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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Marvin Vettori: UFC champion Alex Pereira will beat Israel Adesanya again if they rematch

Marvin Vettori thinks UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has Israel Adesanya’s number.

Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) dethroned Adesanya to capture the middleweight title last November at UFC 281 with a fifth-round TKO. The win marked the third time “Poatan” got his hand raised against Adesanya, with the other two times in kickboxing.

With Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) being up 3-1 on the judges’ scorecards before getting finished by Pereira, an immediate rematch could be next for the former five-time defending champion. But if they do run things back, Vettori sees the same outcome.

“No, no, if they fight with Izzy (Adesanya) again, he’ll beat Izzy again,” Vettori told The Schmo. “I don’t know. I feel like he had a mission on beating him and then now he doesn’t really even – I mean, of course he cares because everybody cares about money, but he knows it’s like risky to fight anybody that has very good grappling. But I don’t mind him, I like him. If I have a chance to fight him, definitely I wanna fight him.”

Vettori (18-5-1 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 209 in Paris. Whittaker was tentatively booked to face Paulo Costa at UFC 284, but the bout was scrapped after Costa failed to come to terms with the UFC.

So with Whittaker losing out on his opponent, Vettori doesn’t mind seeing him get the next shot at Pereira – and he likes his chances of winning.

“He’s beating a lot of people, he beat me the last fight, and the dude is solid,” Vettori said. “I think he deserves a title shot, too. I don’t know.”

He continued, “I think Whittaker can do it (beat Pereira) because of the grappling a little bit, and he’s a smart fighter.”

Former title challenger Vettori will meet rising contender Roman Dolidze on March 18 at UFC 286 from The O2 Arena in London.

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