Adesanya vs Vettori Analysis and Prediction

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Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori Analysis and Prediction

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Israel Adesanya (20-1) vs Marvin Vettori (17-3-1)

Middleweight (185)

UFC Middleweight Championship

Israel Adesanya

Despite failing to secure double champ status last time out, Adesanya is still very much one of the UFC’s finest athletes. An elite striker, feints have long remained the hallmark of Adesanya’s increasingly aggressive counter-striking. On the outside, Adesanya’s comfort is undeniably clear. With his feet always perfectly balanced beneath himself, Adesanya baits opponents in by leaning his head forward, before utilising his natural length to pull back and counter hard. The Kiwi is one of the only strikers where huge emphasis on head movement is encouraged. Teasing opponents into head-hunting, Adesanya’s clear Achilles heel in his body and legs have rarely been targetted in his ten-fight UFC career.

It is hard to see what changes Vettori has made that will stop Adesanya from winning another decision based on the jab alone. With a six-inch reach advantage against a wrestler with limited head movement, twenty-five minutes of a ram-rod jab will break any opponent from continuing to close the distance. Vettori has sharpened his boxing, especially his jab, but he will still struggle to ever come on top in 50/50 exchanges due to the reach differential. Adesanya is vulnerable when pressed into successive defensive movements, often falling over his feet as he attempts to move his head, body and feet in unison. This reactive defence, however, is seen only in the pocket. While Vettori pressed Adesanya during their first bout, his cage cutting needs to have vastly improved if he wants to suffocate Adesanya’s space.

Marvin Vettori

The Italian Meatball has more than secured his right to a title shot. Putting together a five-win streak over a mixed bag of competition, the problems Vettori caused during his first fight with Adesanya undoubtedly forced the match-makers hand. By underplaying Vettori in the lead-up, many are overlooking his tools are similar to old Polish Power at 205. Grinding wrestling, solid boxing and relentless pressure are the same aspects that Blacho rode on to crush the Middleweight champ’s dreams. Of course, the 25lb weight class jump probably had an equally large role behind the Pole’s success, but stylistic similarities remain a valid factor.

Vettori’s pressure boxing shines when his wrestling remains a potent threat. Against Kevin Holland, Vettori built upon his eleven takedowns to level change into intelligent, extended combinations. Adesanya’s TDD looked amateur against Jan last time out, and similarly poor against Rob Wilkinson during his debut, yet has been otherwise stellar. If, as is expected, Vettori cannot pressure with takedowns, the glaring holes in his striking defence will be exposed. Coupled with Vettori’s short reach and relatively slow hand speed, he will find himself struggling to touch the Kiwi despite stripping him of the centre of the octagon. By kicking the legs out from under Adesanya’s lateral movement, he would root his foe to the mat more effectively, but Vettori has never shown much penchant for kicking. An excellent chin and exhausting pace will keep Vettori active throughout, but he lacks the flush power to trouble Adesanya. This is the Kiwi’s fight to lose.

Predicted Result: Adesanya Decision

Despite failing to secure double champ status last time out, Adesanya is still very much one of the UFC’s finest competitors. It is hard to see what changes Vettori has made that will stop Adesanya from winning another decision based on the jab alone. With a six-inch reach advantage against a wrestler with limited head movement, twenty-five minutes of a ram-rod jab will break any opponent from continuing to close the distance. Vettori has sharpened his boxing, especially his jab, but he will still struggle to ever come on top in 50/50 exchanges due to the reach differential.

Vettori’s pressure boxing shines when his wrestling remains a potent threat. Against Kevin Holland, Vettori built upon his eleven takedowns to level change into intelligent, extended combinations. Adesanya’s TDD looked amateur against Jan last time out, but the 25lb jump in weight may have played a large factor in hampering an otherwise stellar TDD. If, as is expected, Vettori cannot pressure with takedowns, the glaring holes in his striking defence will be exposed. An excellent chin and exhausting pace will keep Vettori active throughout, but he lacks the flush power to trouble Adesanya. This is the Kiwi’s fight to lose.

Battling to a razor thin split decision, Israel Adesanya secured bragging rights over Marvin Vettori back in 2018 | UFC 263

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