Jared Cannonier promised that he would come to scrap against Marvin Vettori, and “The Killa Gorilla” performed as advertised at UFC Vegas 75.
Cannonier produced a thrilling performance against teak-tough Vettori in a fight that set a new record for significant strikes landed as he connected with 241 such strikes over the course of the 25-minute bout at the UFC Apex.
As you’d expect, Vettori battled toe to toe with Cannonier, but “The Italian Dream” was outworked and outlanded by his American opponent as Cannonier ran out the unanimous decision winner, with scores of 49-45, 49-45, 48-46 to put him back in the championship conversation at the top of the UFC’s middleweight division.
“Well, you know, after the Adesanya fight, my goal was to increase my output,” he told Paul Felder after his win.
“I am an effective striker, so, the most significant strikes in middleweight history – I’ll take that, that notch in my belt (and) maybe help submit myself in history.”
While Cannonier took the victory and wrote his name into the UFC record books, it wasn’t one-way traffic during the bout, with Vettori landing big in the first round. Cannonier admitted that he got clipped hard and had to use his grit to fight through a tough spell before going on to win the fight.
“I don’t even know what shot he hit me with!” he admitted.
“I just saw a flash and it went dark for a second. I was able to recover and rally back.
“We had a teammate do something quite similar. Mike Hamel did the same thing in his fight last night (at Bellator 297). He got wobbled early in the fight, trucked on and got the win. I’m happy to duplicate (that). I didn’t want to get hurt, didn’t want to get hit.”
Cannonier also paid tribute to Vettori, who took Cannonier all the way to the scorecards to preserve his record of never having been finished in his career.
“Marvin was a tough dude, he remains unfinished in this Octagon, so hats off to him for that,” Cannonier said.
“I put some hard shots on him, I gave it the best I could muster for this fight and, as you saw, I broke the record tonight, so that’s a huge feather in my cap. I’m really proud of myself.”
Despite the striking record, Cannonier didn’t just stand and strike for the full 25 minutes. He mixed some wrestling into his game and explained that he was happy to be able to show more facets of his MMA game during the matchup.
“I wanted to show more wrinkles in my game,” he said.
“I wanted to show that I’m not just a striker, I’m not just going to knock you out. If I can get you down to the ground, I can put a hurting on you there, as well. I didn’t get a chance to show any submissions – Marvin was smart enough to not give any away, so kudos to him for that. But I’m happy I got to display some more of my skillset in here, and to show the world that I’m still at the top of my game. And I’m only getting better.”
After a win like that against a tough, respected fellow contender, Cannonier now re-enters the title discussion at 185 pounds. The Alaskan said he is aware of the current state of the championship picture, but stated his willingness to jump in if an opportunity presented itself.
“I want the title shot. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to go towards the title,” he said.
“I know they already have a contenders match (Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis) already on the books, but I’m willing and ready to step in. If anything happens with that title shot coming up, or the fight that gets me the title shot, that’s what I want.”
UFC Vegas 75: Official results
- Jared Cannonier def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision (49-45, 49-45, 48-46)
- Arman Tsarukyan def. Joaquim Silva via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:25
- Armen Petrosyan def. Christian Leroy Duncan via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Pat Sabatini def. Lucas Almeida via submission (arm triangle) – Round 2, 1:48
- Manuel Torres def. Nikolas Motta via knockout (elbow) – Round 1, 1:50
- Nicolas Dalby def. Muslim Salikhov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 39-28)
- Alessandro Costa def. Jimmy Flick via TKO (elbows) – Round 2, 1:03
- Kyung Ho Kang def. Cristian Quinonez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:25
- Carlos Hernandez def. Denys Bondar via technical decision (30-37, 30-37, 29-28) – Round 3, 4:59
- Tereza Bleda def. Gabriella Fernandes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dan Argueta vs. Ronnie Lawrence ruled a no contest (referee error) – Round 1, 2:20
- Modestas Bukauskas def. Zac Pauga via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)