UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori has revealed that he asked for his upcoming fight with Robert Whittaker to be contested over five rounds.
The MMA leader is set to arrive on French soil for the first time in September, and it’s bringing with it some blockbuster names and matchups. While hometown heavyweight Ciryl Gane will be attracting much of the shine from his fellow Parisians come fight night as he takes on the always-entertaining Tai Tuivasa, the co-main event is set to be just as, if not more, exciting.
Following the postponement of their originally-scheduled fight at UFC 275 in Singapore, top-five middleweights Vettori and Whittaker have had their boarding passes adjusted to a different continent, with the pair set to collide in Paris on September 3.
The co-main event slot will be a rare occasion for both men. While the Italian has featured in main events across his last four appearances, all of which went the five-round distance, the Australian has fought 25 minutes three times in his last four bouts, the outlier being a three-round victory over Jared Cannonier.
And although the pair are set to go for three rounds at UFC Paris, Vettori seemingly attempted to change that.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, “The Italian Dream” revealed his preference for five-round contests and noted that he’d asked to have his crucial clash with Whittaker extended.
“I was asking for five rounds. I was asking for five rounds even though it’s a co-main event,” Vettori said. “I didn’t hear anything back, but I wanted a five-rounder, just because I feel like in five-round (fights), the skill comes out more. There’s more time to study, there’s more time to get a feel of your opponent.
“With three rounds, it’s more like — in three rounds, you can get away with way more mistakes, and maybe like, still make it to the end. So, it is what it is. (I’m a) great fighter no matter the circumstances, no matter the ruleset,” Vettori added. “You need to be able to adjust. So, I’ll be adjusting and coming out victorious.”
Vettori Sees Himself As The UFC Paris Main Event
Vettori’s attempts to secure another 25-minute showcase is perhaps unsurprising given how he’s viewing his matchup with former champ Whittaker, who is widely regarded as the clear second-best in the division.
Given Italy’s close proximity to France, as well as the fact that Vettori will be making his first appearance in Europe under the UFC banner, it’s understandable that the #3-ranked contender will enjoy sizable support come September 3.
With that in mind, the 28-year-old admitted that he’s entering the contest with a main-event mindset.
“It’s my first time (fighting on a European UFC card),” Vettori said. “Just myself, people almost bought a thousand tickets, people that I know that bought tickets, so just my people, people that I’m bringing, is probably about a thousand people. And then all the other supporters from all over the world, they text me every day.
“I really feel like I am the main event. I wanted to be the main event,” Vettori continued. “I think I am the main event. But, you know, Tuivasa and Ciryl Gane is a great fight, too.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC Paris, Marvin Vettori or Robert Whittaker?