no hesitation in reeling out a 50-45 point on all cards in favour of the champion.
Vettori, ranked number three in the weight category, had his eyes on dethroning Adesanya coming from his five back to back wins leading to Sunday night encounter. The Italian, nicknamed attempted to send the message early with his peculiar brand of tactically aggressive barroom, stand-up brawling style, signposted by his choppy footwork and movements which saw him relying more on shere power and belligerent forward pressure. His was the stark opposite of Adesanya’s fluid legwork and evasive defense.
In the end, the champion got the better of his challenger via telling jabs and effective leg kicks while foxily disentangling himself from his opponent trademark takedown maneuvers. Well now, we can confidently shout, “All Hail the Last Stylebender!”