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Israel Adesanya explains why he’s fighting Vettori over Whittaker: ‘The Italian stepped up’

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Israel Adesanya explains why he decided to fight Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.

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Why is Israel Adesanya fighting Marvin Vettori over Robert Whittaker?

Because ‘The Italian Dream’ stepped up for June 10 while ‘The Reaper’ wanted the fight pushed back till September.

Adesanya admits Whittaker was his first pick after the Gastelum victory but credits Vettori for accepting the fight and rising to the occasion.

“Well, I wanted to fight Rob after I saw him with Kelvin,” Adesanya revealed on his YouTube channel (h/t BJPenn.com). “Marvin’s like, ‘I want to go in October.’ Rob’s like, ‘I want to go in September.’ I’m like, ‘Look, I’m going in June. Whoever wants it, step up.’ The Italian stepped up, so kudos to him. But yeah, we already know”.

Adesanya holds a split decision victory over Vettori from 2018 which the latter can’t seem to let go of. This, Adesanya says, gives him the mental advantage heading into the rematch.

“He’s holding onto that loss better than his best wins. So yeah, I’m in his head rent-free,” Adesanya said.

Vettori has rebounded from that loss with five straight victories, while ‘The Last Stylebender’ remains undefeated at middleweight. Adesanya, however, recently dropped a decision to Jan Blachowicz in a failed bid to capture the light heavyweight title at UFC 259.

UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 will take place on June 12 at a TBA location.