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Vettori wears on Hermansson, wins unanimous decision

Known as “The Italian Dream,” Marvin Vettori may have jumped from shiny UFC prospect to legit middleweight title contender in one UFC Fight Night performance.


Vettori defeated Jack “The Joker” Hermansson by unanimous decision in their middleweight main event Saturday, Dec. 5 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.


Two of the three judges scored the fight 49-46 with the last judge giving it to Vettori 49-45.


After the decision was made official, Vettori was visibly emotional following his victory.


Both fighters were awarded Fight of the Night after posting the most significant strikes in a middleweight fight in UFC history.


Three fights on the card were cancelled due to COVID-19 making it the sixth straight card to experience changes due to the virus.


In the words of UFC President Dana White, the company is just looking to “get through 2020.”


Vettori was originally preparing to take on middleweight contender Jacare Souza next weekend.


However, an opportunity presented itself when middleweight Darren Till and Kevin Holland were forced out of the main event against Hermansson due to injury and testing positive for the virus.


The replacement fighter, Vettori, opened as the betting favorite amongst Las Vegas oddsmakers and closed as a -135 favorite over the top-five challenger, Hermansson.


There was an insane pace in the first round of this fight with Vettori looking to close the distance, landing shots through Hermansson’s guard.


At one point, he dropped Hermansson during an exchange and went for a guillotine attempt.


After the guillotine attempt did not result in the finish, Vettori remained in the top position looking to land strikes.


Hermansson came out on the attack in the second round and even landed a single leg takedown early in the round.


It was just the second time since 2016, that an opponent had taken Vettori to the ground.


However, Vettori reversed the position and would wind up on top of Hermansson.


In the third round, Hermansson would attempt another takedown but would not complete it yet he was still efficient on the feet.


There was little to no grappling at all in the fourth round as both combatants chose to go toe-to-toe and exchange blows for the full five minutes.


Vettori turned up the pace in the fifth round, looking for a last-minute push to get the finish of Hermansson.


There were a combined 286 significant strikes landed during the five-round main event, nine more than the previous record-holding fight.


Vettori landed 202 of his 376 total strikes, good for 54 percent while Hermansson was able to land 38 percent of his 365 strikes thrown.


The win makes it four straight for Vettori (16-4-1) who last lost to Israel Adesanya by split decision in April of 2018.


In his post fight interview, he took the time to challenge former title challenger Paulo Costa.


Hermansson (21-6) is 1-2 in his last three fights.


Hill shines in co-main event spotlight


Jamahal Hill stayed undefeated in the co-main event after scoring a second round technical knockout win over No. 15-ranked Ovince Saint Preux.


Hill stalked OSP from the start of the fight, going to the body when he saw the chance to.


Saint Preux was looking to catch the young Hill coming inside as he loaded up for shots that could finish the fight.


In the second round, Hill found success with a right overhand hook then added some knees in the clinch that stumbled and rocked Saint Preux, before overwhelming him for the finish.


Hill is now one of four undefeated fighters from Dana White’s Contender Series at 8-0, 1 no-contest.


Saint Preux (25-15) is 3-5 in his last eight fights but was knocked out for the first time since 2016.


However, he did miss weight for the first time in his 40-fight professional career.


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