After putting an end to the ascent of a fresh middleweight contender, Marvin Vettori is back to business as usual.
Vettori (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) and Roman Dolidze squared off in the opening match of the UFC 286 main event at The O2 in London. After 15 minutes of intense, back-and-forth striking, the judges awarded Vettori the victory over Dolidze with scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27. (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC).
Leg kicks from Vettori were the focus of the first exchange and would continue throughout the fight. A short while afterwards, Dolidze unleashed a barrage of blows that forced Vettori to escape quickly. Despite the momentary excitement of the audience, Vettori was able to circle away and regroup. Before the competitors went back to their corners in the closing seconds of Round 1, Dolidze triggered another contentious exchange.
In the second round, as the competitors traded blows, Dolidze started insulting Vettori and insinuating that they should get into a fight. By meticulously choosing his punches and kicks on his own terms, “The Italian Dream” avoided the trap and stuck to his game plan.
The middleweight contenders needed to make their mark on the battle because it appeared to be knotted heading into the final round.
Dolidze initially applied a lot of pressure, but Vettori played well defensively and successfully countered. The action picked up speed halfway through the frame, with Dolidze initially taking the lead in the discussions. Vettori, however, kept responding skillfully. He incorporated punches and heavy leg kicks into his strikes.
One judge, surprisingly, scored every round for the former title challenger before the judges unanimously decided in Vettori’s favor.