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Marvin Vettori branded Israel Adesanya 'useless on the floor' ahead of their UFC 263 headliner... the Italian will try to mirror Jan Blachowicz's blueprint to beat the striking sensation

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Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 7 days ago

It seems foolish to doubt Israel Adesanya. His ascent to the middleweight throne and then ability to steam through all comers has been immense.

But in a title fight, the case must be made for the hungry challenger who is desperate to seize what might be his only opportunity to become UFC champion.

Despite the prevailing opinion that Adesanya will reign supreme, Vettori will have every confidence that he can prove the bookies wrong on Saturday night at UFC 263.

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Israel Adesanya tasted defeat for the first time in his loss to Jan Blachowicz (right) in March
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Marvin Vettori will believe he can copy the wrestling blueprint shown by Blachowicz late on

Perhaps 10 months ago, the task ahead of the Italian would have seemed insurmountable.

Adesanya had just wiped the floor with Paulo Costa. He made the powerful Brazilian look amateurish and it seemed as though the Nigerian-born Kiwi was untouchable.

His stand-up ability is among the very best MMA has ever seen. Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero all stood across from Adesanya while his hand was raised.

But in March this year, the air of invincibility around the middleweight champion faded when he bit off more than he could chew.

He saw an opportunity for 'champ champ' status in moving up to light-heavyweight for a shot at Jan Blachowicz.

There was still a perception that the Polish powerhouse was a paper champion, given that Jon Jones vacated the belt, but he has gone on to disprove that.