UFC 263 will be headlined by a much-anticipated rematch between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and No.3 ranked Marvin Vettori. No love has been lost between the old foes since their first fight back in 2018.
But the recent altercation between the archrivals in the fighter hotel has raised many eyebrows. Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori both threw verbal jabs at each other during the small interaction. But neither fighter made aggressive advances, which was most expected.
While the incident could simply be intended to generate hype around the fight, here are three ways to read the hotel altercation between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori:
#3 Israel Adesanya is feeling the pressure of the moment and overplaying the incident
Israel Adesanya tasted defeat for the first time in his MMA career against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259. There is no doubt that the Blachowicz loss was by far the most significant defeat of his long career spanning across three sports and it was wrestling that played a crucial role in Blachowicz retaining his 205lbs title.
Marvin Vettori had a lot of success against Israel Adesanya on the ground in their first fight back in 2018. He is also the only fighter besides Blachowicz to have won on a scorecard against Adesanya in the UFC.
Stylebender seemed to be reading too much into his hotel altercation with Marvin Vettori while later talking to The MacLife. It could easily have been the case that Israel Adesanya felt pressure to fight another superior grappler immediately after suffering the first loss of his MMA career, which could have prompted him to overplay the incident.
#2 Marvin Vettori is cool as a cucumber and is confident of his victory
Marvin Vettori is known for his aggressive demeanor while interacting with opponents. However, the Marvin Vettori in the hotel run-in with Israel Adesanya showed no signs of aggression. ‘The Italian Dream’ laughed away Adesanya’s sarcastic questions and walked away with a smile.
Vettori lost to Adesanya by split decision in their first fight and has since aggressively campaigned for a rematch. Letting emotions get the better of him is a mistake that Vettori can’t afford to make, especially heading into a high-stakes title fight against a guy he already lost to.
Looking at the way the situation was handled by him, it is safe to assume that Marvin Vettori’s emotions are under control heading into UFC 263 and he is confident in his ability to defeat the champion.
#1 Israel Adesanya was right and Marvin Vettori is changing his tune
Looking at Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori’s heated interaction during a recent interview with Michael Bisping, one could easily be made to believe that both fighters can’t stand the sight of each other. But surprisingly, Adesanya and Vettori carried themselves with a lot more composure while talking at the hotel.
Israel Adesanya alluded that Marvin Vettori did not show the same amount of aggression because the latter might be afraid of a confrontation with the champ when there is no one around to control the situation.
While Adesanya has engaged in small talk with his opponents previously, Marvin Vettori has never really been the friendly type. Could it be that Israel Adesanya is right about Vettori changing his tune after meeting the champ in person?