Marvin Vettori continued his rise in the middleweight division Saturday, taking the next step toward a title shot.
Vettori defeated Kevin Holland via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
"The Italian Dream" grinded out his opponent from start to finish. The first round was competitive, but Vettori took over in the second frame and dominated the rest of the fight with his grappling.
The No. 6-ranked contender set the record for most takedowns landed in a UFC middleweight contest with 11, according to the broadcast.
"I'm not too happy with what I did, because I wanted to finish this guy and I wasn't able to," Vettori said in his postfight interview. "But it was a dominant win and I keep improving ... Five rounds for me is just a normal thing. I'm not the happiest right now, but I keep winning, I keep progressing, and I do it dominantly."
Holland, ranked No. 10 in the division, stepped in on short notice for Darren Till, who withdrew last week due to a broken collarbone. "Trailblazer" was coming off a one-sided loss to Derek Brunson on March 20 and tied the record for quickest turnaround between UFC main events at 21 days.
Like the Brunson fight, Holland struggled to stay upright against Vettori, who landed a takedown in each round - with relative ease - and battered him with ground-and-pound. Holland tagged Vettori late in the third round and at the start of the fifth, but Vettori's ground control was ultimately the story of the fight.
After his win, Vettori called for a title shot against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Vettori took Adesanya to a split decision in April 2018 before either were top contenders.
"I want Adesanya next," Vettori said. "I will improve by my next fight for sure. October, I want to fight him. I think I deserve it ... other people were supposed to show up - they didn't. Now I'm on a winning streak, I've been putting on dominant performances, and I want this title."
Vettori extended his winning streak to five with his second straight main-event victory. The 27-year-old's only loss since 2016 came against Adesanya.
Holland has now dropped two straight after going 5-0 in his breakout 2020 campaign.