Other than having to be reminded by post-fight interviewer Daniel Cormier he was on national television, UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori made a brilliant case for himself getting the next crack at UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya on Saturday at the UFC on ABC 2 card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
During his interview, Vettori guzzled water as if he had never had anything to drink before as Cormier attempted on air to ask him several questions about his unanimous decision victory over Kevin Holland.
Vettori blurted out a few curse words before “DC” finally settled him down.
“Don’t curse,” Cormier reminded.
Unfazed, Vettori finished his long drink of water before starting to talk about how he had just landed the most takedowns ever (11) in a UFC middleweight contest against Holland in the main event of UFC Vegas 23.
The fight was televised live in the United States on ABC, and “The Italian Dream” made it crystal clear with the win that he’s ready for another crack at the middleweight champ.
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Same Strategy Could Help Foil Adesanya
Indeed, the fighter’s expert grappling skills and stalwart strength are what helped him dominate the lanky and awkward Holland, and that same style could work for Vettori against Adesanya.
“Keep breaking records, I did a lot of ‘DC’ right there,” Vettori said. “I worked a lot with my wrestling coach…I worked a lot on dropping that arm.”
Vettori stopped short of explaining how all that went during his fight because suddenly he seemed a little angry about his performance.
“…Listen, I’m not too happy with what I did because I wanted to finish the guy and I wasn’t able to. But it was a dominant win, and keep improving and keep going about myself. Five rounds for me is just a normal thing. I’m not the happiest right now, but I keep winning and keep progressing,” Vettori said.
But Vettori has won five straight fights since losing by split-decision to Adesanya in a three-round fight before “Izzy” became champ back in 2018, and now he wants another shot at “The Last Stylebender”.
“Yes, I want Adesanya next…In October, I want to fight him. I think I deserve it,” Vettori said.
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Vettori Has Strong Case, and He Knows it
Vettori has a strong case for the title shot, and he’s happy to explain it.
The 27-year-old proceeded to advise Cormier about all the reasons he thought he deserved the nod over the other fighters who might have a reasonable case for the opportunity, most notably perhaps perennial contender Derek Brunson or the winner of next week’s showdown between former champ Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
During a later interview with ESPN’s Megan Olivi, Vettori hinted he could explain it in person to the winner of Whittaker vs. Gastelum, too.
Vettori believes he’s the most worthy contender.
“I have the longest win streak right now. A lot of people were supposed to show up, and they didn’t. Now, I’m on a winning streak, like I said. I put on winning performances, dominant performances,” Vettori told Cormier.
What About Darren Till?
Vettori was originally slated to face Darren Till at UFC Vegas 23 before Holland had to jump into the role as a late-notice replacement for Till to save the card.
Theoretically, the winner of Vettori vs. Till would have had a strong case for facing Adesanya next for UFC gold, but no one is sure now what will happen after that fight fell off the card.
Regardless, Vettori still wants his shot at “Izzy” and he made a good case inside the cage on fight night that he deserves it.
“I want this title, man,” Vettori said.
Vettori Explains Improvement
Before defeating Jack Hermansson in his last fight, Vettori revealed to Heavy he believed he was the only fighter in the middleweight division right now who stood a chance at beating the 185-pound champ.
“I’m the only guy that can beat Adesanya at the moment,” Vettori said.
Hoping to become Italy’s first-ever UFC champion, Vettori also revealed to Heavy in that same interview why he’s so much better today than he was back when he first faced Adesanya.
“I was green,” Vettori said. “I kept training, and I kept growing. I feel like back then I was just a kid showing up with big balls and a lot of heart, now I have all of those plus I’m better at…everything. I’m just a lot more experienced.”
He’s not green now. Well, he’s not green inside the cage. Vettori probably still has some work to do as far as on-air interviews, but everywhere else in the game he appears to be the real deal.
Either way, Vettori looks like one of Adesanya’s biggest threats rights now at 185, and that fight could be on its way.
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