The main event is the third iteration of the scheduled fight atop the card. Hermansson originally was scheduled to face Darren Till, but an undisclosed injury forced the one-time welterweight title challenger to withdraw from the event. Till was replaced by Kevin Holland, who hoped to notch his fifth appearance in 2020 before a positive COVID-19 test scratched him from the event. In Holland’s place went Vettori, as eager a contender as UFC fans have seen as of late.
Like many fighters, Vettori had a challenging 2020 as the pandemic ruled him out of an appearance opposite Darren Stewart at UFC London and then scratched a meeting with Karl Roberson at UFC Jacksonville. Vettori and Roberson eventually squared off, and Vettori picked up a first-round submission to extend his current winning streak to three fights.
Hermansson is four months removed from a first-round submission win over one-time title challenger Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Island 2. That put him back on the right foot after a knockout loss to Jared Cannonier deflated a title run with four straight wins including three stoppages.
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Round 1: Hermansson circling left, away from Vettori’s power hand. Vettori still gauges distance well and lands several left straights. Hermansson attacks the legs. Vettori still working well on the inside. Hermansson’s punches are short. Big body kick is good for him, and he finds his first well placed counter. But Vettori’s speed and power do damage on the comeback. Vettori is closing in, and Hermansson fakes a takedown. Nice counter work from Hermansson, who’s taking advantage of Vettori’s aggression. Then a left straight drops Hermansson, and Vettori swarms. Vettori grabs the neck in half-guard and cranks, but the choke isn’t there. Hermansson works to sit up and gets a second to recover. Vettori pounds the body and holds on to Hermansson’s right arm. In to guard goes Hermansson, and Vettori stands against the cage and pounds away. As Hermansson tries to right himself, Vettori again grabs the neck, forcing a scramble from Hermansson. Again, Hermansson pitches forward and works to reverse, and Vettori sees it coming and whips to side control before settling in half-guard. Hermansson gets enough space and stands, but he runs out of time before he can return fire.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Vettori.
Round 2: Hermansson comes out swinging, and Vettori backs off. The straight left gives Hermansson pause, and he’s pushed back twice before shooting in for the single-leg takedown. Vettori sprawls out and sits down briefly before recovering. Hermansson tries to spin him around and winds up reversed. In Hermansson’s guard, Vettori works to control his opponent. Hermansson gets the oma plata, and Vettori immediately steps over. In half-guard, Vettori again works to flatten out Hermansson, who’s constantly moving from the bottom, looking for ways to better his position or work for a submission. Vettori stands out of half-guard and toys with the legs for a bit, and Hermansson stands up. Vettori back on the counter as Hermansson tries to score a big shot. Hermansson picking up the volume now, but he breaks up the rhythm with a single-leg attempt and briefly stuffs Vettori against the cage. Vettori escapes and slugs it out in the final seconds, scoring with several punches.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Vettori, who’s up 20-18.
Round 3: Hermansson again out aggressive, and they trade body kicks. Vettori continues to set up the straight left, and Hermansson attacks the legs. Timing from Vettori is better, and his left follows Hermansson’s right with speed. Hermansson doesn’t like the look on the feet, so he grabs a leg. Again, Vettori defends and stays upright. Hermansson is at his best when he keeps the pace high and mixes his leg attacks with quick jabs and right hands. Another single-leg nets little for Hermansson, and the two strike again. Another takedown attempt fails, and Hermansson is starting to find his way through with a right hook. It looks like Vettori is feeling the short-notice, but he’s on a different level in striking when he’s on point. Hermansson covering up against that left and lands a nice right hook. It’s not enough to test Vettori’s chin, and they go back to slugging it out in close. Right hand still money for Hermansson. Not as much steam on Vettori’s punches, and so Hermansson’s is making up ground. He ends in pursuit of Vettori, landing a couple more shot.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Hermansson, and it’s 29-28 Vettori.
Round 4: Hermansson again closes and mixes it up in close with Vettori, trading punches. He takes Vettori’s best straight left and continues to work a pesky jab while covering up against the counters. Overhand right still working for Hermansson, and his movement is a lot more sound this frame. Vettori still landing that left, but he’s eating that right on the regular. Hardly any leg kicks from either – this round is mostly boxing. Vettori starts to time his left straight better, and he starts to outbox Hermansson, working counters off Hermansson’s punches. Nice uppercut and right from Hermansson, who’s in pursuit with one minute left. Vettori starts to turn it up, throwing in a heavy body kick, then a big punch combo as Hermansson turns his head away. Hermansson starting to get a little too eager, allowing Vettori to pick him off.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Vettori, who’s up 39-37.
Round 5: Right into a phonebooth fight they go, trading shots in close. Vettori is the more accurate fighter, and after an initial exchange, Vettori starts to inch ahead. Hermansson won’t accept that, though, and comes back with big uppercuts and right hooks. Vettori regularly slipping the right and popping back with his straight left. Hermansson eats a big left, and they clinch up. Seems more like Hermansson’s idea as he’s taken a lot of huge shots. He’s covering up, but Vettori is still pounding him and ducking out of the wway of the right hook. It’s an unbelievable pace the two have kept, and it’s only seemed to have increased in deep waters. Hermansson explodes and ends a combo with a right hand. His next one misses as Vettori rear slips and pops him back with the left, first a straight and then the uppercut. Hermansson still coming and pushes Vettori briefly to the fence. Vettori comes right back and pushes his foe with that left hand. Finally, Vettori ducks under Hermansson’s arms and clinches up against the cage. With 45 seconds left, it’s likely Vettori is smothering Hermansson to seal the victory. Hermansson dives for an ankle as he spills to the mat. Vettori escapes the hold and ends the fight in half-guard. Quite the display of action for the two middleweights, but one that short-notice replacement Vettori is likely to triumph.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Vettori, who earns the 49-46 decision.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Marvin Vettori def. Jack Hermansson via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-45)