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Marvin Vettori glad he didn’t fall into Paulo Costa’s ‘trap’ at UFC Fight Night 196

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LAS VEGAS – Marvin Vettori says keeping his composure was a key factor in getting his hand raised against Paulo Costa at UFC Fight Night 196.

Vettori (18-5-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) could’ve easily blown his fuse multiple times leading up to his unanimous decision win in the main event at the UFC Apex. Costa’s (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) displayed major unprofessionalism in coming into fight week over the contracted middleweight limit, forcing multiple changes in weight before the fight was finally settled at light heavyweight.

It didn’t stop Vettori from the win. He went tooth-and-nail with Costa for five grueling rounds, and he needed to pull out all the stops to get it done. Vettori said he probably wouldn’t have been able to pull that off if he didn’t keep his composure through all the drama.

“It was a very solid performance,” Vettori told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC Fight Night 196 post-fight news conference. “I’m glad I didn’t let go of all that tension before the fight thinking that he’s not ready, he didn’t train, he came in fat, he’s not taking seriously. He actually did. It was a trap a little bit. He was willing to scratch the fight for sure, but he was ready also.”

Vettori admits it was a challenge to come out on the right end of the decision. Costa looked significantly bigger in the octagon, with UFC president Dana White revealing post-fight that the Brazilian was roughly 220 pounds compared to Vettori’s 208 pounds.

The Italian said the size disparity forced him to fight smart, but he knew he could overcome it. It gives him confidence going forward, but that certainly doesn’t mean Vettori is inviting more opponents to not meet the originally contracted weight.

“He was big,” Vettori said. “I’m able to deal with anybody. Being a middleweight, we’re pretty big. … I don’t care about the weight. I’m able to deal with anybody. The cage is my house. This is my sport. I don’t care how much overweight you come in. But that being said, don’t show up f*cking overweight. To my next opponent. Don’t show up overweight cause you know I’m going to take the fight, cause I’m still going to beat you.”

In the grand scope of Vettori’s career, this was a hugely important fight for him. He needed to show he can rebound after a title-fight loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 263 in June, and he took on a (literally) enormous task to show he’s still a top player in the sport.

Vettori doesn’t think beating Costa puts him in line to challenge for the title right away. He said if someone falls out of the planned bout between Adesanya and Robert Whittaker in February then he’ll be available, but otherwise, he intends to keep winning until his time comes again.

“Whatever makes sense – I’m ready to go,” Vettori said. “I don’t think I’m going to fight before the end of the year. But it’s easy to trick me into good fight if they’re good. Maybe February someone gets injured. You never know. The one thing about me is I’ll be ready, I’ll show up and I’ll put on a hell of a show for all the fans.

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Twitter reacts to Marvin Vettori's win over Paulo Costa in classic at UFC Fight Night 196

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