UFC 286 results: Marvin Vettori earns unanimous decision nod over Roman Dolidze in main card opener

Marvin Vettori is back in the win column after halting the rise of a new middleweight contender.

The opening bout of the UFC 286 main card at The O2 in London saw Vettori (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) take on Roman Dolidze. It was a close, gritty back-and-forth striking battle over 15 minutes, but when the dust settled, judges turned in scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 in Vettori’s favor over Dolidze (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC).

Vettori opened with a pair of leg kicks, which would prove to be a focus throughout the fight. A moment later, Dolidze unloaded a flurry of strikes, putting Vettori on retreat early. Although the crowd got excited in the moment, Vettori was able to circle away and reset. In the final moments of Round 1, Dolidze sparked another heated exchange before the fighters returned to their corners.

As the fighters trades strikes in the second, Dolidze began taunting Vettori, inviting him to brawl as his confidence grew. “The Italian Dream” did not fall for the trap, and stuck to his gameplan by carefully selecting his punches and kicks on his own terms.

With the fight seemingly tied up going into the final round, the middleweight contenders needed to put a stamp on the fight.

Dolidze kept the pressure high early, but Vettori displayed solid defense while landing solid counters. Midway through the frame, the action intensified with Dolidze initially leading the exchanges. However, Vettori continued to respond well. He mixed up his attacks with punches and thudding leg kicks.

The judges rendered their decision unanimously in Vettori’s favor, including one judge who saw every round for the former title challenger.

Vettori entered the contest at No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, with Dolidze behind him at No. 12.

The win for Vettori marked a return to the win column after a loss to former champion Robert Whittaker in September. Prior to that setback, Vettori picked up a unanimous decision win over former title challenger Paulo Costa.

Dolidze walks away with just the second loss of his pro career, ending a four-fight win streak that included three-straight finishes.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 286 results include:

  • Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:27

  • Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:15

  • Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:32

  • Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

  • Christian Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:52

  • Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01

  • Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

  • Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein declared majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

  • Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie