Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 took place June 12 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (21-1) and Marvin Vettori (17-5-1) battled for UFC gold in a rematch. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view. Catch more video highlights below.
For more on Adesanya vs. Vettori 2, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Vettori comes out in southpaw with Adesanya coming out in orthodox to start. Lots of movement early from the champion and Vettori is looking to cut the cage. Plenty of leg kicks to the lead leg of Vettori as well.
Adesanya feinting a lot early too and we haven’t seen much offense from the challenger thus far, just pressure. Adesanya throws another naked lead leg kick though and Vettori now has the timing and catches it, taking the champion down. Adesanya has full guard but he scoots to the cage quickly and he’s looking to stand early. Vettori not allowing it thus far but Adesanya creates a scramble and stands.
Vettori stays on Adesanya though, holding the clinch and trying to get a takedown. He can’t through and Adesanya gets back to space. Undeterred, Adesanya goes right back to the lead leg kick. Vettori tries a punching combination but Adesanya slips easily, and he’s back to chopping down that front leg. That is going to pay dividends.
Vettori is able to corral Adesanya but he’s playing hell trying to land once he does. Adesanya head movement is stellar. And he is landing that leg kick at will. Eventually he’s going to feint low and it’s going to clobber Vettori if he goes up top.
Adesanya throws a five piece combo with one landing cleanly and a head kick at the end that missed by millimeters and would have ended the fight. Adesanya is clearly miles ahead of Vettori on the feet but the challenger is not looking for takedowns yet.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya.
Vettori isn’t getting beaten up on the feet but he’s getting schooled, if that makes sense. If he continues to engage in this fight, Adesanya is going to have all the confidence in the world. Vettori needs to shoot some takedowns and his coaches tell him basically as much.
Vettori comes out with pressure early and even throws his own leg kick but now he’s getting a little wilder and Adesanya counters with a couple of clean shots that snap Vettori’s head back. Brawling on the feet may give Vettori the best chance in striking but it also creates a big opportunity for Adesanya to cold him.
Another couple of exchanges with Adesanya getting the better of it and now Vettori shoots in and gets a double against the fence but Adesanya is stalwart thus far. Vettori gets close but has to abandon it eventually and they are back at space.
Vettori really coming forward now and though he’s still missing, to his credit he’s got a read on Adesanya’s slips and he’s throwing into Adesanya’s retreat path. That’s good at least, in concept. Meanwhile, Adesanya is still picking his shots and landing cleanly, especially with feints to set them up. All the while, Adesanya is still landing low kicks.
Adesanya is playing with a bit of fire backing up to the fence though and now Vettori gets in on another double leg but Adesanya lands some Travis Browne elbows that makes Vettori climb high again instead of eat more of those. Vettori is running out of ideas it seems like.
Back in space and Adesanya is starting to throw head kicks. You knew that would come and thus far they are missing but eventually, one is going to land and that’ll be the game.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 20-18 Adesanya overall.
Credit to Vettori’s corner. Rafael Cordeiro is shooting his fighter straight, telling him he has lost two rounds and that Vettori needs to up the pressure even more. Again, right idea in concept but may get him clattered too.
Adesanya lands a body kicks and right hook to start the round but Vettori powers through on a double leg in space and he runs Adesanya across the cage and gets the takedown early. That’s a good change for him.
Vettori is in top-half and he’s got Adesanya in the center of the cage, away from the fence. Adesanya is staying tight, not looking for much from the bottom, just playing safe. Now Adesanya scrambles but Vettori stays with him and he’s on the back!
Vettori was lightning quick with that and he’s under the chin! But Adesanya was turning quickly and now he’s on top! Adesanya doesn’t play around and stands up but Vettori grabs a leg and almost pulls off the sweep! Adesanya steps out and stands but as he does, he pokes Vettori in the eye and we have a break in the action.
Vettori takes a rest but not a long one and they are now back in space and Adesanya is turning up the volume as Vettori looks to be tiring a little. Vettori is pressuring a lot now though and lands a good left hook, his best punch of the fight. Vettori should really be targeting the body instead of head hunting.
Adesanya still landing leg kicks consistently and Vettori is starting to step a little heavier now. He’s ferocious though, continuing to charge forward. Adesanya playing the matador well though and still, looking for the head kick. Getting closer every time.
Leg kick from Adesanya drops Vettori briefly but he’s back up and Adesanya knows he to target that leg now. With less than ten seconds though, Adesanya throws a front kick that lands low and causes a break in the action. Two fouls from the champion this round, and it wouldn’t be absurd to penalize him.
Marc Goddard tells Vettori to take his time and as he does so, Adesanya says out loud that “I’m getting a rest as well.” Harsh. No point is taken though and the round resumes and then ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 30-27 Adesanya overall.
More of the same from Vettori’s corner during the break, imploring him to use the double jab and make something happen. Great idea but he may just not have the ability to do so.
Vettori hot off the blocks to start the fourth but Adesanya lands a leg kick, defends a takedown, and lands another one that buckles the knee briefly. Vettori still coming forward though but he gets kicked again. And again. And Vettori eats a left hook.
Now Vettori drives in on a double leg against the fence and he gets his hands locked but he’s not able to finish yet. Vettori sucks the hips out though and does finally get the takedown but Adesanya sweeps him almost immediately and stands back up.
Another kick from the champion. Vettori charges forward and lands a good right hand and if he had some real power maybe this would be a different fight but he is unable to hurt Adesanya and that’s giving him free reign on the feet. More kicks from the champion, mixing his levels.
Now Adesanya is coming forward and honestly, Vettori is actually doing a decent job of countering him off the back foot. He’s still losing the exchanges but these are his cleanest blows. Vettori comes forward and Adesanya lands a beautiful combo, ending with a leg kick. Credit to Vettoir for continuing to fight on a leg that has to feel like shit.
Vettori charges forward on a power single-leg and runs Adesanya back to the fence but he’s getting stonewalled here. The challenger is simply getting outclassed everywhere and now Adesanya is talking to him in this clinch while Vettori just holds on for the round. Adesanya pats Vettori on the butt as the horn sounds.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 40-36 Adesanya overall.
Vettori’s corner appears to have accepted that their fighter doesn’t have it, resorting to the most desperate of “five minutes to be champion” speeches. It’s not wrong but there just isn’t much to be said here. Vettori has ignored their technical advice thus far and he’s in an impossible hole.
Adesanya feinting beautifully to start and Vettori biting on everyone now. He eats a had low kick and charges in on a takedown but again, Adesanya gets to the fence and he’s fending it off well. Vettori clearly doesn’t even have the energy to muscle up one of these takedowns if he could and Adesanya isn’t giving him the change anyway.
After a prolonged clinch, Adesanya separates and he lands a good head kick. Vettori takes it well but he cannot get any real offense going. Not so for Adesanya who is looking masterful tonight, creating angles and tagging the challenger. Vettori lands a right hand that Adesanya mocks and Vettori lands a good right hook while Adesanya tried to set him up for a finishing uppercut that just missed.
Another takedown attempt from Vettori and he almost gets the takedown but Adesanya just avoids getting dragged down. Vettori holds onto the clinch though and honestly, this is starting to feel like he’s playing for the final bell. Can’t blame him but that’s a though scene and Goddaed separates them with 45 seconds left.
Adesanya looking for the finish with short time left but Vettori has been decently responsible on the defensive end. Vettori shoots another takedown and it fails as the horn sounds and Adesanya feigns injury before celebrating what will be a clear win for the champion.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Adesanya, 50-45 Adesanya overall.
Israel Adesanya defeats Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).