Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (-174 / +136)|
|Venue||Gila River Arena|
|Time||Approx. 12:15 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel.|
Saturday’s Main Event at UFC 263 features a Middleweight rematch between Champion Israel Adesanya and No. 3 ranked contender Marvin Vettori.
Vettori’s most recent loss came via split decision against Adesanya in a three-round bout in April 2018. At the time, 15 of the 17 media scorecards and more than 60% of fan scorecards sided with Adesanya in the fight.
While I agreed with the decision, Vettori didn’t begin to execute his optimal game plan until the third round, and it seemed as though he might have had the advantage on that night if the fight were five rounds.
Can “The Italian Dream” turn the tide on “The Last Stylebender” in a five-round title fight, or will Izzy bounce back from his first career MMA loss and both close the show and end this rivalry in style?
Below I preview the matchup and odds for tonight’s fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||16:06||14:53|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||7/22/1989||9/20/1993|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.95||4.14|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.63||2.90|
|Take Down Avg||0.0||2.22|
The last place Vettori wants to hang out against Adesanya is at range. In a stand-up war with Jack Hermansson, Vettori proved that he could maintain an incredible pace (landing a middleweight record 164 significant strikes) over the course of five rounds.
However, Adesanya has a significant advantage in reach (+6 inches) over the Italian. He would likely pick Vettori apart from range, as he did in the first fight (47-32 through two rounds) even though the Italian has made drastic improvements to his striking and has become a very efficient fighter (+1.24 strike differential, to +1.32 for Adesanya).
Instead, I would look for Vettori to make this fight gritty in the early going to tire out Adesanya by pushing him up against the cage and/or attempting takedowns.
Vettori landed 11 takedowns (on 17 attempts) in his last fight with Kevin Holland. While Adesanya’s first-level takedown defense is pretty solid, once you do get him down, he’s not very adept at getting off of his back and tends to get passed with relative ease.
As a result, each takedown could mean a full round in Vettori’s favor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get into some dangerous positions on top too.
Vettori needs to press forward and close the distance to put Izzy on his back foot. Of course, that’s exactly what Adesanya — a dangerous and precise counter-striker — wants his opponents to do:
That’s what makes this matchup so intriguing from a stylistic standpoint.
Even if he doesn’t get the fight to the ground, Vettori may eventually be able to pull away on overall volume and pressure. While Adesanya is a flashy striker and a brilliant technician, he’s often tentative in fights and lost against Jan Blachowicz on pure activity (88-77 deficit on significant strikes) even before getting pulled to the mat for the final two rounds.
I am concerned about Vettori’s gas tank if he proactively wrestles from the jump and whether he completely gasses himself out with an early adrenaline dump — particularly in his first title fight and in front of a packed arena.
Vettori has the tools to defeat Adesanya and has the experience of facing this exact opponent before. He’s tasted Adesanya’s power and felt the resistance that Izzy offers when defending takedowns.
However, Vettori definitely took the wind out of his own sails for the end of the Holland fight (landed 1-of-7 significant strikes in the final two rounds), so he’ll need to mix things up efficiently and manage his gas tank properly to make it to the finish line.
Adesanya vs. Vettori Pick
I projected Marvin Vettori as a 39% underdog in this fight, and I think there’s value on his moneyline down to about +175, at just more than a 2.5% betting edge.
Furthermore, I projected his decision prop at +293, and I think there’s value on Vettori to win by decision at +345 or better.
He has the correct style to upend Adesanya — with the ability to throw more volume on the feet and to keep the champion on his back if he’s able to use his wrestling effectively.
However, Vettori is also a very bullheaded fighter who pressures forward with wanton disregard for his own safety. As a result, there’s a strong probability that Adesanya intercepts him with a big counter at some point; particularly late if Vettori is tiring from consistent early wrestling.
That being said, Vettori has made the more significant improvements as a fighter since the first matchup between this pair, and considering that you’re getting a better price than the first matchup (+200) to back the Italian, I think he’s absolutely the value side.
The Pick: Marvin Vettori (+220, 1 unit) | Marvin Vettori wins by Decision (+420, 0.25u)