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Four Lessons We Learned from UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Vettori
There was no chance of any card headlined by Jack Hermansson and Marvin Vettori being a dud.
Despite a string of late fight cancellations, the UFC show hit the stage in Vegas with a point to prove. Well, at least the fighters on the card were hoping to leave the cage better off than they had entered it.
Here’s more on that fight and the other things we learned from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Vettori.
Vettori Makes a Statement
Vettori came into this fight, having suffered a pretty crappy year.
Not only did he see multiple fights fall apart, but he also lost his grandfather. There was a very obvious sense of desperation to the Italian heading into this fight, and it was interesting to see just how he would manifest all of his frustration on the night.
The 27-year-old battled as though this was the biggest fight of his night and came through with a win that could be the catalyst for something truly special.
After all, Hermansson was ranked as the #4 middleweight on the UFC’s official rankings before Saturday’s fight. Vettori was in 13th place. So to take to the cage with the confidence and fortitude of a champion against a guy that could have bagged a shot at the title with a win was… remarkable.
Fans know more about “The Italian Dream” than they ever have. And although he has more work to do before he works himself into the position to start demanding a shot at Israel Adesanya’s belt, he is not too far away from his dream becoming a reality.
Make no mistake, Vettori is for real. He will give anyone in this division a tough fight. Whether that’s Paulo Costa or Robert Whittaker next remains to be seen.
Hemansson’s Heart is Incredible
Hermansson and Vettori registered a combined 286 significant strikes on Saturday night.
Those numbers mean that the headline bout had more significant strikes in any middleweight fight, ever. More than this, it came just behind Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic’s 304 significant strikes registered at UFC 241 for any fight at middleweight and above.
For Jack Hermansson, the result was a hard one to take. But he hung in there for five rounds with his opponent, exhibiting the heart of a lion. He was a shining example to any young fighter who will find themselves in a similar position one day.
No relenting. No quit. No backing down. However you want to package his performance, you cannot deny that the Swede put it all on the line. Especially when he had prepared to fight two other guys before the Italian stepped in, who he saw as a means to an end.
In some ways, you can’t help but feel sorry for the 32-year-old. By all means, he could have avoided this scenario by flat out refusing to fight yet another late stand-in. But fighting is what he does, and that is perhaps responsible for his ability to dig into himself and find levels of resolve many of us will just never be capable of.
He’ll be back, surely. But the distance between himself and Israel Adesanya has grown much wider.
Jamahal Hill is Legit
UFC fans know the type of fighter that Ovince Saint Preux is.
Yes, he’s approaching the end of his career. But he still has something left to give. This was a very big test for Hill, especially as OSP is the type of tricky, veteran fighter capable of setting traps to trip young prospects up.
On Saturday night, it appeared that Jamahal Hill was fired up for the biggest win of his career. He exuded the confidence of a fighter that was entering the cage unbeaten and would leave in the same fashion. And that’s exactly what he did.
Hill blasted the 40-fight veteran with strikes in the latter stages of the 2nd round to take his record to an impressive 8-0-1. You can say what you want about beating Saint Preux, but Hill has every right to feel as though 2020 was a great year for this win alone.
I’m not comfortable making predictions about how far Hill can go, mostly because I think he is still quite raw. But if he can keep pushing forward while making the right adjustments, he could cause problems for fighters in the light heavyweight division.
MMA is in Danger of Losing its Bite
Jordan Leavitt’s vicious KO slam of Matt Wiman was one of the main talking points following UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Vettori.
It took just 22 seconds for Leavitt to plant Wiman on the canvas and earn himself a spectacular win. But not everyone was happy with it.
I get that the sight of a twitching Matt Wiman is enough to put some fans off their profiteroles. No one likes to see a fighter being driven into the canvas and obliterated in such a fashion. But we also have to remind ourselves that this is the fight business, where people get hurt in almost every single contest.
Those calling for these slams to be banned are acting as though they happen all the time. Well, they are actually super rare. If they were an easy yet somehow dirty (kind of bordering on the illegal) way of winning a fight, then everyone would be trying them. But they don’t.
The slam had as much to do with Wiman’s god awful decision to jump up and wrap his legs around his opponent. Had he not chosen to do that, he wouldn’t have been slammed.
If this type of slam is banned, it will only lead to MMA losing its bite, tooth by tooth.
The Fights Left in December
There are just weeks left in the year 2020, which is music to the ears of many of my fellow humans.
But fight fans should not be wishing the rest of the year away with as much enthusiasm. There are still plenty of bouts, which means plenty of betting opportunities, awaiting us in December.
I’ve left you with a little reading material for the fights coming up over the next few weeks. And just in case you forgot, we have a pretty big card coming up on December 12.
As always, you can find the latest odds, bets, and predictions for the fights in our UFC picks section. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to bookmark that page.
That’s all for now!