UFC president Dana White says Italy’s Marvin Vettori has earned the right to serve as backup for the upcoming middleweight title rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker following his impressive unanimous decision victory over Paulo Costa at UFC Vegas 41 over the weekend.
“It absolutely makes sense for him to be the backup,” White said of Vettori in a recent interview with TMZ Sports (h/t BJPenn.com).
White is obviously impressed with the fact that Vettori not only beat Costa, but did so at 205-pounds. ‘The Italian Dream’ had no problem fighting ‘Borrachinha’ at light heavyweight at the last minute despite both men originally agreeing to fight at 185-pounds.
Vettori’s victory over Costa saw him surge into the top-three at middleweight and re-cement his status as one of the top contenders in that weight class. Prior to UFC Fight Night 196, he dropped a unanimous decision loss to ‘The Last Stylebender’ in their middleweight title bout at UFC 263.
UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 will take place at a TBA location on Feb. 12, 2022.