PHOENIX – The smoldering bad blood between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori reached an explosive crescendo Thursday afternoon in a heated and often inconsistent press conference ahead of the UFC pair’s rematch 263.
Adesanya is expected to return to his old 185-pound playground on Saturday to defend his title after an unsuccessful attempt to win a second belt from UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in March. The setback marked Adesanya’s first loss in MMA career, and it’s the one Vettori reminded Adesanya on several occasions during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. But given the history between the two middleweights – Adesanya beat Vettori by split decision in April 2018 – the champion was quick to point out the difference between how the two have handled their most recent losses.
“I’m a man – I step up even if I lose,” Adesanya said in front of a boisterous crowd in Phoenix. “Even if I lose, I take it and accept it and move on – unlike him. He keeps this loss against me like it’s the biggest win of his career.
“He’s telling himself a story to convince himself of bullshit, because his whole character is bullshit and he just believes in his own bullshit,” said Vettori, who has argued for nearly four years that he should ‘I have was the legitimate winner of his first fight with Adesanya. ” It is what it is. This is completely wrong.
“Well, I’ll tell you this thing: this weekend you won’t need the judges,” Adesanya replied. “We brought out (dissenting judge) Chris Lee, but this weekend you won’t need the judges. “
“I can tell you the same thing,” Vettori replied.
“Oh no, I’ll show the same,” Adesanya retorted. “Believe me, do your thing. What are you gonna do, try to sniff my jock? You’re going to try to sniff my jock for five rounds, but in the second round you’re going to hit the ground. You’re going to sniff the ground with that ass nose plastered on the left side of your face.
Adesanya (20-1) added that he did not believe Vettori deserved the title shot given to him, but vowed to prove a point in the rematch nonetheless. “The Last Stylebender” said he was inspired by how fellow Nigeria-born champion Kamaru Usman violently finished Jorge Masvidal in a rematch at UFC 261 after initially defeating Masvidal in a much more mundane effort during their first fight.
Vettori (17-4-1) has emerged as a legitimate middleweight contender since his loss to Adesanya, going 5-0 on a streak that included wins over ranked enemies Kevin Holland and Jack Hermansson. “The Italian Dream” has long expressed disgust with the score in his first fight with Adesanya, which saw Judges Derek Cleary and Chris Hayes award Adesanya the victory, but Judge Lee gave the fight to Vettori. Notably, 15 of the 17 media scores on MMADecisions.com marked the fight for Adesanya.
This tension between the two middleweights was fully visible on Thursday, as they paused throughout the event and erupted into loud screams.
“You can’t even understand the mumble he’s saying,” Adesanya said at one point, particularly unintelligible. “Doesn’t he look like this (character) from ‘The Goonies’?” “
“What, because you think you look good?” Vettori replied angrily. “You look like a fucking tramp!” Look what you look like. Watch how you dress.
“Look what you look like! Adesanya replied. “You look like the fucking orc from the ‘Lord of the Rings’. I’m going to smash you with my shins, throw bows in your face and make you even uglier than you are.
Adesanya’s resume, in particular, seemed to be a major point of contention for Vettori, as the Italian fighter constantly suggested that the champion was overrated. Adesanya is a perfect 9-0 as a middleweight in the UFC, and has written spectacular performances against Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Derek Brunson and more.
Still, Vettori wasn’t impressed – and Adesanya just wasn’t trying to hear him.
“Honestly, since our last fight, you can look at the pile of people he fought and the pile of people I fought – there is a big difference,” Adesanya said.
“You lost to (Yoel) Romero,” Vettori interrupted. “You lost to me. Then you lost to Blachowicz. Who did you beat? Did you beat Borrachinha (Paulo Costa)? And he was drunk the day before? Who did you beat? Great, wow.
“Who did you beat? Adesanya fired back. “Tell me, who did you beat? Name three of the top 10 opponents you have defeated. Name them. Exactly. You have nothing. I can tell you who I beat. You all know who I beat.
“Look, I’ve introduced myself every fucking time,” Vettori replied. “Just because they can’t fight with me, it’s not my fault, man.” Whoever showed up got beaten up by me.
“It’s your fault because you don’t even run your own career. I’m leading your career, ”Adesanya said. “I am the story of your career. I’m running your fucking shit, bitch. ”
“You tried to ignore me, bitch!” You tried to ignore me – I’m here. I’m your fucking nightmare, ”Vettori said, tearing off her sunglasses to lock her eyes with Adesanya.
However, it only drew a chuckle from the champion.
“Look at him,” Adesanya said. “Do you know what it’s called? This is called roid rage. Try me again. It’s not caffeine – it’s stiff rage, bitch. “