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UFC 263 results: Israel Adesanya routs Marvin Vettori to retain middleweight title; Brandon Moreno pulls off upset

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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—".

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. 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.

 

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Israel Adesanya dominates Marvin Vettori to retain title

Adesanya def. Vettori via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) to retain the UFC middleweight championship.
 

Adesanya-Vettori Round 5

Adesanya with another leg kick and Vettori rushes in for another takedown attempt. Vettori is pressing Adesanya against the cage but doing nothing with it. A head kick grazes Vettori. A three-punch combination by Vettori. 

Vettori gets another takedown but Adesanya pops right up. A combination by Adesanya. (10-9 Adesanya, 50-45 Adesanya)
 

Adesanya-Vettori Round 4

A head kick followed by a calf kick by Adesanya. Another takedown by Vettori but Adesanya reverses yet again. A right hand from Vettori and gets Adesanya back to the cage but then lets him out. Two jabs and a leg kick by Vettori. 

Two jabs, a left hand and a calf kick by Adesanya. Such a fluid motion and keeps everything compact. (10-9 Adesanya, 40-36 Adesanya)
 

Adesanya-Vettori Round 3

A left hand lands for Vettori and then rushes right at Adesanya for a takedown. Adesanya reverses out, Vettori attempts a rear-naked choke and Adesanya reverses out into top position. Boht guys are on their way up and Adesanya accidentally eye pokes Vettori. A right from Adesanya and Vettori comes with a left. Vettori catches Adesanya with a jab. Adesanya with another leg kick and Vettori pops another left jab. 

A left hand lands for Vettori. An uppercut connects for Adesanya. A low blow by Adesanya. No point deduction from referee Marc Goddard for two fouls in the same round. (10-9 Adesanya, 30-27 Adesanya)
 

Adesanya-Vettori Round 2

Another leg kick by Adesanya. A one-two from Vettori but a combination from Adesanya. Vettori attempts a takedown but Adesanya stuffs it. A head kick attempt blocked by Vettori. A leg kick by Adesanya and Vettori clips him with a left. Beautiful low kick by Adesanya. 

Another takedown attempt is stuffed by Adesanya. A right hand by Vettori. A head-kick right at the bell lands for Adesanya.

Adesanya is in a good rhythm. (10-9 Adesanya, 20-18 Adesanya)
 

Adesanya-Vettori Round 1

No touch of gloves. Vettori immediately bringing pressure but Adesanya starts chopping the leg with two kicks. An exchange of kicks from both guys. Adesanya goes for a sloppy body kick and Vettori takes him right down to the mat. Adesanya scrambles back to the feet which is a confidence booster. A front kick by the champion. A left lands by Vettori. Another left lands for Vettori but Adesnaya fires off a combination. A body kick by Adesanya. A combination by Adesanya. An uppercut in the final seconds lands for Adesanya. Very close round to the champion as he got into a rhythm in the last two minutes. (10-9 Adesanya)
 

UFC 263 main event

It is time for the co-main event of UFC 263 as Israel Adesanya (20-1) battles No. 3-ranked Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) in a rematch for the middleweight title. Adesanya escaped with a split decision in their first contest back in April 2018.

Can Vettori do what Moreno did in the co-main event?
 

Brandon Moreno makes history to become the UFC flyweight champion

Moreno def. Figueiredo via submission (rear-naked choke)  at 2:26 of third round to become the UFC flyweight champion. The round started out good for Figueiredo as he landed a left hand by Figueiredo. Moreno gets Figueiredo back down to the canvas, locks in the body triangle and has the rear-naked choke secured. Somehow Figueiredo gets out. Moreno doesn't give up and cinches it in one more time. Figueiredo is going absolutely nowhere and he had no choice but to tap out to a thunderous roar from the crowd. What a moment! Moreno becomes the first Mexican-born fighter to become a UFC champion. 
 

Figueiredo-Moreno Round 2

Moreno begins things with another hard jab but Figueiredo takes him down to the mat. Figueiredo is looking for a submission and Moreno is trying to kick himself off and is successful and things are back standing. A takedown by Moreno and he has Figueiredo's back. Two elbows by Figueiredo while on his back. A scramble ensues which ends with Moreno still on top. Two more elbows from Figueiredo. (10-9 Moreno, 20-18 Moreno)
 

Figueiredo-Moreno Round 1

Thunderous chants for Moreno. A stiff jab from Moreno followed by a leg kick. A four-punch from Moreno and Figueiredo counters with a hard left to the body. Figueiredo is more cautious than the first fight already. A right by Figueiredo. An elbow by Figueiredo and a left from Moreno. A left to the body and a short right by Figueiredo but Moreno comes right back and drops him with a jab. A sweep by Figueiredo to get the fight back to the feet. Couldn't ask for a better start if you're Moreno. (10-9 Moreno)
 

First championship rematch

It's time for the co-main event of UFC 263 as Deiveson Figuiredo (20-1-1) battles No. 1-ranked Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) for the flyweight title. Their first fight went to a draw at UFC 255 in one of the best fights of 2020. 

Can they deliver once again?
 

Leon Edwards escapes with decision win over Nate Diaz

Edwards def. Diaz via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46). It looked to be a runaway win for Edwards until the final minutes of the fight. A right-left had Edwards nearly out on his feet. Diaz unloaded the kitchen sink and had Edwards on the brink of getting finished. But time was on Edwards' side and he survived the onslaught.

