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Analyzing who actually won the first Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori fight

Israel Adesanya (left) and Marvin Vettori (right)
Israel Adesanya (left) and Marvin Vettori (right)
Rafael Bandayrel

The initial encounter between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori ended with a split decision win in favor of 'The Last Stylebender.'

However, the debate over who really won the fight was reignited after the pair got into a heated exchange in an interview during the UFC Vegas 28 broadcast. Naturally, Israel Adesanya claimed he rightfully won while Marvin Vettori insisted he was robbed.

"It's destiny, man. It happened three years ago. It went how it went. But I think I won that fight but now we get to settle the score," Marvin Vettori said.

The Italian fighter was interrupted by the champion, who laughed his comments off before saying:

"The fact that he actually still thinks and holds on to that loss like it's the best win of life is laughable."

Both men continued to put forth their best arguments, and neither would let up as poor Michael Bisping tried his best to play the role of mediator.

Watch the heated exchange between UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and title challenger Marvin Vettori below:

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Thankfully, UFC 263 is just around to settle the debate once and for all. This time around, the stakes are higher as the UFC middleweight title is on the line.

But while we're waiting for the blockbuster championship bout between Adesanya and Vettori, why don't we take a closer look at their first fight and determine who truly deserved the nod?

Below is a round-by-round breakdown of Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori at UFC on Fox 29:

Round 1

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

It's no secret that Adesanya is the better striker while Vettori has the edge in the grappling department. Vettori showed a lot of confidence early on as he pushed forward with strikes, seemingly trying to beat Adesanya at his own game.

Unsurprisingly, though, Adesanya quickly reminded his opponent who the better stand-up fighter is. 'The Last Stylebender' evaded his opponent's advances as he chopped away at Vettori's legs with low kicks.

Vettori fired back with some lunging shots towards the end of a largely back-and-forth opening round. At the end of round one, Adesanya landed 24 of 47 significant strikes while Vettori connected 18 of 58.

Round 2

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

Vettori utilized a different strategy in the second round. He immediately shot for a takedown, but Adesanya telegraphed his plan and successfully defended it. Adesanya found his rhythm as he started mixing up his combinations with body shots and landed clean blows to Vettori's head.

Things got heated when Israel Adesanya landed a clean elbow strike that Marvin Vettori claimed was an eye poke. The Kiwi replied by flipping his opponent, who gave him the finger back. This was the moment it became clear there was no love lost between the two.

In round two, Adesanya won the striking exchange by connecting with 23 of 55 significant strikes while Vettori only landed 15 of 58.

Round 3

Marvin Vettori
Marvin Vettori

In the final round, Vettori was finally able to take Adesanya down and secure a dominant position. However, the Italian failed to inflict any significant damage once the fight shifted to the ground. Adesanya got back to his feet, but Vettori took him down once again.

Though Vettori clearly won the round, the surge came too late as two out of three judges saw enough from Adesanya to award him the decision. This round can be perfectly summed up by this hilarious verbal exchange between Adesanya and Vettori.

Marvin Vettori: "I'm just gonna wrestle you, buddy. I'm just gonna come in and try to hang on to your leg and take you down and eventually tear you up."
Israel Adesanya: "Well, he can try. I mean it's not like anyone hasn't tried that in my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, how many f***ing UFC fights."
Marvin Vettori: "I tried and succeeded at it to be honest."
Israel Adesanya: "What did you do with the takedown? I sat down for like two minutes and got back up and whooped your a**."

Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori: Who really won?

Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori [Photo courtesy: UFC's YouTube channel]
Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori [Photo courtesy: UFC's YouTube channel]

According to the official UFC Fight Stats, Israel Adesanya connected 57 of 123 significant strikes, while Vettori managed to land 46 of 127. However, Vettori scored the only two takedowns of the fight, convincing judge Chris Lee to give him the decision.

Israel Adesanya had something to say about that too:

"This time I'm gonna finish the job. Last time you had hope. You had hope because one dumb judge gave you that f***ing fight when everyone else knows that you lost that fight."

Marvin Vettori certainly looked like the busier fighter as he constantly pushed the pace and threw a larger volume of strikes. However, Israel Adesanya was clearly more efficient in his approach as he landed more despite throwing fewer shots.

We may therefore conclude that the decision was rightfully awarded to the more deserving fighter, Israel Adesanya.

Also Read: 3 things UFC fans can expect from Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2

How do you think the rematch at UFC 263 will go? Tell us in the comments!


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Edited by Avinash Tewari

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