Former middleweight title challenger Marvin Vettori kicked off the UFC 286 PPV card on Saturday at the O2 Arena, paired up with Georgia’s Roman Dolidze.
Italy’s Vettori, since 2017, had lost only to Israel Adesanya (twice) and, in his most recent outing, former champ Robert Whittaker. Dolidze was unbeaten in his last four fights, entering the night off a win over Sweden’s Jack Hermansson.
Both men came out firing, with Vettori utilizing a variety of leg kicks, and Dolidze relying on quick counter hooks to slow Vettori’s advances. Dolidze got the better of the latter exchanges of the first frame, likely winning the round on all three judges’ scorecards.
The second round was more of the same, with Dolidze just a small step ahead of Vettori in the striking realm. Dolidze implemented a level change, the first of the bout, in hopes of opening up some angles for his right overhand. Vettori was the more active fighter, however, and may have been able to steal the second frame from his opponent.
Following a very closely fought third round, Vettori was declared the winner by unanimous decision — which may have come as a surprise to some.
“The Italian Dream” improves to 18-6, and is back in the win column following his previous defeat to Robert Whittaker. It will be interesting to see what the UFC does with Vettori next, as he was ranked #4 prior to Saturday’s victory, though he has already competed against most of the top contenders in the middleweight division.
Roman Dolidze falls to 12-2 and will leave London with a poor taste in his mouth following a very solid performance.
Official Result: Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
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