The middleweight champion might not be so susceptible on the mat in any case.
Three months after shedding a bid to turn into a two-division champion and displaying a weak spot in getting again to his ft as soon as taken down, Israel Adesanya refused to be held down by Marvin Vettori.
Instead, the champion spent the majority of his profitable middleweight title protection within the UFC 263 pay-per-view major occasion at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., pounding the lead proper leg of the Italian and touchdown his typical precision punches en path to a unanimous resolution, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45.
The win for Adesanya (21-1, 15 finishes) places to relaxation a testy buildup beween the Nigerian-New Zealander and the Italian, three years after the champ gained a three-round resolution as they had been early of their respective UFC tenures. As the choice was being learn afterward, the 2 shared a severe dialog, which the champ stated was about displaying respect.
“At the end of the day, I don’t like you, you don’t like be, but this is martial arts; show some respect,” Adesanya stated within the octagon moments later, “ because that’s lost in this game, so he didn’t have that.”
Adesanya struck first, successful the primary spherical due to efficient use of his kicks. Vettori scored an early takedown that examined the champ’s capability to get again to his ft — three months after displaying weak spot in that space during an unsuccessful massive to say the sunshine heavyweight title from Jan Blachowicz — however Adesanya scrambled again to his ft and didn’t return to the mat within the spherical.
The champ stated afterward that nothing about Vettori’s technique stunned him.
“Even at the press conference when he stood up, I sat down because I didn’t feel any threat,” Adesanya stated dismissively of the challenger, whom he now has overwhelmed twice and sure is not going to face once more.
The palms of Adesanya discovered their goal nicely within the second, augmenting the success of his kicks. Vettori, who by two fights between them carried out higher whereas making use of strain, managed to again the champ as much as the cage and clinch close to the tip of the spherical, however he did little to land efficient offense from the place.
Vettori wasted no time bringing the combat to the ground to start out the third, pinning Adesanya to the mat from the highest in half guard. He briefly secured the again of the champ earlier than Adesanya spun out and wound up on high. A deep, and apparently inadvertent, eye poke from Adesanya paused the motion halfway by and a low kick to Vettori’s cup created one other break proper earlier than the tip of the spherical. Still, the champ appeared the clear spherical winner.
Another early takedown from Vettori in spherical 4 seemed to be one other alternative for the challenger to create a chance on the mat, however Adesanya shortly reversed and stood up to return to his world class kickboxing arsenal. The Italian’s lead proper leg bore marks of harm from the various heavy leg kicks, and Adesanya was hardly ever in hassle on the ft.
Needing a end — doubtless through submission — Vettori was by no means in a position to put Adesanya in peril within the ultimate body because the champion cruised to a transparent shutout on the scorecards.
In the primary title combat of the evening, Brandon Moreno upset flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo in a rematch from December’s draw. The judges weren’t wanted this time, as he secured a tapout due to a rear-naked choke at 2:26 of the third spherical.
Moreno (19-5-2, 14 finishes), who turned the primary UFC champion from Mexico, was the sharper man all through. He flexed an efficient and lively jab within the first spherical that, at one level, dropped Figueiredo (20-2-1, 17 finishes).
The second body was nearer, with every man discovering some success in each grappling and putting. But Moreno gained the spherical on two of three judges’ scorecards after successfully creating scrambles out of potentially-hazardous conditions, punctuating one floor trade with a fast postured punch. Moreno did return to his nook with a knot on his head, nonetheless, courtesy of defending champion’s elbows from the underside.
Moreno was again to the jab within the third earlier than securing a takedown and shortly taking Figueiredo’s again. After initially keeping off fast hazard of a choke, Moreno slipped his arm again underneath the Brazilian’s neck and notching the championship victory.
“I worked so hard for this, man,” an emotional Moreno stated within the octagon after the win, staring with disbelief at his new championship belt. “… Watch me now holding this, man. It’s unbelievable.”
Preceding the championship bouts, Leon Edwards survived a harrowing ultimate 90 seconds to safe a transparent unanimous resolution, 49-46, 49-46, 49-46, towards Nate Diaz. The bout was the primary non-title, non-headlining bout in UFC historical past scheduled for 5 rounds.
Edwards (19-3, 9 finishes) brutalized the lead leg of the favored Diaz (20-13, 16 finishes) with early leg kicks and opened up massive cuts above the left eye and on the suitable facet of his opponent’s head. He landed a number of impactful punches within the center rounds, placing Diaz in clear finish-or-lose territory
But a patented slap-punch combo from Diaz had Edwards on wobbly legs, barely conserving from struggling any extra fight-altering punches over the ultimate 1 ¹/₂ minutes to hold on for the choice in a welterweight bout with potential title implications.