Israel Adesanya Returns at UFC Glendale

Israel Adesanya Makes His Sophomore Start this Weekend

There’s a whole lotta violence coming your way this weekend. The main event pits two golden gods of gore against each other in a battle of brutes. But before that, Israel Adesanya steps into the octagon for the second time.

After a stylish debut, Izzy will look to make waves in Arizona against Marvin Vettori and this time, the lights will be far brighter. But that’s his trajectory and it’s only getting bigger from here.

The promotion has clearly recognized the talent he holds and the attention he commands and have now given him a healthy step up in competition.

Marvin Vettori is certainly not the prince of the middleweight division, but he is a terror in his own diluted way. “The Stylebender” must find yet another way to maneuver himself past the Italian and keep on the path towards gold. He’s just a few fights away, but the heat has just been turned up.

Let’s Break It Down

Israel Adesanya can contend right now, it’s very clear. But on his way up the ladder, match-ups are going to force him to progress or wilt.

This is one of them. Frankly, I was shocked to see Adesanya draw the Italian as his opponent for the weekend. Marvin Vettori is a bull in a china shop, but what comes with that is a lack of finesse.

On the feet, he tries to push his left straight through the guard of his adversary, often without set-up, often with his chin straight up for all the world to admire. When pressured, his right hand leaves it’s defensive formation and wanders out on it’s own; that allows the left hook to land on a consistent basis, as was the case with Omari Akhmedov. When countering, his lead foot stays firmly planted forcing his weight to come up over his toes, making him off balance and very hittable; that’s a bad problem to have against Izzy. But what he lacks in skill, he makes up for in will.

His forward-moving presentation forces opponents back on their heels to counter-strike. For Adesanya, that’s no issue. His knowledge of range is spectacular and though the octagon is an unfamiliar environment to him; Izzy navigates it well, which will allow him to move outside of Vettori’s left straight without getting trapped along the fence-line.

Offensively, Adesanya’s ability to fight from both orthodox and southpaw offers him the opportunity to confuse his opponent’s guard and land shots from dynamic angles. From southpaw, the pushed left finds it’s home and the back foot becomes very active with stabbing front kicks and clubbing high kicks. In the orthodox stance, Adesanya works with the jab to maintain range and land clean shots behind it.

From either stance, his body work is second to none and his patience to find and pick the proper shots needed to crumble his foe borders the mystic. It’s how he’s defeated his first twelve opponents and it’s how he’ll defeat the next twelve.

Who Will Win?

It’s very obvious in my eyes that this is Izzy’s fight to lose.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Marvin Vettori and the tenacious approach he brings to the fight game. But this is not the first rodeo for Israel Adesanya. He’s been in this game far too long to allow a man whom he holds a significant technical advantage against to beat him.

I’m sure the masses will question his wrestling ability and the possibility of that perceived weakness to be used against him, but those who say that are misguided. Adesanya’s wrestling is far beyond a legitimate concern. Of course, that statement will eventually be tested by a superior grappler in the middleweight division. However for now he’s safe.

Vettori doesn’t hold the wrestling acumen needed to overwhelm “The Stylebender” and that will ultimately lead to his demise within the fight. His shot is to back Adesanya to the fence and turn this into a dog-fight. If that goal cannot be realized, the fight won’t last long.

I envision Vettori coming out strong with the understanding that positional dominance will be of utmost importance. But as the fight races along, there will be no way he can continue. It’s an uphill battle and I don’t see him soldiering on for very long.

Credit his toughness if the fight makes it beyond the eight minute mark.

Onward and Upward

Listen, I don’t want to turn this into a sure thing, but I don’t see a scenario where Israel Adesanya walks out of the cage in disappointment. The real battle will be going on outside the cage.

Fans have already taken a liking to him, but this weekend represents a very new venture for him entirely.

If he can win in impressive fashion and steal the Glendale crowd, he’ll punch his ticket to the top of the division. We’ve seen the UFC push a youthful contender quickly through the ranks before and for a fighter as talented as Adesanya, it’d be very easy for them to do it again. High-profile fights and title bouts are on the horizon; all it takes is one last try-out.

Pass with flying colors and the world is his oyster. Don’t miss this.

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