Israel Adesanya got the victory over Marvin Vettori at UFC on FOX 29 on Saturday, but it was the longest fight of his career, as the Italian took him the distance.
“The Last Stylebender” tried and tried, but he just couldn’t overcome Vettori’s resistance and put him away inside of the first two rounds like he had his twelve previous opponents.
While Vettori was aggressive from the opening bell, Adesanya was much more fluent, constantly shifting from southpaw to orthodox and back, bobbing and weaving, making the Italian overcommit and waste a lot of energy.
All the while, Adesanya chipped away at Vettori’s lead leg with low kicks and stuck him with a stiff jab, trying to set him up for a finish, the way he had to every other opponent he’d ever faced.
That all changed in the third frame, as Vettori knew he was running out of time, and gave it everything he had to finally drag Adesanya to the canvas. He passed to half guard, having his best success of the fight. Unfortunately, he was unable to mount much offense once they hit the canvas.
Adesanya regained his feet, only to keep being dragged back down, but the Italian couldn’t keep him there or hurt him.
Adesanya got the fight back to the feet for the final minute of the fight, but they both appeared too tired to find a way to finish. Vettori was acting on fumes, while Adesanya just didn’t have it in him to pull off the impressive knockout with which he had ended his twelve previous bouts.
When the fight was over and the judges’ scorecards were read, Adesanya walked away with a split-decision victory, but looked crestfallen, almost as if he had lost the fight.
“Hat’s off to him. His bobblehead held up. A wins a win, but I’m not happy with it,” Adesanya said after the fight.
“I want to stay active. Dana, I know you’re around, so I want to fight again as soon as possible.”