MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN 19, a five-round middleweight bout between Marvin Vettori and Jack Hermansson. The event takes place on Saturday, December 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Marvin Vettori (-135)
Vettori (15-4-1) is the No. 13 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 27-year-old Italian has been in the UFC since 2016 and he’s gone 5-2-1 since then, with notable wins over Karl Roberson and Andrew Sanchez, plus a split decision loss to Israel Adesanya that’s worth pointing out. Vettori is a very talented, young, and improving mixed martial artist who looks to be Italy’s best chance to become a UFC champion. He’s well-rounded with solid grappling and striking skills and he’s able to mix it all together. Like Hermansson, Vettori does his best work on the ground as the majority of his career wins have come by submission. If this fight ends up hitting the mat, it should very intriguing.
Jack Hermansson (+105)
Hermansson (21-5) is the No. 4 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old Swede has been a member of the UFC roster since 2016 and he has gone 8-3 in the Octagon since then, with notable wins over Kelvin Gastelum Ronaldo Souza, David Branch, Gerald Meerschaert, and Thales Leites. He also has losses to Jared Cannonier, Thiago Santos, and Cezar Ferreira. Hermansson is a very well-rounded fighter who is dangerous everywhere. His best attribute is definitely his ground game as he can take his opponents down and either finish them with ground and pound or submissions on the floor. He also has a long reach and on the feet is able to hold his own there. Overall, Hermansson is one of the best middleweights in the sport as evidenced by his ranking.
Fight Breakdown: Although I was looking forward to the Darren Till and Kevin Holland fights, I still like this matchup between Hermansson and Vettori quite a bit. For Hermansson, this is a bit of a step down after fighting a number of top contenders in his last couple of fights, while for Vettori this is a huge step up from the guys he’s been fighting against recently. I like Vettori a lot and he does have some advantages in this matchup, but overall I feel like Hermansson is the more proven fighter and I believe he has more ways to win. Hermansson could win by TKO, submission, or decision, whereas I feel like Vettori’s lone chance to win is to score an early finish over Hermansson. If this was a three-round fight I might have sided with Vettori, but it’s a five-round fight, and I believe that should give Hermansson a big advantage if it goes late. Hermansson showed against Souza that he has a great gas tank, whereas we haven’t seen Vettori prove he can go five rounds yet. I’m not sure if Hermansson finishes this fight, but at the very least I believe he wins a decision. I also should mention that I was surprised with Vettori opened as the favorite here. He obviously has a decent chance to win, but I thought Hermansson should have opened as a 2-to-1 favorite to win the fight. On pure line value alone, I think you have to pull the trigger since you can get him at plus money.
Prediction: Jack Hermansson (via decision)