Marvin Vettori is back in the winning column after halting the rise of a new middleweight contender.
The opening fight UFC286 On the main card at The O2 in London, Vettori (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) took on Roman Dolidze. It was a close, hard back-and-forth for 15 minutes, but when the dust settled the judges gave up 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 points in Vettori’s favor over Dolidze (12-2 MMA, 6- 2UFC).
Vettori opened with two leg kicks that proved to be a focus throughout the fight. A moment later, Dolidze unloaded a barrage of strikes, making Vettori an early retreat. Although the crowd was excited at the moment, Vettori was able to circle away and reset. In the final moments of round one, Dolidze sparked another heated exchange before the fighters returned to their corners.
As the fighters negotiate strikes in the second round, Dolidze began taunting Vettori and inviting him to a brawl as his confidence grew. “The Italian Dream” didn’t fall into the trap and stuck to his game plan, carefully choosing his punches and kicks on his own terms.
With the fight seemingly tied before the final round, the middleweight contenders had to put a stamp on the fight.
Dolidze kept the pressure up early but Vettori put on solid defense while landing solid counterattacks. Midway through the frame, the action intensified, with Dolidze initially leading the exchange. However, Vettori continued to respond well. He mixed his attacks with punches and pounding leg kicks.
The judges ruled unanimously in favor of Vettori, including one judge who saw every round for the former title contender.
Vettori entered the competition in 5th place at the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie Middleweight Rankingwith Dolidze behind him in 12th place.
The win for Vettori marked a return to the Victory Column after a loss to former champion Robert Whittaker in September. Before that setback, Vettori clinched a unanimous decision win over former title challenger Paulo Costa.
Dolidze walks away with only the second loss of his pro career, ending a four-fight winning streak that included three straight wins.
Recent UFC 286 results include:
Marvin Vettori defeated. Roman Dolidze by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jack Shore defeated. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:27
Chris Duncan defeated. Omar Morales by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Yanal Ashmoz defeated. Sam Patterson via KO (punches) – Round 1, 1:15
Muhammad Mokaev defeated. Jafel Filho via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 3, 4:32
Defeated Lerone Murphy. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Christian Duncan defeated. Dusko Todorovic via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:52
Jake Hadley defeated. Malcolm Gordon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01
Joanne Wood defeated. Luana Carolina by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein declared majority tie (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Defeated Veronica Hardy. Juliana Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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Source : sports.yahoo.com