While virtually any observer who witnessed the UFC 263 headliner would have given the nod to Israel Adesanya without any question, Marvin Vettori has remained in denial about the final verdict.
“The Italian Dream” was seen arguing with Adesanya over the scorecards in the aftermath of their middleweight title bout on Saturday night, and he reiterated that sentiment in an interview with BT Sport following the event. At the end of the night, “The Last Stylebender” received a trio identical 50-45 tallies from the cageside judges.
“I think I did a lot of good things,” Vettori said. “I was having a lot of success with the boxing exchanges. Story of this fight was the leg kick, I guess. I went back and I talked to my coaches, I think the 50-45 was definitely not the right decision but it is what is.”
Vettori’s game plan was to use his wrestling to neutralize the versatile striking arsenal of the reigning champion. Though the Kings MMA product landed four takedowns in the fight, he was unable to control Adesanya for any significant period of time on the canvas. As a result, he was outlanded by a 96-to-58 count in significant strikes.
“He’s really slippery,” Vettori said. “He has his own game, his own way of staying on the ground. He does what he does and he’s game in his own way. He might not be offensive or anything but defensively he’s pretty good.
“With that being said, I had all the cards to beat him but I didn’t. I said coming in I would leave no doubt and even if I would have won, I would have left doubts and at the end of the day, I didn’t do enough.”
Vettori, who previously fell to Adesanya via split decision in April 2018, had a five-bout UFC winning streak snapped in defeat. The 27-year-old Italian isn’t dwelling on the loss, because he already has his next opponent in mind.
“To be honest, I’d like to really destroy this drunk guy that can’t even stay off drinking,” Vettori said when referencing Costa. “It’s ‘Borrachinha’ … I’d definitely like to smack this guy.
“I am as game as they come. You can count on me, when there’s a fight and there’s a date, I’ll show up. We’ll see.”
Whether Costa will be available is another matter entirely. The Brazilian recently backed out of a proposed booking against Jared Cannonier, citing a lack of satisfaction with his pay.