Marvin Vettori's body language speaking volumes to dog-training enthusiast Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya is about to test a theory. The UFC middleweight champion, a guy with more interests than Ben & Jerry's flavors, is trying to figure out if understanding the nonverbal cues that are essential to successfully training a dog can help in a fighting game.
Adesanya will defend his title in Saturday's main event of a loaded UFC 263 card at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., When he takes on third-placed Marvin Vettori.
Adesanya closely followed Vettori's interviews and posted a clip on his Twitter page of a spot that Yahoo Sports made with the Italian challenger.
"I'm interested in dog psychology and all," Adesanya said. “I've been working with this guy for about four weeks now and have reinvigorated my love for this stuff. This made me more aware of the non-verbal cues. I have more clips from your and his interview that reveal a lot. "
One of the parts of the Vettori interview that Adesanya recorded was when Vettori was asked if he should take Adesanya down and not take advantage of it.
When Vettori replied, he was distracted by someone outside of the camera. He turned and spoke Italian to the person.
"I know exactly what that was," said Adesanya. "They asked a fundamental question that he was not doing any harm when he was on top [in their first fight in 2018], what to do. He had a - duh duh duh duh duh - he just had to disconnect and speak Italian because he had nothing to say.
“Then he came back to the question. You tried to give him a way out, but he came back to it and screwed himself up. But there is more."
Dog training for combat could be a whole new business opportunity for the champion if he is able to translate the non-verbal cues he receives from his opponent into a victory.
Israel Adesanya takes up what Marvin Vettori puts down. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images)
Her first fight was a split decision for Adesanya in his second fight in the UFC. Vettori defeated Adesanya in battle and was unable to defeat him.
But Adesanya's MMA winning streak ended at 20 in February when he lost a decision to Jan Blachowicz in the battle for the light heavyweight title. Blachowicz defeated Adesanya in the last two rounds to undo Adesanya's blow and claim victory.
This created the narrative that the way to defeat Adesanya is to wrestle him. Vettori comes after a shutout win over Kevin Holland in which he scored 11 takedowns in 17 attempts.
Adesanya scoffed at the notion that he would be vulnerable to anyone with a wrestle-heavy approach.
"People after that last fight are like, 'Oh, just turn it off and you will win the fight,'" Adesanya said. "I'm like, 'Really? Nobody has ever tried that. And it's not that I didn't put Brad Tavares in a guillotine or a homeboy's teammate, Kelvin Gastelum, in a triangle. I have him one legged and I swept him in our last fight. It's a novelty bias. People forget. I'll just do what I do and they'll say, 'Oh, that's right. He's the shit. That's why he's the [expletive] world middleweight champion. ‘"
Adesanya is expecting a very different bout than their 2018 bout, which happened to take place in the same arena where they will fight on Saturday.
Since defeating Vettori, Adesanya has won 7-1, won the middleweight belt and defended three times. Vettori bounced back from the loss to Adesanya he believed he deserved, recovering five straight wins and climbing to # 2 on the rankings.
However, nothing is similar about these strands, Adesanya said.
"This time it will be very different," said Adesanya confidently. “I can tell since we last fought, look at the run he was on and look at the run I was on. I can name two guys he fought that are kind of remarkable names. You can name every single person I fought against. We are not the same. We were on different trains.
“He's not fast enough. He hasn't caught up yet. He's lagging behind. He's way back. "
If it turns out as he predicted, something unique can happen: some MMA fighters may take up dog training to better understand their opponents.
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