Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, looks to return to a familiar place, the win column, tonight (Sat., June 12, 2021) against a familiar opponent, Marvin Vettori, in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 263, which takes before a full crowd inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
“Last Stylebender” — who failed to lift the Light Heavyweight belt off Jan Blachowicz earlier this year — defeated “Italian Dream” via split decision back in 2018 (watch it). And Vettori has been undefeated ever since, besting Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland, among others, to climb back into the title chase and earn a rematch.
Live updates will begin to flow below the moment the two fighters make their way to the Octagon …
Vettori, the challenger, was the first to make his walk to the cage:
And then it was Adesanya’s turn to once again kill an entrance …
Unsurprisingly, there was no glove touch between the two sworn enemies. Marvin came out looking to push the pace and get the fight on his terms (the ground), while Adesanya chipped away at the legs and circled the cage. Adesanya went to the well one too many times early and Marvin caught a low kick and scored a quick takedown. He butt scooted to the cage and threw up a triangle that he turned into and escape. Back on their feet, Marvin tried to get him back to the ground, but Adesanya was able to slip out and get back to his feet. Marvin pumped jabs, but Adesanya’s head was already in another location by the time the shots arrived. Marvin tried to trap him along the cage, but Adesanya was able to dip and move, exiting out of danger and going to work with his kicks. He seemed to hurt Marvin, but the Italian put on a solid poker face and kept up the pressure. Adesanya ended the round with a solid shovel hook, but the takedown and control could mean that Marvin is up 1-0 on the judges scorecards.
Marvin continued the pressure to start the second stanza, but Adesanya was the one scoring with kicks and punches from all sorts of crazy angles. Overhand right from Marvin pushed Adesanya up against the cage, and moments later, he had Izzy up against the fence, looking for a takedown. Adesanya landed some hard elbows to the side of his head and Marvin gave up shortly afterward as the pair returned to the center of the cage. Marvin tried to pump the jab, but once again, came up with nothing but air. Low kick from Adesanya buckled Marvin, who continued to try and trap the champ along the fence. He wrapped his arms around him, but Adesanya plugged his ears with more elbows and he let him go. Marvin rushed in with a wild counter toward the end of the round, but Adesanya was the one who scored with a kick at the buzzer.
Adesanya opened up the third round with a kick and a hard punch upstairs, with Marvin responding with a takedown in the opening 30 seconds. Marvin pulled Adesanya away from the cage and tried to do work from half guard, with Adesanya fighting hands and locking up a head lock to thwart any sort of ground-and-pound. Adesanya scrambled and ended up giving his back, with Marvin looking to secure a rear-naked choke. It looked like it was close, but Adesanya spun and went belly-to-belly and was able to reverse the position. On the ensuing scramble, Marvin got to his feet and Adesanya stuck his finger in his eye. After a brief stoppage, the two went back to work in the center of the cage, with Adesanya targeting Marvin’s lead leg once again. Adesanya missed with a question mark kick as Marvin tried to hunt him down with a lumbering right hand. Adesanya drilled it again and Marvin hit the canvas almost immediately — Marvin’s lead leg was clearly compromised. With seconds left in the round, Adesanya drilled Marvin in the balls … hard. The action was stopped, with Marvin given five minutes to recover, but he maybe took 30 seconds.
Marvin appeared a little desperate, chasing Adesanya around the cage, all the while getting his lead leg lit up. He managed to get him hung up on the fence, but Adesanya continued to plug his ear with those hard elbows. He finally secured the takedown, but Adesanya reversed and was back on his feet in seconds. Adesanya with a low kick to a high kick, woth Marvin responding with a low kick of his own. Marvin seemed a bit fatigued and definitely much slower, the leg kick damage likely accumulating. Adesanya, meanwhile, continued to style, floating around the cage and scoring with his precision striking. Marvin tried to close the distance along the fence once again, but, once again, Adesanya was able to remain upright. Playing to the crowd and squeezing a hunk of Marvin’s butt as the round came to a close.
Fifth and final and it was pretty clear that Marvin needed a finish, likely winning just the first round … if at all. He started with a clinch along the cage, but didn’t do anything with it as Adesanya literally slapped his ears. Adesanya scored with an uppercut on the break, then landed a head kick as Marvin plodded forward. Marvin landed a punch and Adesanya pretended to be hurt, but then immediately went back to work. Marvin continued to chase Adesanya around the cage, but it was clear that he was tired and just too slow to catch up to Adesanya’s head movement. He tried to drag Adesanya down to the mat, but once again he was unsuccessful. Adesanya stayed busy with his legs until the final bell as Marvin simply had nothing left in the tank.
Final result: Israel Adesanya defeats Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision
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