Israel Adesanya rebounded from the first loss of his career to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz last March to dominate Marvin Vettori and retain the middleweight championship.
Adesanya won via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) in the main event of UFC 263 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in the early hours of Sunday.
Vettori started strongly as he secured a takedown but unlike the loss against Blachowicz, who was able to keep Adesanya on the mat for huge chunks at a time, the champion gained a tremendous amount of confidence by making it back to his feet. It was all Adesanya from that point forward.
“The Last Style Bender” focused on decimating the Italian’s and used body and head kicks to keep Vettori on the back foot.
What is next for Adesanya now that he’s defended the 185-pound title for the third consecutive time? Adesanya called out a rival and someone he’s already beaten.
“Whittaker, my arch-nemesis, Bobby,” Adesanya told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview. “I don’t know what the f—k’s gonna happen with COVID. We need to run that back in Auckland, in my territory this time. I’ll tell you what it is. I get to decide. You don’t get to decide, ‘Cause why? I’m the motherf—ing king, b—”.
Adesanya and Whittaker fought at UFC 243 in a title unfication bout in the latter’s home country of Australia. Adesanya knocked Whittaker out in the second round to become the undisputed champion. It didn’t take long for Whittaker to answer the challenge.
In UFC 263 co-main event, Brandon Moreno submitted Deiveson Figueiredo at 2:26 of the third round to become the UFC flyweight champion.