Three years after sharing the octagon with Israel Adesanya, “The Italian Dream” Marvin Vettori wants to achieve his ultimate goal and become Italy’s first UFC champion. Kings MMA leader Rafael Cordeiro, who was in Vettori’s corner that night and returns to Glendale for Saturday night’s UFC 263 rematch, is confident they will dethrone “The Last Stylebender.”
“It’s a fight he’s been asking for for a long time and I think he’s had a big evolution from the first one,” Cordeiro said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Both fighters have changed a lot. Israel has its merits, but there is a lot in its game that we will try to exploit now.
Adesanya was 12-0 as a professional MMA fighter when he fought Vettori in the UFC on FOX 29, winning a split decision after 15 minutes of tough fighting. Since then, “The Last Stylebender” beat Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa in an incredible middleweight run before missing out in a lightweight bout with champion Jan Blachowicz.
Blachowicz managed to win a decision over Adesanya with timely strikeouts three months ago, and some are wondering if the middleweight superstar had enough time to correct that opening in his game. Cordeiro expects “a war” just like their first meeting.
« [Fighters] will always try to improve even in a short period of time like three months, ”Cordeiro said. “If he had time to fix it or managed to fix what he thinks he did wrong, [the Vettori rematch] will tell the story. We go into this fight to tell a new story, forgetting what happened in the first one, exploring the qualities of Marvin and knowing that we have qualities on the other side too. [of the cage]. «
“Big challenges are what make athletes and I see Israel as a big challenge right now,” he continued, “but there are other guys in this division who are just as tough or even tougher. because they have not shown any weakness and they are hungry. Israel took part in some battles and showed many holes against Romero, Anderson and Kelvin. He won, yes, but showed plenty of holes in his wrestling, hitting, and takedown defense, and those are things you need to exploit. We knew how to explore that, and we think Marvin can come out champion on Saturday. “
Cordeiro had two chances to handle Adesanya his first loss in MMA, coaching Vettori in 2018 and Kelvin Gastelum a year later, but refuses to make it personal.
« [Adesanya’s] only the split decision wins were against my students, ”Cordeiro said. “The split decisions he made, the ones that left some doubt, were against Kelvin and Marvin, so he knows we’re tough on him, just like we know he’s that strong, and that’s what. that makes things interesting. But the score is now back to zero. It’s another opportunity to fight a great champion, and our goal is to take the win this time around.
“I think this fight could have gone one way or the other,” he said of the first game. “If Mavin had shot him early he might have had an advantage, I don’t know. That’s what it is, it was supposed to be that way. We lost this fight by split decision and now we are coming back to try for the victory. “
Vettori grabbed a shot at middleweight gold after scoring five straight wins since that narrow loss to “The Last Stylebender” in 2018, including decisions over Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland. Cordeiro sees the Italian star as a “very talented kid” who already has “the mindset of a champion” and promises to “erase that doubt about who really won that first fight” with the rematch of the UFC 263.
The seasoned coach will not go into details of what he has planned for Vettori at UFC 263, whether or not they will take a page from Blachowicz’s book and force Adesanya to spend 25 minutes working on his defense. against withdrawal.
According to Cordeiro, this isn’t the only hole in Adesanya’s MMA game.
“Marvin has a good shot and has no problem [standing and trading with Adesanya] Cordeiro said. “He is calm, he attacks and against. He has one of the best scorers in this division, so it will be interesting to see him against someone of Israel’s caliber to test him as well.
“We know Israel’s firepower and kickboxing, but he has a lot of openings in his defense and we’ll test that in this fight. It’s an MMA fight and there will be a lot of punching, kicking, wrestling, grappling. It’s a five-round fight that will demand a lot from both of you and that’s why we’re working a lot on his cardio. It is no longer the best fighter who wins a fight, it is the best athlete. Cardio is as important as muay thai, jiu-jitsu, wrestling. We’re going to push hard for five laps, doing what we know from start to finish.