Other than being African-born UFC champions, Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya have a lot in common when it comes to their competition. Both fighters have had to deal with former opponents eager for a rematch.
Usman took care of the business against his rival Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261. It appears the Nigerian's win has inspired Adesanya to prepare for his upcoming title fight against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.
While speaking to Combat TV, Israel Adesanya admitted that the prospect of fighting Marvin Vettori in a rematch initially did not inspire him. Stylebender previously defeated Vettori via a split decision in 2018.
However, watching Kamaru Usman defeat Jorge Masvidal convincingly in a rematch inspired Adesanya, who wants to put a similar end to his rivalry with Vettori.
"Kamaru beat Jorge, went on and beat Gilbert Burns and called out Jorge again and said, 'I wanna fight that guy and this time I'm gonna finish him.' And he did just that... So watching that kind of inspired me... Cause this c**t (Vettori) somehow thinks he won that (first) fight," said Adesanya.
"He holds on to the loss to me better than his biggest win. So, I kind of want to put that final nail in the coffin and shut him up. And let there be no doubt. That's the motivation for this fight. After seeing Kamaru do that to Jorge, I'm inspired to do this to this guy as well," explained Adesanya.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will attempt a third successful defense of his title against Marvin Vettori (17-4-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) at UFC 263 on June 12, 2021.
The bout came to fruition after No.1-ranked Robert Whittaker refused to fight Adesanya without allowing his body to completely recover from the damage sustained in the fight against Kelvin Gastelum in April.
Marvin Vettori will test an alleged weakness in Israel Adesanya's game
Much of the intrigue surrounding the rematch between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori is due to the nature of the outcome of their first meeting. The fight was Adesanya's second appearance in the Octagon after a spectacular debut against Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.
After getting outpointed in the stand-up, Marvin Vettori secured takedowns late in the fight and only just allowed Israel Adesanya to get away with a narrow split decision win. Takedowns also played a major role in Israel Adesanya's loss to light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259.
Vettori's success on the ground led to speculation about Adesanya's grappling getting exploited by middleweights in his future bouts. Although Adesanya has a formidable takedown defense, both Blachowicz and Vettori were able to take him down with relative ease in the center of the Octagon.
Most of Israel Adesanya's middleweight rivals are likely to target this seemingly unfixed flaw in his game. Marvin Vettori will be the first one to test Adesanya on the ground again in the upcoming title fight.