Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | June 4, 2021

Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori is confident about his sold-out Saturday, June 12, UFC match against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at Gila River Arena.

“I work harder than anybody else,” says Vettori, the No. 3-ranked contender who fights out of Mezzocorona, Italy.

“Whatever obstacle I have in front of me, I crush it. I just work hard and never take a short cut. I keep improving myself. I show up when it’s time to, and that’s it.”

The Vettori/Adesanya fight is the headliner, as the co-main event is flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo against the No. 1 contender Brandon Moreno.

All bouts will be streamed on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The early prelims begin at 3 p.m. PT on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass. The prelims will be distributed on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ beginning at 5 p.m. PT. The UFC 263 main card will stream exclusively on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View starting at 7 p.m. PT.

“I’m super excited,” says Vettori, whose record is 17-4-1. “Everything I worked for is on the line June 12 in Arizona.”

The 27-year-old southpaw has been into martial arts since he was young. Vettori mostly did it for fun until, one day, at the age of 16, he saw a video of Fedor Emelianenko fighting in Pride.

“Since then, I keep getting more and more obsessed with it,” he says. “This is my occasion, and I make the most out of this dream.”

His titles include the Venator FC welterweight title, and in Brazilian jiujitsu he’s ranked as a brown belt under his coach Filippo Stabile, who awarded that to him after his last fight.

These days, Vettori trains twice a day, six days a week — 10 a.m. to noon and 6 to 8 p.m. with Kings MMA. In between, he eats and rests.

The Huntington Beach, California, resident says it’s meaningful to be fighting in the UFC.

“It means everything to me,” says Vettori, who has been a pro since 2012. “My dream has always been to be in the UFC one day, and that is why now that I have reached my first big step, I will do everything that is in my hands to stay here for a very long time.”

When he fights Adesanya, Vettori promises it’s going to be action packed.

“Everything is on the line,” he says. “You can expect the best version of myself and, no matter what, I’ll come out with a win.

“He’s no easy opponent. I fought him already one time. This is my moment to make a wrong right and rewrite history and be the first Italian UFC champ. There’s a lot of animosity before or during for sure.”

UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2

When: 3 p.m. Saturday, June 12

Where: Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale

Cost: Sold out

Info: gilariverarena.com

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