Marvin Vettori showed a steel chin and an iron will as he refused to back down to Paulo Costa’s thunderous striking tonight at UFC Fight Night 196, using his volume and forward pressure to best the Brazilian over five rounds.
The main event is underway in Las Vegas at 205lbs due to Costa’s weight-cutting issues after originally being scheduled for 185lbs.
Costa thinks about a body kick then aborts on it. He does land a low kick though. Kick attempt from Vettori. Another heavy calf kick inside from Costa.
Body kick from Costa, landing hard and then lands it again, but this time stumbles backwards afterwards and falls momentarily to the mat.
Vettori presses forward and unleashes a series of punches as Costa is backed up against the cage.
Back to striking range. Vettori lands a punch. Costa thinks about clinching up, but Vettori presses him into the cage instead.
They don’t stay there for long though before going back to striking range. Vettori lands a punch that got Costa’s attention.
Vettori throws again and both men seem to land. Again there’s heavy leather thrown. Body kick from Costa. Costa rips a punch to the body.
Vettori not imtimidated so far and lands a nice punch. He connects again. Costa perhaps breathing a little heavy.
Vettori unleashes a combo as Costa is backed up against the cage. A knee in there too. Good work from him.
Costa takes a deep breath. The action slows a little. Costa with a body punch. Now a punch upstairs. He goes back to the body. Jab from Vettori.
Two-piece combo for Vettori. Now a right hook. Jab and a solid left hand for Vettori. he lands again as Costa covers up momentarily.
Front kick to the body from Costa and then a punch to the midsection too. Jab for Vettori. Head kick attempt misses from Costa as the round ends.
Body kick for Vettori. Costa lands one too. Flurry of right hooks from Vettori. Now another right hook and a straight left down the pipe. Kick to the body from Costa. Now a right hand for him. Another right lands.
Jabs for Vettori and then one to the body. Head kick from Costa got through and Vettori backs up. Remarkable durability from Vettori to stay upright, but he’s still under fire here.
More punches from Costa, but Vettori still seems clear-eyed under the circumstances and is fighting back.
Hard inside leg kick from Costa and a body kick in return from Vettori. Body punch for Vettori.
Hooks from Costa. He steps into a right hand. Now a body punch as Vettori is backed up against the cage.
Costa with a hard body kick. He misses a spinning kick to the body. Straight left for Vettori behind a jab, but then Costa lands a harder straight of his own.
Costa punches and Vettori ducks around to his back and then lands a takedown. Costa moves over to the cage and is able to stand up though.
Body kick from Costa, but there was an eyepoke as he did so and that forces a timeout for Vettori to recover. He seems ok though, but is taking his time to catch a breather. The doc checks him over and he’s ok to continue.
The ref informs Costa that he’s deducting a point for the illegal eyepoke. Costa protests, but the decision is final.
The fight restarts with Vettori pumping out the jab. Grazing right hook from Vettori. He lands a body kick. Costa throws the head kick and it’s blocked. He goes for the head kick again. These are punishing kicks upstairs even if they are blocked.
Vettori with a short flurry of punches to back Costa to the cage. He tries to land elbows in there too.
Body punch for Costa. left hand from Vettori. Costa going to that big head kick again. Now a leg kick and body punch too at the end of the round. Costa looks a bit tired, but he’s still throwing heavy.
Double jab for Vetori. Now a harder jab. Leg kick for Costa. Head kick attempt again from Costa thrown with full power and just whistling past his opponent’s head.
Jab to the body from Vettori. Another punch from Costa just grazing the target. Vettori lands the jab again. Vettori always pressing forward despite the firepower coming back at him and he’s landing with more volume.
Wheel kick from Costa with remarkable speed that just misses. Solid jab from Vettori. Front kick to the body from the Brazilian.
Now a punch from Costa, but Vettori lands the jab and a knee to the body. leg kick from Costa. Overhand from Costa doesn’t pay off.
