Q: How would Israel Adesanya rebound from the first loss of his career to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz back in March? A: By looking like the best in his division and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Adesanya used his lethal striking attack to dominate Marvin Vettori to retain the middleweight championship via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) in the main event of UFC 263 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night. DAZN News scored the fight 50-45 for Adesanya.
Vettori's shining moment came in the opening round when 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" started shredding the Italian's leg with one leg kick after another. Then he'd mix up and use body and head kicks to keep Vettori guessing. Then, just when it appeared Vettori might have figured out what Adesanya had up his sleeve, the New Zealander would throw punches from different angles.
So, 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—".
In UFC 263 co-main event, Brandon Moreno submitted Deiveson Figueiredo at 2:26 of the third round to become the UFC flyweight champion. DAZN News had the fight scored 20-18 for Moreno at the time of the stoppage.
Figueiredo looked to gain a bit of momentum and get himself back into the fight in the third round as he connected with a combination and a hard left hand. Instead, Moreno charged at Figueiredo and was able to secure a takedown.
He got Figueiredo in a body lock and went in for a rear-naked choke. Figueiredo slipped out, but Moreno snatched it right back in. The former champion had nowhere to go and tapped out to a thunderous roar from the crowd as Moreno became the first Mexican-born fighter to become a UFC titleholder.
Moreno controlled the action from the opening bell. He was light on the feet, always throwing first and the more active of the two. When Figueiredo did get Moreno to the ground, the native of Mexico popped up every time with relative ease, making it an easy night at the office.
"This moment is so amazing," Moreno said in his post-fight interview. "This f—ng life. UFC released me. I wasn't that proud of my life, but watch me holding this belt. I feel so amazing."
Here is what happened at UFC 263.