Off the back of his UFC Vegas 41 headliner last weekend, Italian standout, Marvin ‘The Italian Dream’ Vettori appears to have secured himself a backup service for the upcoming February 12. middleweight championship rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker at UFC 271.
Vettori, who scooped the #2 rank in the official middleweight pile upon the official rankings update this week, headlined UFC Vegas 41 last Saturday — producing a back-and-forth main event victory over fellow one-time middleweight title challenger, Paulo Costa in a turbulent light heavyweight headliner.
During fight week, Vettori, a staple of Kings MMA, claimed that Costa was severely struggling to make weight for their originally scheduled middleweight event on Saturday, with the Brazilian eventually corroborating those suggestions, and in turn, suggesting a 195lbs catchweight bout.
With both parties agreeing to the special catchweight contest, Costa was fined 20% of his fight purse as a result, before in quite shocking fashion, reports emerged just the day before the official weigh-ins, confirming that the bout would now take place at the 206lbs light heavyweight limit.
Besting Costa over the course of five rounds after the Brazilian was deducted a point by referee, Jason Herzog due to a second round eye poke, Vettori clinched an impressive unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46) victory, as well as Performance of the Night honors for his showing.
The victory returned the Rafael Cordeiro student back to the winner’s enclosure following a UFC 263 title challenge against two-time opponent, the above mentioned, Adesanya, where he failed in his attempt to pry middleweight gold from the City Kickboxing counter striker.
Speaking with TMZ Sports off the back of Vettori’s victory, UFC president, Dana White praised the Trento native’s performance against Costa last weekend.
“Listen, he’s (Marvin Vettori) brilliant to take that fight (against Paulo Costa),” White said. “First of all, he’s a stud — the guy isn’t afraid of anybody or any circumstances, he showed up to fight no matter what the weight was gonna be. [He] didn’t let any of that stuff get in his head, you know, stayed calm, cool, and composed during the entire week.“
When asked if Vettori would now be considered as a backup fighter for the upcoming February rematch between reigning champion, Adesanya and former titleholder, Whittaker, White claimed “it absolutely makes sense for him to be the backup.“
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