Marvin Vettori has dealt with his share of critics over the years, but it’s hard to find fault in his effort throughout the entirety of fight week at UFC Fight Night 196.

Presented with an incredibly difficult situation when his opponent, Paulo Costa (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), requested on fight week that their matchup be moved from middleweight to light heavyweight – a 20-pound switch on just a few days’ notice – Vettori (18-4-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) agreed to the change. Visibly smaller than his hard-hitting opponent on fight night, Vettori nevertheless was able to grind out an impressive decision win in the night’s main event.

While the fight did take place at 205 pounds, the result certainly has an impact on the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, here Vettori moves up two spots at now sits at No. 5.

“The Italian Dream” is hoping to earn another crack at the UFC middleweight title, and he’s certainly within striking distance of that opportunity.

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