UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Vettori Preview

A preview of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 16 card, set to take place in Las Vegas.

Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 • 4:35 PM ET

Jack Hermansson could be a fight or two away from a middleweight title shot.

No. 4 ranked middleweight Jack Hermansson and No. 13 Marvin Vettori will headline the UFC’s return to the Apex in Las Vegas this Saturday for UFC Vegas 16.

Hermansson (21-5, 8-3 in UFC) is coming off a first-round submission win over former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum in July, and he could be one win away from entering the middleweight title conversation. The 32-year-old was originally scheduled to fight former welterweight title challenger Darren Till, but an injury forced Till to withdraw from the fight. Rising star Kevin Holland replaced Till, but a positive COVID-19 test removed him from the bout.

Meanwhile, Vettori was scheduled to face Jacare Souza at UFC 256 later this month, but he’ll step in to fight Hermansson instead. Holland will take Vettori’s place against Souza at UFC 256, barring another positive COVID-19 test.

Win or lose on Saturday, Hermansson should be commended for sticking around to prepare for a third different opponent. He was especially disappointed when Till pulled out because he thinks he and his camp put together a great game plan to defeat him.

“I was very disappointed, especially with all the work that went into this fight camp,” Hermansson said on Just Scrap Radio via BJPENN.com. “I have been specializing on Darren Till. We just broke the game down into small details and worked so hard to perfect everything. Then he is suddenly out. I lose a great opponent and a big fan-favorite. That sucked, we managed to at least get a fight.”

The Swedish fighter believes he’ll deserve a No. 1 contender fight if he defeats Vettori, and he has an idea of whom that should be against.

“I don’t like the Till fight too much because that was supposed to be my tune-up fight to show I am the next contender,” Hermansson said. “Now I want that title contender fight. It is Robert Whittaker, but if Rob isn’t ready, then, Paulo Costa.

“Those are the only two guys. My next fight should be a contender fight.”

Including Gastelum, Hermansson has key victories over Souza, David Branch and Thales Leites. Vettori is undoubtedly a rising contender in the middleweight division, so Hermansson could turn heads with a dominant performance over the young lion.

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Vettori (15-4, 5-2-1 in UFC) has won three straight fights since losing a close split-decision to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in 2018. The Italian fighter most recently defeated Karl Roberson by first-round submission in June and believes he’s on the fast track to a potential rematch with Adesanya. The 27-year-old Vettori must get past Hermansson first, which would be his greatest victory to date.

“Years of sweat, blood and tears and it all comes down to big opportunities like this,” Vettori wrote. “Thank you Mick Maynard for the call. I’m ready for 5 rounds of war and I expect none of the less back. Italy will have a UFC world champion and one week from now we’ll show the world that it will happen.”

“Years of sweat, blood and tears and it all comes down to big opportunities like this,” Vettori recently posted to his Instagram page. Thank you [Mick Maynard] for the call. I’m ready for 5 rounds of war and I expect none of the less back. Italy will have a UFC world champion and one week from now we’ll show the world that it will happen.”


The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. EST

Light heavyweight bout - No. 15 Ovince Saint Preux vs. Jamahal Hill

Women’s flyweight bout - No. 15 Montana de la Rosa vs. Taila Santos

Light heavyweight bout - Roman Dolidze vs. John Allan

Featherweight bout - Nate Landwehr vs. Movsar Evloev

 

Prelims on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. EST

Lightweight bout - Gabriel Benitez vs. Justin Jaynes

Bantamweight bout - Louis Smolka vs. Jose Quinonez

Lightweight bout - Matt Wiman vs. Jordan Leavitt

Flyweight bout - Jimmy Flick vs. Cody Durden

Featherweight bout - Ilia Topuria vs. Damon Jackson

Heavyweight bout - Gian Villante vs. Jake Collier

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