Israel Adesanya breaks down UFC Vegas 41 headliner: Cites Vettori’s ‘lego blockhead’ and Costa’s ‘T-Rex arms’ jab as keys to victory

ufc vegas 41
Jun 12, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Marvin Vettori reacts following his loss against Israel Adesanya during UFC 263 at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday afternoon’s UFC Vegas 41 main event features two elite UFC middleweights — fighting at a catchweight — and looking to bounce back from title fight losses to division king Israel Adesanya. And the 185-pound champion actually has quite a few colorful thoughts on the keys to victory for his most recent title defense victims.

In a new post to his FreeStylebender YouTube channel, Adesanya (21-1) decided to breakdown down the Oct. 23 headliner inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nev. The bout features the second and fifth-ranked fighters at 185-pounds, as well as two individuals the Nigerian has an in-depth knowledge of. After he beat Costa (13-1) by technical knockout at UFC 253 in Sept. of 2020, and Vettori (17-4-1) by unanimous decision this past June at UFC 263.

Of course, the admitted drinker of his own kool-aid slammed both men’s skills several times during the video. However, he did offer some solid input on their skills and certain elements of their fight makeup that could play pivotal roles in getting the Italian and Brazilian, respectively, a victory this weekend.

Israel Adesanya gives Marvin Vettori’s keys to victory at UFC Vegas 41

First, he spoke about Vettori. Although he praised “The Italian Dream’s” improved boxing and suggested a long drawn out grappling battle is his best route to victory, he cites Vettori’s durability, and specifically his “blockhead,” as an important factor for him in a fight with a serious power-puncher.

“When he fought me the last time he didn’t want to fight, he wanted to survive. He wasn’t trying to win if you know what I mean. His boxing defense was improved [and] he had better head movement. His attacks were basic. Nothing’s wrong with basics [but] his attacks were repetitive [and] very predictable. He was able to get to my hips but he wasn’t able to do sh*t with the takedown. And his grappling was nothing to write home about,” Adesanya said.

“I felt way stronger than him. I never felt in danger in that fight. Even when he had my back. I think Vettori’s biggest weapon in this fight is his chin. That lego blockhead. … His method to victory is taking Costa to deep water and grappling him. Stalling, making him work.”

Adesanya talks Paulo Costa’s road to victory and his ‘T-Rex arms’

ufc vegas 41
Mar 14, 2020; Brasilia, DF, Brazil; Paulo Borrachinha Costa during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio Nilson Nelson. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to “Borrachinha,” Adesanya showed respect for his striking skills and jab, despite having what he referred to as “T-Rex arms.” However, he also explained Costa’s cardio was a major flaw, and that he actually DM’d him after their fight to suggest he make some major changes in his next fight camp.

“Costa I feel has got better, educated striking than Vettori. … Even with his f*cking T-Rex arms, he still knows how to throw a jab. H doesn’t have to hit all the time, but he uses it to get closer. He knows how to use his jab very well. …[His] wrestling defense is on point. So Vettori’s going to have to worry about that if he applies the game plan I think he should. But just know, his gas tank is gonna diminish. I know that for a fact,” Adesanya said with a smile.

“Also, you can take his confidence away by making him doubt himself. I don’t know what kind of improvements he’s had, but I even said I DM’d him after the last fight. I said he should just switch up his team because he had too many people blowing smoke up his a**. Either that, or take control of his team and realize, ‘I need to be amongst people who are better than me.’

Costa’s path to victory in this fight? Get him out early,” he continued. “Do what you did that got you to the dance. You’re not fighting me, you’re fighting Vettori and he’s got sh*t footwork. Even worse than you, so I feel like Costa can just do what he does, but be careful of the takedown.”

Despite the in-depth breakdown and recalling his previous experiences with the two UFC Vegas 41 headliners, “The Last Stylebender” did not make a pick for the fight. Simply, because he doesn’t care. All he hopes is that the pair put on a good fight because he wishes nothing but the best for his “children.”

“It would be hard to bet because they both suck. … How do I see this fight going? I’m not too sure. I don’t really care who wins to be honest. I just want to see a good fight. I want to see my children do well. I really wish the best for my kids,” said Adesanya.

UFC Vegas 41 takes place on Saturday afternoon with preliminary action at 1 pm ET, followed by the main card at 4 pm ET. The entire event will air exclusively on ESPN+.

Join the discussion on this topic...