This Saturday the UFC will give us a very entertaining middleweight championship fight between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. A former kickboxer, Adesanya is a unique fighter who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and is based in New Zealand. The reigning UFC middleweight champion has been compared to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Adesanya trained Taekwondo when he was young but his mother stopped taking him to class after he broke his arm. He eventually moved to New Zealand and started training in Kickboxing at age 18. The Muay Thai movie Ong-Bak inspired him and he moved to China before returning to New Zealand. At 21 years old he began to train at City Kickboxing with Kia Kara-France and Dan Hooker.
Adesanya’s professional career began in 2012 and he fought in New Zealand, Australia and China, going 11-0 with 11 TKOs. The UFC signed him in December 2017 and he debuted at UFC 221, stopping Rob Wilkinson in the second round. Adesanya is 9-1 in the UFC, with wins against Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa.
Adesanya faced Whittaker in a title unification bout on October 5, 2019 at UFC 243 and he won the fight via knockout in the second round to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. ‘The Last Stylebender’ has beaten two of his last four opponents by KO/TKO. In his last fight, Adesanya moved up a weight class to face Jan Blachowicz with the UFC light heavyweight championship on the line but he lost via unanimous decision at UFC 259 on March 6.
Born: July 22, 1989
Weight: 185 lbs
Association: City Kickboxing
Marvin Vettori was born and raised in Trento, Italy and he found martial arts as a teenager as he watched the UFC on cable television. Vettori was determined to make it in MMA, so he went to around five gyms to learn the skills needed to thrive in the sport. He eventually settled in Huntington Beach, California and his hard work, toughness and skill are unmatched.
His 7-2-1 record in under four years with the UFC suggests that he might be a bit overlooked. After all, he suffered a very close split decision loss against Israel Adesanya at UFC on FOX 29 on April 14, 2018 and followed it up with five straight wins. Vettori’s last victory came against Kevin Holland via unanimous decision at UFC on ABC 2 on April 10.
Born: September 20, 1993
Weight: 186 lbs
Association: Kings MMA