This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 41, we saw a pivotal matchup in the middleweight division. Granted, the fight took place at light heavyweight and the matchup paired former title challengers Marvin Vettori (18-5-1) and Paulo Costa (13-2).
Both men were coming into this fight off losses in UFC title shots and both needed to show that they could get back on track. Entering fight week, this fight was supposed to take place at middleweight. Then, Paulo Costa announced to the world that he wasn’t going to make weight.
From there, the UFC tried to make the fight at a catchweight of 195 pounds. Costa agreed, but then came back and said he couldn’t make that work. The UFC then scrapped that idea and proposed the fight at 205 which Costa agreed to.
Throughout all of this, Marvin Vettori said he would fight Costa at any weight. He gained a ton of respect from the UFC all week with his attitude and desire to keep the fight together regardless of Costa’s weight issues.
He fought Costa at a higher weight class and still performed incredibly well. Vettori ate Costa’s best shots and kept coming forward. His pressure, volume, and chin paid off as he ultimately walked away with a decision win at UFC Vegas 41.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 41?
Marvin Vettori is in a very interesting spot right now after his win at UFC Vegas 41. On one hand, he’s clearly one of the best middleweights in the world. Currently, The Italian Dream is ranked second according to the updated rankings.
However, with two losses to Israel Adesanya (21-1), it’s going to take a few wins to warrant another title shot. So with that, who should the UFC pair him up with? Well, it’s tricky due to the fact that most of the top contenders are booked.
Adesanya is scheduled to rematch with Robert Whittaker (23-5) early next year. Derek Brunson (23-7) and Jared Cannonier (14-5) are fighting at UFC 270 in what Dana White has called a title eliminator so whoever wins that will get the next shot.
In my eyes, there’s a couple of options. One option would be the loser of the title fight especially if the loser is Robert Whittaker. Whittaker and Vettori would be the top two contenders and both would have lost to Adesanya twice.
Another option could be the loser of the title eliminator bout. Vettori hasn’t fought either man so both would make for a compelling matchup. If he’s wanting to stay active, there’s a couple of wild card options and that’s either Sean Strickland (24-3) or Luke Rockhold (16-5).
These two were supposed to fight at UFC 268 and the winner would’ve been perfect for Vettori. However, Rockhold pulled out due to a back injury. If Vettori wants to stay active, these two wouldn’t be a bad option for The Italian Dream. Definitely something to watch for.