That was the performance Edwards needed in his most high profile fight. He almost blew it but he escaped and that's all that matters. His stock rises and is now on a 10-fight unbeaten streak. He should be next in line for welterweight champion Kamaru Usman instead of Colby Covington, who has been content riding the sidelines instead of fighting. 
 

Edwards-Diaz Round 5

Both guys meet in the middle of the Octagon, slinging the leather. An elbow from Diaz and gets Edwards into the clinch. Edwards escapes and delivers a sharp left hand. A left hand stuns Edwards. Another left hurts Edwards. Diaz gets Edwards against the cage and in the clinch. 

A left from Diaz and Edwards uncorks a three-punch combination. A right by Diaz. A left hurts Edwards. Another right stuns Edwards. Diaz has him on the ropes. A right hook stuns Edwards again. A left, right from Diaz And the bell sounds. 

Is that a 10-8 final round from Diaz? (10-9 Diaz, 48-47 Edwards)
 

Edwards-Diaz Round 4

Diaz coming out aggressive and immediately connects on a left. He's stalking Edwards and the crowd is going crazy. A stiff left from Edwards. Diaz acknowledges it was a good shot. A good counter right from Edwards. Two lefts by Diaz but Edwards comes back with a left. Another combination from Diaz. They battle in the clinch and Diaz lands an elbow. A calf kick by Edwards. Another left from Diaz and Edwards roars back with another crisp elbow. Another combination from Diaz. A huge breath coming out of the mouth of Edwards. Diaz needs a finish. (10-9 Diaz, 39-37 Edwards)
 

Edwards-Diaz Round 3

Edwards misses two short elbows to open the third round. Hard left connects for Edwards. A left for Diaz but Edwards delivers a thudding calf kick. Diaz gets Edwards right back up to the cage and has the clinch. A left connects for Diaz. Edwards gets the clinch advantage and secures his third takedown. A sharp elbow lands by Edwards and has cut Diaz open on the side of his head and above the left eyebrow. A left hand by Diaz. Edwards grabs Diaz and gets another takedown. He has Diaz's back and not doing much with it.

Diaz gets up, and lands a left. Edwards pulls off a spinning back elbow to end the round. Diaz is in massive trouble. Needs to start letting it all hang out. (10-9 Edwards, 30-27 Edwards)
 

Edwards-Diaz Round 2

Edwards begins the second like he ended the first — another calf kick. Edwards and Diaz trade lefts and rights. A crisp left hand by Edwards. A right from Diaz but Edwards fires a left. Another leg by Edwards. Those will slowly take their toll on Diaz. A right lands from Diaz. A left, right from Diaz but Edwards gets him up against the cage and takes him back down. Diaz attempts a heel hook but Edwards gets out. A hard calf kick by Edwards. A left hand from Diaz and Edwards narrowly misses a left hand. Diaz gets Edwards in the clinch and delivers a knee. Edwards reverses out as the round ends. The momentum has shifted a bit towards Diaz as the round came to a close. (10-9 Edwards, 20-18 Edwards)
 

Edwards-Diaz Round 1

A pro-Diaz crowd. A left hand lands for Edwards. A right hand connects for Diaz. Two leg kicks in a row for Edwards. Diaz lands a leg kick of his own. Edwards stalking Diaz and blasts a right hand down the middle. Two right hands for Diaz and he's taunting Edwards. Both guys exchange clinches but Edwards is the one to get the takedown. He has Diaz's back and then the neck. Diaz gets up with 13 seconds and a calf kick by Edwards to end the round. (10-9 Edwards)

 

 

The return of Nate Diaz

Right now at UFC 263, No. 3-ranked Leon Edwards (18-3, one no-contest) squares off with Nate Diaz (21-12) in welterweight action. Edwards is unbeaten in his last nine contests (8-0, one no-contest). Edwards returned from a 20-month layoff to go to a no-contest with Belal Muhammad in March due to excessive eye pokes from Edwards. 

Diaz comes back from a 19-month layoff, when he lost to Jorge Masvidal in the BMF title fight at UFC 244.

Remember this is the first-ever five-round UFC fight that is neither a main event or title bout.

The star of the show is Diaz. Can Edwards become a star or does Diaz pull off the upset?
 

Belal Muhammad runs his unbeaten streak to six

Muhammad def. Maia via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). Not really much to the contest. Maia continously went for takedowns and Muhammad stuffed every single one of them. Muhammad then pumped the jab ad naseum and controlled the action at distance. 

A solid showing for Muhammad, who did what he had to do to get the job and run his unbeaten streak to six.
 

Demian's Maia final fight?

Up next at UFC 263 is No. 9-ranked Demian Maia (28-10) taking on No. 12-ranked Belal Muhammad in welterweight action. Maia, a former two-time UFC title challenger, has won three of his last four. But in his most recent outing, Maia lost via TKO in the first round to Gilbert Burns in March 2020. Muhammad (18-3, one no-contest) is 4-0 with one no-contest in his last five fights. In his last time out, Muhammad went to a no-contest with Leon Edwards when the former couldn't continue after a series of eye pokes. 

Maia has discussed UFC 263 being the final time making the walk. Can he go out on a high note?
 

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