Marvin Vettori will not be broken. Even following a defeat in the main event at UFC on ESPN 46 to Jared Cannonier, the Italian fighter said in a statement released following the fight that he won’t be backing down any time soon.
Vettori posted rather succinctly: “A lion remains a lion. Spirit was never broken. I’ll be back stronger, I promise you that. #theitaliandream”
Vettori battled valiantly at the UFC Apex on Saturday night after entering the fight as a slight favorite. Yet, he was unable to take control of the veteran Cannonier – despite landing some early haymakers. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old warrior, the judges scored the fight, 49-45, 49-45, and 48-46, as Cannonier outstruck Vettori 257-154.
‘The Killa Gorilla’ would go on to a unanimous decision and now has a 23-17 career record in MMA. At 39, he has previously competed as both a heavyweight and light heavyweight but his power is perfectly suited for a lighter level. He was able to muscle his way out of trouble on multiple occasions against Vettori, landing a UFC middleweight record 241 significant strikes over five rounds. As of this week, he is ranked #3 in the division, he will be looking for bigger fights and bigger paydays to come.
Vettori was never dropped during the battle and earned a lot of respect from fans and onlookers for his gusty performance. In some instances, it looked as if he might not go the distance, but he showed the resilience to hang on for a decision loss. That effort helped make his showdown with Cannonier the Fight of the Night.
However, he was essentially leapfrogged by his victorious opponent this week, with the loss sending “The Italian Dream” down to No. 4 in the rankings. With the cream that’s currently sitting atop the middleweight division looking down, Vettori will have to bide his time and rebuild his resume in order to gain a championship bout.
That won’t happen in 2023. And with some big fights already taking shape, 2024 looks unlikely, as well.