The UFC Vegas 41 main event is set to be an absolute banger when knockout artist Paulo Costa takes on the machine that is Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division.
It’ll be the first time that Vettori has stepped into the cage since his UFC 263 defeat to Israel Adesanya, a rematch he had been clamouring for since their first fight in 2018.
That first bout was a split decision victory for the current 185lbs champion, but Vettori had always protested that he won the fight.
After some injury problems and over a year out, Vettori returned the following year and racked up a five-fight win streak in order to claim a title shot earlier this year.
In each of those fights, the Italian was able to completely dominate and overwhelm each of his opponents. He secured only the second finish of his UFC tenure so far when he choked out Karl Roberson in their grudge match, but aside from that has completely controlled fights from start to finish.
His performance against Jack Hermansson was particularly impressive given he took the fight on short-notice, while he dealt with the explosive striking and power of Kevin Holland well too in the fight following that.
But against Adesanya in the rematch he failed to really show his tools. There was a lot of waiting, less of that overwhelming pressure that we’ve seen in the past and he wasn’t able to secure significant takedowns in the fight to get the fight where he wants it.
The power and accuracy of Adesanya’s striking warranted a slight change in game plan for sure, but Vettori disappointed his fans and himself with his performance that night.
Now, against a powerhouse like Costa who has 11 knockouts from 13 career wins, Vettori can look to put it right.
He will look to get the fight down again as he always does and he will look to walk forward with pressure. Costa arguably has more knockout power than Adesanya, despite the ‘Last Stylebender’ owning a KO victory over the Brazilian, but he’s not as fast or accurate.
This is a chance for Vettori to step into the cage and deliver a performance that fans can go back to in the future as a sign of why he is among the best middleweights in the world.
He is missing that stellar win on his resume right now, that career defining moment. The UFC Vegas 41 main event is the chance for him to earn that and put himself on the map as being in the title conversation for the foreseeable future.