In this breakdown I will be going over this weekend's headline fight - Marvin Vettori vs. Jack Hermansson.
This wasn't a fight that I was originally planning to be studying as these two fighters were not originally slated to fight each other. Because of the current climate we are living in though, I am not very surprised about how this whole situation has unfolded.
Hermansson was scheduled to face Darren Till this weekend, who unfortunately had to pull out of the fight. He was then replaced with Kevin Holland, who also had to pull out of the fight after contracting Covid-19. So now Marvin Vettori has been withdrawn from his scheduled bout against Jacare Souza (which was supposed to take place next week) and he replaces Holland, to take on Jack Hermansson. Ironically, Holland now takes Vettori's place and slots into next week's card to face Jacare Souza, so essentially the four have swapped opponents.
I am pretty excited for this match-up and I am not "unhappy" about the re-arranging of bouts, I have wanted to see Vettori against a top guy for a while and that's what we are getting here.
Marvin Vettori has been on a hot streak recently, winning his last 3 fights. The last fight he lost was to the current Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, he lost that fight via split decision so there is no shame in that. In fact, Vettori was coming on strong in that final round against Adesanya which bodes well for a potential 5-round match up here.
Vettori is going to be very confident coming into this matchup and I believe at 27 years of age he is coming into his own. Vettori uses predominately a pressure boxing style but he can do it all, he has more submissions on his record than TKO's and he is a very strong wrestler. He really is an all-round Mixed Martial Artist, I wouldn't say he does anything at a super high level but I would also say that he has no glaring weakness. Don't get time confused though, all aspects of his game are high-level, there is just nothing super-elite in my opinion, apart from maybe his take down defense.
Vettori's only other loss in the UFC came against Antonio Carlos Junior, but just as the Adesanay fight, I can not fault him for that loss much either. He clearly lost the ACJ fight two rounds to one but he did have a huge second round where he largely dominated the BJJ ace from top position. The type of style that ACJ brings taught me a lot about Marvin Vettori, who was making only his second appearance in the octagon at that time at the age of 23. In fact, it's the fight that taught me the most about him as it relates to his upcoming fight with Jack Hermansson.
Vettori likes to pressure and break his opponents, when watching tape on him he looks pretty basic enough and I guess you could even say "meat and potatoes", but I believe that his style is deceiving to the naked eye because Vettori is actually a lot more advanced than that. One thing that isn't easy to pick up on via tape of Marvin Vettori is his quickness to land combinations and his control of distance when attacking, and I believe that to be because he is a constant forward motion pressure fighter. He doesn't fight off the back foot, jump in and out of range, and counterstrike, so it's not as easy to pick up on his speed and distance control in as it is to fighters who do this, Sean O'Malley and Wonderboy come immediately to mind. But I believe these to be two aspects of his game that people extremely underate and an integral reason why he has been on the run that he has.
I mentioned above that the fight which taught me the most as it relates to this match-up was the Antonio Carlos Junior fight, and the reason for that was because we got to see Marvin Vettori's elite takedown defense and ground defense game against an elite Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Someone who was also balls-to-the-wall attempting takedowns on him. We must remember that this was only Vettori's second fight in the UFC and coming up to 4 years ago now, I can only expect his TDD and grappling to have improved since then, in-fact that is a guarantee.
As you can tell, I am pretty high on Marvin Vettori. With all that being said, this is not an easy match-up for him by any means. He is taking on the number 4 rated Jack Hermansson who still has hopes of getting that Middleweight title, so I have no doubt he is going to be in supreme shape and very confident in this matchup.
Jack Hermansson is a very different fighter than Marvin Vettori, he is a lot more unorthodox in his approach to fighting and he uses a lot of herky-jerky body movements as opposed to Vettori's constant straight-forward volume and pressure. Because of this unorthodox style, Jack Hermansson often confuses his opponents, especially in that first round and he actually has quite a number of first-round finishes on his record.
Hermansson is known as a grappler, and thus his striking is often overlooked by his opponents, just as it was in his fight with Jacare Souza. Jacare did not respect Hermansson on the feet and he paid the price by getting wobbled on a few separate occasions in that fight. Although Hermansson is pretty wild by trade, if his opponents begin to disrespect his power and rush in on him wildly, he can tighten up his strikes to land with more pinpoint accuracy, so Vettori has to be careful here. I, unlike many others, do not think this is just a complete wash-out on the feet here. With that being said I do favor Vettori quite a bit on the feet.
Much like Hermansson's striking style, his grappling style is unorthodox also. He usually doesn't attempt the traditional double/single leg takedown attempts you would see from most martial artists, instead, he likes to cause chaos before attempting takedowns. He can be known to jump on the back, create scrambles from clinch positions, and other strange attempts to get his opponents to the ground. One constant with Jack though is that he always tries to take his opponents down. He is not under any illusion as to where his true skills lie, and that is of course in the grappling department.
The way these two fighters match-up is interesting to me. Ultimately I have to lean on the side of a Marvin Vettori win here. I will say though that where the line is currently sitting, I don't feel there is huge standout value.
When I look at this match-up, I just don't see many other paths to victory for Jack other than a submission win. This fight is going to be 5 rounds which means that Marvin Vettori is going to have 25 minutes to break Jack down with his come forward pressure style. I think Jack will have a pretty solid first round, or at least a solid first half of that round, but ultimately I just see Marvin Vettori's pressure style, distance control, and volume being the deciding factor in this fight.
Hermansson is always live for the submission at any moment but I can't see Jack consistently getting takedowns on Vettori because I believe his takedown defense to be very elite, and maybe the only part of his game that I would actually class as elite. His takedown defense/grappling defense/get-up ability, that whole aspect of his game, is extremely high level.
I see Vettori wearing Jack down over the course of five rounds, especially when Hermansson feels the amount of effort he has to put in to get Vettori to the ground, and secure him there. Vettori should get to and break Hermansson in the second half of this fight.
I'm sure most of you are here for MMA betting tips, but to give you that I must first go over the value of the current betting lines:
I capped Vettori at about a 60-63% chance of winning this fight. This means I would line him at around that -150 -160 range. The current line is sitting at -140, so there is marginal value on him in my opinion, and although I wouldn't necessarily fault a bet on him, for me personally, I would want to look at other spots on this card before I make a play on Vettori. I would be interested to see the odds for a late Vettori stoppage though, possibly in rounds 3, 4, and 5.
So that concludes my breakdown for this weekend's headliner, as always I will be back in a couple of days with my free bet for this card, so stay tuned for that.
I'll also be back next week with another fight breakdown.
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I'll see you in the next one.