UFC 263 Picks – Adesanya vs. Vettori
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The last stylebender returns to the Middleweight division to take on the Italian Dream, Marvin Vettori.
After an unsuccessful attempt to gain a second belt at Light-heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz in March, current UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya rematches the Italian Dream in Marvin Vettori this weekend as the main event of UFC 263.
Putting the loss behind him
Since failing to secure his second strap of gold at UFC 259 in March against current undisputed Light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, the current Middleweight champion in Adesanya will look to put the loss behind him and continue to dominate the division he so quickly ascended since joining the promotion back in 2018. It’s difficult to predict just how Adesanya will bounce back from his first defeat as a professional mixed martial artist, however, he had tasted defeat 5 times previously in his illustrious kickboxing career, notably his last fight where he lost via a vicious left-hook knockout to Alex Pereira before moving sport in search of a fresh challenge.
The fresh start certainly worked in Adesanya’s favor, as he went on to amass a twenty-fight win streak within MMA, 10 of those coming at the pinnacle of the talent pool within the UFC. If this is how Israel responds to a loss, then it’s safe to say Marvin Vettori is in for another hard night.
The Italian dream rises again
Since their fight meeting at UFC on Fox 29 back in April of 2018, Marvin “The Italian dream” has maintained that he won their fight. The judges were split, with two giving Adesanaya the victory and the third for Vettori, however, upon reflection we struggle to see how it can be seen that way. The plentiful feints and accurate striking of Adesanaya was consistently disrupting the flow of Vettori, allowing him to eat numerous stinging combos. Although he wasn’t entirely unsuccessful in the first two rounds, it was undoubtedly in the third that Marvin looked his best. He came out fast for the last round and was able to secure two takedowns against Israel after laboring somewhat, however, once he did have top control, he failed to inflict any meaningful damage.
Adesanya was able to find his feet again after this and land more strikes, albeit the pop in his shots had diminished somewhat from the fatigue of wrestling someone as physically strong as Marvin, who hasn’t lost since their first bout.
Did Jan provide the blueprint to success?
Something that won’t have gone unnoticed by the Middleweight division in the wake of Adesanya’s first slow within MMA, was the ease at which Jan Blachowicz was able to take down Israel and control him comfortably there. Now, middleweights have been attempting to take down Israel ever since his first fight within the organization as that’s a common tactic to nullify any competent strikers’ output, but outside of Vettori, no other Middleweight had previously been successful. Although he wasn’t able to inflict damage on Israel, Blachowicz was able to control him and Marvin may have taken notice, as he is able to inflict some strong ground and pound once in top position.
Adesanya must be well aware of this weak point in his game and will have brought in wrestlers for this camp to work on his take-down technique to let the division know that at this weight class, it won’t be as easy as at Light-heavyweight with the naturally bigger guys.
Revenge or Repeat?
Although we are picking Adesanya to get the winning streak back on track and retain his UFC Middleweight belt, we expect Vettori to bring a different game plan to their rematch. Marvin has had the benefit of watching how other styles have faired against Israel, with most recently Paulo Costa being caught in the headlights and picked apart from distance before being finished in the second round, an outcome Marvin will be desperate to avoid as he greatly dislikes the New Zealand native.
Coming off an impressive five-fight win streak with confidence at an all-time high, Marvin has the physical attributes to upset the champion and become UFC’s first-ever Italian champion.
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