Vettori clinches Costa up to the cage, but only for a moment. Light jab to the body from Vettori. Hard body punch from Costa.
Double jab and a straight left behind it from Vettori. He lands a good left hand again and then the jab.
Inside leg kick for Vettori. In close Vettori works a punch and lands a big knee, but Costa is able to take him down off of it. Costa postures up over him and then drops down with a punch.
Nice scramble from Vettori to transition on top and now he’s working in Costa’s full guard in the center of the Octagon in the final minute of the round.
Vettori happy to get some control time on top here. he lands a right hook and a couple of hammerfists before the round ends.
Vettori works the jab to begin the fourth round. Power body kick from Costa. Vettori pumps out the jab. Vettori’s pressure backing Costa up to the cage again and then goes into the clinch. He breaks away landing a hook, but then Costa lands one too with power.
Solid one-two from Vettori and more punches afterwards. Costa taps at his chin though, claiming he’s not hurt.
Costa with a big head kick attempt that misses. left hand from Vettori comes up a little short as some blood trickles from his eye.
Vettori with room to land some blows as Costa covers up against the cage. Now Costa comes forward throwing power punches.
Short flurry from Vettori comes off the guard of Costa. Front kick to they body from Costa. Now a leg kick. Right hand, but Vettori scores with a jab in response.
Hard one-two for Vettori. Power left hand from Vettori. Costa points at the ceiling. Leg kick for Costa. Solid body kick from Costa. He tries to load up on more punches, but Vettori lands a left.
Vettori lands a knee to the body as he steps into the clinch, but they separate quickly.
Heavy left hand for Vettori backs up Costa for a moment. Jab for Vettori and a counter lands for Costa. Both men are a little bloodied around the eyes at this stage in the fight.
Vettori into the clinch against the cage, but not much happening from there and they go back to striking. Costa lands a body kick.
Vettori with the jab and Costa throws one too. Front kick to the body from Costa and a stepping body kick from Vettori before the round ends. Impressive cardio from both men as they are keeping a good pace and still putting plenty behind their blows. Vettori is the busier striker though and finding the target well.
Thumping straight right lands from Costa. Jab for Vettori. Solid jab for Vettori. Head kick from Costa seemed to partially get through, but Vettori is ok.
jabs from Vettori, but Costa threating with hook counters. Thudding body kick from Costa. Short flurry of punches upstairs from Vettori.
Costa stepping forward with heavy jabs. Now a power body kick from Costa. Vettori might have been hurt in amongst that, but it’s hard to tell because he’s so tough.
Costa with some momentum though and Vettori tries to change things up by pressing Costa into the cage and looking for a takedown. Nothing doing there for now though but he remains in the clinch.
Costa pushes him away. Jab for Costa and a right hand from Vettori. Solid punch lands for Costa. Heavy stepping knee for Costa.
Jabs land clean from Vettori. Vettori drives into a takedown and ends up on his knees as he tries to finish it unsuccessfully.
Vettori stands and then backs up. Crushing body kick from Costa. Now a solid jab from him. Body kick from Vettori looks more tired.
One-two for Costa. Another right hand from him. Grazing jab from Vettori. Costa with a head kick that’s blocked, but everything he is throwing hurts.
Leg kick for Costa. Missed punches from Vettori. jab for Vettori. Hard one-two for Costa and Vettori shakes it off.
Left hand from Vettori. Low kick for Costa. Vettori thinks about a single-leg, but then changes to a clinch up against the cage instead and opts to just run the clock down and take this one to the judges.
Action-packed fight then from start to finish. Costa’s power was fearsome, but Vettori showcased tremendous durability and was landing with more volume up until the final five minutes, when Costa turned up the heat and had his best round.
The verdict is in and it’s Marvin Vettori who emerges victorious by unanimous decision (48-46 x3). Well done to him, especially given that Costa’s pre-fight weight shenanigans had him at a distinct disadvantage from the start.