The “Last Style Bender” remains undefeated as a mixed martial artist.
But the work done by Adesanya over the first two rounds was enough to get the nod, as he improved to 13-0 with a split-decision win. The judges’ scores at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. were 29-28 across the board, with two going Adesanya’s way and a strange card in favor of Vettori.
In the opening round, Adesanya took his time as he let Vettori show his hand. Adesanya was fine with countering in the first stanza, but in the second, he turned things on, showing his world class kickboxing skills. Adesanya landed a wicked step-on elbow to the head, nailed him with a brutal kick to the torso, and peppered him with low kicks all the while.
Vettori has eight career submissions among his 12 wins, and he finally got the fight to the ground in the final round. Once they got there, though, they Vettori wasn’t able to do much of anything. Three times Adesanya got back to his feet before they were restarted from the clinch by referee Herb Dean with just over a minute left in the fight. The round ended without either fighter landing another major blow.
“Hat’s off to him and his marble head,” Adesanya said. “He had better head movement than I anticipated. A wins a win but I’m not happy with it.”
The New Zealand native improved to 2-0 in the UFC. Vettori (12-4-1) is now 2-2-1 in the UFC.