UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori wants another crack at current champ Israel Adesanya, and until that day comes, he’s not about to hold back on his opinions.

The outspoken Italian slugger came up short against “The Last Stylebender” in an April 2018 clash, and Vettori admits it still leaves a sour taste in his mouth.

“People can say whatever they want about my fight,” Vettori told MMA Junkie. “I have my opinions. He has his opinions. People have their opinions, … but whoever won that fight, and the judges – one gave it to me, two gave it to him – whoever, even him, is he happy with what happened in that fight? Did it really go down like it was supposed to go down? Did anybody really come out on top, like saying, ‘I beat the other guy,’?

“If anything, he came out more beat up than me from that fight.”

Clearly, Vettori (14-3-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) isn’t likely to praise Adesanya (19-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) for much of anything, but “The Italian Dream” actually levies the responsibility for the champ’s lackluster UFC 248 win over Yoel Romero (13-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) on both participants.

Vettori believes Romero’s initial strategy was sound, but that the 42-year-old Cuban veteran should have seen the fight slipping away as it was unfolding and made the necessary adjustments.

“I was disappointed on both sides,” Vettori said. “I think the fault was on both sides. I actually thought Romero won the fight, but it was very close, and I know these New Zealand guys are unbeatable in decisions. If they go to decisions, they’re unbeatable. What I’m saying is, third title fight, 42 years old, you know the situation, and the strategy was good, but then fourth and fifth, starting from the third, you’ve got to bring it up a little more.”

Adesanya retained his belt in the March 7 event in Las Vegas, taking home a unanimous decision win, but he was widely criticized in the aftermath of what was expected to be a much better contest. And while Vettori does believe Romero shares in the blame, he also thinks Adesanya showed that he’s not the unbeatable monster his unblemished record might suggest.

“From Adesanya, I’m seeing just a scared guy, honestly – like, he didn’t want to take risks, and I’ll tell you why: Because Romero was being very good of not reacting to his feints and being very unpredictable, which he always is, but even more, and doing all this weird (expletive), so Adesanya wouldn’t have a lot to build on,” Vettori said. “Even if it looks like he’s a striker and he does all this weird (expletive), he plays it safe a lot of times, and people fall for this (expletive). But I’ve seen it.

“When he has to take some risks there, because Romero was being good at not reacting and stuff, he’s been scared to go fight. He got hit a couple times, and he just acted like a bitch the whole time, and so that showed me his true colors. That showed me that if there is a need to take risks, he’s not going to take them. He’s going to stay real safe. He knows he’s not going to be finished, and he known he’s not going to be beat by decision.”

Adesanya is expected to take on undefeated Brazilian brawler Paulo Costa in his next outing, though the MMA world is currently on hold along with the rest of the globe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Vettori has earned back-to-back decision wins since his loss to Adesanya and was eyeing a third result before his UFC on ESPN+ 29 bout with Darren Stewart was scratched this past weekend.

Vettori knows he’s not yet in line for a crack at the belt, but he does hope to get another shot at Adesanya in the not-too-distant future.

“It’s not over” Adesanya said. “I think we have to settle it. We need another fight, for sure.”