The one thing all top middleweights have in common is a good win streak that was broken by Israel Adesanya and then going on to rebuild those win streaks. Brunson, Vettori, and Whittaker all have suffered the same fate. Marvin Vettori was scheduled to face Darren Till, with the bout being canceled after Till suffered injuries in training. Kevin Holland stepped in on short notice and the main event was saved.
Come fight week, everyone seemed to be in for a show as Kevin was not his usual blabbering self, laser focussed on the task at hand. (except for the bread goof that is) Too bad for Kevin that a few weeks earlier, top middleweight Derrick Brunson had already laid out the blueprint to defeat Holland.
Vettori took a few liberties in the first round and got hit by Kevin. That is when he decided to take Brunson’s approach and go ahead to control 80% of the fight on the ground. Vettori won the bout by Unanimous Decision and has his eyes set on a rematch with the champion now. The only challenger that stands in his way? Robert Whittaker.
Vettori said that he feels the former champ “blew” his shot at the title as he lost his hunger. “I don’t think he’s that hungry you know? He missed his shot after beating Cannonier, that was his shot and he blew it” Vettori continued, “Next week will tell a lot, he was a champ, he got knocked the hell out and I’m next you know?”
Marvin Vettori: “I don’t think he (Robert Whittaker) is hungry anymore”
Robert Whittaker was knocked out by Israel Adesanya when the pair met in 2019 to unify the middleweight title. Since then, Whittaker took a short break, owing to “burn out” and returned in 2020. He was able to win a UD victory over Darren Till in a five-round fight. In October Whittaker faced, who many considered to be the most dangerous man in the division, Jared Cannonier.
The Reaper was able to land a hard kick early, which fractured Cannonier’s hand. Since then it was smooth sailing along with one knockdown to a UD victory. Whittaker then decided to take some time off to spend Christmas with his family. He also did not want to miss the birth of his newborn, comments that were twisted by Dana in post-fight presser. Vetorri’s comments were made with regard to this.
Whittaker for his part has responded to Vetorri’s comments in typical Bobby Knuckles fashion saying, “My future doesn’t go past next week, all my energy and focus is on fighting Gastelum, there is nothing past him right now”. Whittaker added in a sneaky diss against Adesanya by claiming the champion “doesn’t like” rematches too much.