The main event of UFC Vegas 75 features a pair of middleweights desperate to gatecrash the title picture again at 185 pounds, and if the pre-fight talk is anything to go by, we could be in for a cracker.
That’s certainly Marvin Vettori’s hope, with “The Italian Dream” reacting excitedly to comments made earlier in the day by his opponent, Jared Cannonier.
Speaking at media day ahead of fight night in Las Vegas, Cannonier had said that he planned to push the pace on Vettori and wanted to be the first fighter to knock him out.
That talk was welcomed by Vettori, who begged his opponent to do everything he can to back up those pre-fight words.
“Please, please, please try and go on and do it. Please, please! Yes! Come, bring it! Let’s go!” he said with a grin.
“I cannot welcome it more than that. I cannot welcome it more. Please bring it. Just bring it like ‘big drama show.’ like Triple G says. Come on. Bring it on, please!
“Let’s try that. Just let’s fight like there is no second round.”
The middleweight title picture is a little up in the air following Israel Adesanya’s return to the top of the division, and Alex Pereira’s announcement that he is moving up to 205 pounds. It means there’s a big opportunity for contenders to push their claims for a shot at the gold. But, despite the stakes at play, Vettori’s focus is firmly on his performance on Saturday night.
“My whole focus is to just go out and just put on a great performance, finish him in a spectacular fashion, or regardless put on a very dominant performance,” he said.
“After that, I think everything will fall into place.”
Despite his own title ambitions, Vettori said he expects the winner of the upcoming bout at UFC 290 between Robert Whittaker and Dricus du Plessis is likely to get the next shot.
“I think that, even though maybe it’s not official, I think that fight is kind of like title eliminator. And I mean, yeah, I mean, you know, like with the South African thing, like when one is more African than the other, (that) kind of makes sense. Whoever wins will eventually get that fight, even though I don’t I don’t see going (du Plessis’s) way.
“If Whitaker wins, then he definitely deserves a title shot. So we’ll let that fight play out and then and then I’m next and then you know, like, um, next so, but again, like I’m not even overthinking that too much. My whole focus now is on Saturday night.”
Each of Vettori’s last four victories has come via the judges’ scorecards, with his last finish coming back in 2020, when he submitted Karl Roberson via rear-naked choke. Vettori said that he’s very keen to add to his 11
“There is. I definitely want a very dominant victory. I’m definitely looking for a finish,” he admitted.
“But, at the same time, at this level I cannot let it get into my head and then maybe lose a fight because I’m going after a finish too much. I do want a finish, I can tell you that much, and I am working more and more to finalize my opponents.
“But, at the same time, like I said, these guys are not easy to be taken out. It’s still like five five-minute rounds or three five-minute rounds. It’s not to the death. We have a little bit of limited time. So yeah, there is (a chip on my shoulder), but I can’t let it get to my head too much.”