We have quite an exciting main event to look forward to this weekend at UFC Vegas 16, or UFC on ESPN 19, as the No. 4 ranked UFC middleweight contender Jack Hermansson faces the No. 13 ranked UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori.
The main event to this card has been switched up a couple times. First, Hermansson was slated against Darren Till, but Till reinjured his knee, probably from coming back too soon after injuring it in his fight with Robert Whittaker, and was replaced by Kevin Holland.
Holland however tested positive for Covid-19, and was replaced by Marvin Vettori. Holland now faces Jacare Souza one week later at UFC 256, and we still have a pretty epic five-rounder to watch this weekend.
Though one is ranked in the top five, and one’s barely in the top 15, don’t let that fool you, this is a great match up. We honestly could’ve seen this fight on Hermansson’s way to the top, but instead, we get to see it when they’re both better than they’ve ever been.
Hermansson is right in the middle of his athletic peak at 32-years-old, and Vettori still has another five years or so until he’ll be in his, at just 27-years-old. Vettori’s a young 27 too, he won’t be turning 28 until September 2021, and Hermansson won’t be turning 33 until June 2021.
Both of these talents have been in the UFC around the same amount of time as one another, with Vettori debuting in August of 2016, and Hermansson debuting in September of 2016.
Hermansson has gone 8-3 thus far in the UFC, defeating the likes of Thales Leites (TKO), Gerald Meerschaert (guillotine choke), David Branch (guillotine choke), Jacare Souza (unanimous decision), and now Kelvin Gastelum (heel hook).
Vettori has gone 5-2-1 thus far into his UFC career, defeating the likes of Cezar Ferreira (unanimous decision), Andrew Sanchez (unanimous decision), and Karl Roberson (rear naked choke) in his last three bouts.
He also came the closest of anyone to taking UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya’s undefeated record, until Adesanya fought Gastelum of course.
Both of these men are very skilled grapplers. Hermansson may be a white belt, but he submitted two black belts in a row in Meerschaert and Branch, he almost submitted Souza, which really would have been crazy, and he submitted another black belt in Gastelum.
Vettori has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing it a couple times, such as his last fight with Roberson, and his UFC debut against Alberto Uda, who he also submitted with a guillotine choke. He also submitted Igor Araujo with a guillotine choke just prior to joining the UFC, a longtime BJJ black belt.
Both of these men can wrestle at a pretty high level as well, though it may be safe to say Hermansson has the edge there. Where Hermansson presumably has the edge on the mat, Vettori presumably has the edge on the feet.
Vettori’s striking is much more sound and fluent than Hermansson’s. That’s not to say Hermansson doesn’t have good striking, because he does, he’s just one of the more herky-jerky type of strikers, like Keith Jardine or Darren Elkins.
It’s unfortunate we’ve had all these cancelled match ups this year, but the UFC has continued giving us good replacement fights. Hopefully UFC 256 of all cards stays together, fingers crossed.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!