Despite his best efforts, Marvin Vettori failed in his bid to become a middleweight champion after falling to Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 263.
While the Italian fighter definitely had his moments, he ended up taking too much damage to his feet in a striking rally with Adesanya and he didn’t really get to benefit from the eliminations he made throughout the fight.
In the end, all three judges scored the fight 50-45 for Adesanya and although Vettori concedes defeat in the fight, he doesn’t accept that he lost all five rounds.
“I think I did a lot of good things,” Vettori told BT Sport after the event. “I had a lot of success with boxing exchanges. The story of that fight was the kick in the leg, I guess. I went back and talked to my coaches, I think the 50-45 was definitely not the right decision but that’s what it is.
“At the end of the day, I’m 27 years old. I’ll go back to the hotel, I’ll go for a run. I’m going to go run and do like a five mile run. I didn’t even take a hot shower because I feel like I don’t deserve it. This is how I am mad. I will go back to work and prepare for the next fight.
Part of the fight narrative was whether Vettori could potentially use a similar game plan against Adesanya as reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, employed just a few months ago.
In that 205-pound clash, Blachowicz used his considerable size advantage and grappling power to put Adesanya on the mat and control him there for much of the fight, which ultimately resulted in a unanimous decision.
While Vettori managed to bring Adesanya down to the ground, he couldn’t maintain control for very long and this ultimately allowed “The Last Stylebender” to reverse his stance or break free to get back on his feet.
“It’s really slippery,” Vettori said of Adesanya. “He has his own game, his own way of staying on the ground. He does what he does and he plays his way. He might not be offensive or anything, but defensively he’s pretty good.
“That being said, I had all the cards in my hand to beat him, but I didn’t. I said that when I arrived I would leave no doubt and even if I had won I would have left doubts and at the end of the day I didn’t do enough.
Afterward, Adesanya and Vettori exchanged a few words that momentarily seemed to bury the hatchet after so much bad blood leading up to battle. Adesanya then walked away and rolled his eyes, which he later explained because despite the result, Vettori still claimed that he actually won the fight.
According to Vettori, that’s exactly what happened in the heat of the moment, but he has no problem giving Adesanya credit for a job well done.
“Right after the fight I thought I won,” Vettori said. “I thought I won and he said ‘no you didn’t win.’ He was like ‘in the end respect we don’t love each other but respect’ and I said y’know what, we’re sharing the octagon for eight rounds now, for 40 minutes roughly. At the end of the day, you need to donate some props.
Although the result is not what he wanted, Vettori is not going to sit back and sulk the result because he is already thinking about what will happen next for him so he can start his ascent to another title a day.
Vettori is not averse to any particular matchup the UFC might offer him, although in a perfect world he would really like to face Brazilian middleweight Paulo Costa.
“To be honest, I would really like to destroy this drunk guy who can’t even stop drinking,” Vettori said, referring to Costa. “It’s ‘Borrachinha’… I would really like to slap this guy.
“I am also a player as they come. You can count on me, when there is a fight and there is a date, I introduce myself. We’ll see. “