Marvin Vettori believes that Israel Adesanya hasn’t improved his game much ahead of their much-awaited rematch.
Vettori, 27, will be on Sunday morning at the main event of UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona in a bid to end the Nigeria-born Kiwi’s dominant reign as middleweight king.
The Italian Dream suffered a split-decision loss to Adesanya three years ago, but hasn’t seen much in the way of progress since their first clash with the City kickboxing standout.
Vettori told SunSport: “He’s been quick at some things. But he didn’t add new equipment or anything.
“He just got faster, yes. He’s training, but that’s about it.”
King’s MMA’s Vettori believes he has come on leaps and bounds since his fight, adding: “I’m a completely different animal.
“I really believe I’ve improved way more than I ever did.”
A victory over Adesanya – who is returning to middleweight after a failed bid to claim the light-heavyweight strap – will see Vettori become the first Italian to win UFC gold.
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Mezzacorona Mauler is aware of all the potential accolades and is enjoying the opportunity to further develop the game of MMA in his homeland.
He said: “It’s awesome because it’s not just another sport. I’m able to represent an Italian and the fighting spirit of Italy.
“So I just want to show these people and I want to show every Italian and I want to show Italy that we are absolutely warriors and we are going to do this against all odds.
“So it’s an honor and I can’t wait.”
Vettori has gained recognition from many celebs for being on the verge of becoming Italy’s first UFC titleholder.
He added: “Italy really came together.
“Actually a lot of famous celebrities from Italy, more than the mainstream media.
“They have come together to wish me good luck and strength and are showing me their support. They are making sure I feel their support.”
Vettori is overwhelmed with the support he has received so far, but believes it will be in vain if he doesn’t oust The Last Stylebender.
The former Venator star said: “It’s awesome, but I have to get the job done.
“If I don’t get work, it doesn’t make sense.
“I’m really focused — focused on what’s next. And after losing the weight, I’m going to focus on getting that belt on at any cost.”
BT Sport 1 will show UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 exclusively Saturday 12th With coverage of the main card featuring Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz starting June 3rd. For more information go here bt.com/sport/ufc