Kicking off the main card at UFC 286 was a middleweight battle between top ten contenders. Roman Dolidze (12-2) was looking to pick up the biggest win of his career inside the octagon against former title challenger Marvin Vettori (19-5-1).
Entering this bout, I figured Dolidze would have the power advantage and his wild striking could play a factor. That said, I picked Vettori by decision because I figured he would have the advantage in terms of volume and would ultimately score more points.
In the first round, Dolidze definitely got the better of things. Vettori did land, but the more impactful shots came from Dolidze so I gave him that round. The second round was much better for Vettori. He upped the volume and never let Dolidze get comfortable which earned him the second.
The fight came down to the third round and I think this is where the championship experience of Vettori played out. Dolidze was able to land big shots, but the volume was there for Vettori. It was a razor close round, but I ultimately felt the round went to The Italian Dream. In the end, all three judges agreed giving Vettori the unanimous decision.
What’s next after UFC 286?
With this win, Vettori finds himself in an interesting spot in the middleweight division. The two guys directly in front of him are Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. Adesanya has defeated him twice and he just lost a lopsided decision to Whittaker last year.
He has never fought the champion Alex Pereira so you can imagine that he’s rooting hard for Pereira to win his rematch against Adesanya here in a few weeks. Khamzat Chimaev is moving to middleweight and is expected to jump right to the top of the division.
I think the UFC likes the potential matchup between him and Whittaker, but if not, Vettori could be a fun first matchup for Chimaev against top middleweight competition. If not that, the logical next fight for Vettori would be against Dricus Du Plessis. Du Plessis has never lost inside the octagon and this would be a tremendous matchup between the two top contenders.