Marvin Vettori Pleads Case for UFC Title Shot, Rematch with Israel Adesanya

By: Tristen Critchfield
Apr 11, 2021

Marvin Vettori wasn’t in much danger against Kevin Holland in the UFC on ABC 2 headliner on Saturday, but it wasn’t the type of performance that turns heads, either.

“The Italian Dream” relied on takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound to roll to a unanimous decision triumph over Holland at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for his fifth consecutive triumph at 185 pounds. Vettori’s dominance was reflected in the final scorecards: All three cageside judges submitted 50-44 tallies in favor of the Kings MMA product.

While Holland a few fleeting moments of success when the combatants were on their feet, those were few and far between as Vettori set a middleweight record with 11 takedowns. All told, Holland has been grounded a combined 17 times in back-to-back losses against Vettori and Derek Brunson.

“I knew he was really wild. When he goes for strikes, he really throws himself in. He’s either out or in,” Vettori said after his victory. “If he clinches, there’s no point for me to get off the clinch. You risk his short elbows he throws off the clinch. So I was looking for strikes and he would just jump in, so I was like, ‘I’ll just clinch him and get him down.’ He would clinch me and I’d have the advantage. Why would I get off the clinch and risk anything? So I just took him down.

“Hats off to him, because he was sharper today than his last fight. He wanted it more. He had way more urgency in getting back up. It was a good fight. I want to go back and watch it. I wanted to stop him, but couldn’t. Still, it was 50-44. I had a dominant performance.”

Prior to his current winning streak, Vettori dropped a split-decision to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC on Fox 29. The 27-year-old Italian believes his recent track record exceeds that of someone like ex-champ Robert Whittaker, who is slated to face Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC on ESPN 22 main event this coming Saturday.

“Five wins straight, accepting anybody at any time, always showing up, always making weight, never complaining about nothing, and I just beat these guys very dominantly,” Vettori said. “I leave no doubt. The last fight I had with Adesanya was the closest fight he’s ever had, and in my eyes, I still won it. That fight has to be made again. I don’t think Robert Whittaker is that hungry.”

In his ideal scenario, UFC president Dana White will give Vettori an invitation to watch next weekend’s headliner with him cageside.

“I want Dana to give me a ticket for me to sit next to him to watch the fight, and that fight will say a lot,” Vettori said. “But regardless, I think I’m next in line, and I deserve it. I’m next, man. Nobody has the winning streak that I have, all my opponents have been solid, and I’m next.”

As it stands, it seems likely that Vettori will need to add to his resume before he gets a title shot. Four of his five triumphs during the current winning streak have gone the distance. An emphatic stoppage could do wonders for his case to be No. 1 contender.

“I expect perfection,” Vettori said. “I expect me going out and breaking the guy, and sometimes, I feel a little like I fell a little bit short of my expectations. But that short is still a great performance, a very dominant performance.”

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