Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is looking to return to a familiar place, the Winning Column, tonight (Saturday, June 12, 2021) against a familiar opponent, Marvin Vettori, in the Main Event Pay-Per-View (PPV) of UFC 263, which takes place in front of a large crowd inside the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
‘Last Stylebender’ – who failed to lift Jan Blachowicz’s light heavyweight belt earlier this year – beat ‘Italian Dream’ by split decision in 2018 (watch it). And Vettori has been undefeated ever since, defeating Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland, among others, to return to the title race and win a rematch.
Live updates will begin to flow below when both fighters travel to the Octagon …
Vettori, the challenger, was the first to make his way to the cage:
And then it was Adesanya’s turn to kill an entry again …
First round :
Unsurprisingly, there was no glove contact between the two nemesis. Marvin came out looking to pick up the pace and get the fight on his terms (the ground), while Adesanya grazed his legs and circled the cage. Adesanya has gone to the pits too many times earlier and Marvin caught a low kick and scored a quick out. He rushed to the cage and threw a triangle into which he transformed and escaped. Back on his feet, Marvin tried to bring him back to the ground, but Adesanya was able to escape and get back on his feet. Marvin pumped punches, but Adesanya’s head was already in another spot by the time the shots arrived. Marvin tried to trap him along the cage, but Adesanya was able to dive and move, getting out of danger and going to work with his kicks. He appeared to hurt Marvin, but the Italian put on a solid poker face and kept the pressure on. Adesanya finished the round with a solid shovel hook, but withdrawal and control could mean Marvin is ahead 1-0 on the judges’ scoreboards.
Marvin kept the pressure on to start the second stanza, but Adesanya was the one to score with kicks and punches from all kinds of crazy angles. A forehand from Marvin pushed Adesanya against the cage, and moments later he had Izzy against the fence, looking for a takedown. Adesanya put a few hard elbows on the side of his head and Marvin gave up soon after as the pair returned to the center of the cage. Marvin tried to pump the jab, but again he found only air. Adesanya’s low kick buckled Marvin, who continued to try and trap the champion 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 towards the end of the round, but Adesanya was the one to score with a kick to the buzzer.
Adesanya opened the third round with a kick and a hard punch to the floor, with Marvin responding with an out in the first 30 seconds. Marvin pulled Adesanya away from the cage and tried to work with a half guard, with Adesanya clapping his hands and locking a head lock to thwart any sort of ground and pound. Adesanya rushed over and ended up giving her back, with Marvin trying to get a choke in the back. It looked like it was close, but Adesanya pivoted and went stomach to stomach and was able to reverse the position. In the race that followed, Marvin stood up and Adesanya put his finger in his eye. After a brief stop, the two got back to work in the center of the cage, Adesanya aiming for Marvin’s leading leg again. Adesanya missed a question mark shot as Marvin attempted to track him down with a heavy right hand. Adesanya pierced him again and Marvin hit the canvas almost immediately – Marvin’s front leg was clearly compromised. With seconds to go into the round, Adesanya punched Marvin through the balls… hard. The action was stopped, Marvin had five minutes to recover, but it might have taken 30 seconds.
Marvin looked a little desperate, chasing Adesanya around the cage, while lighting his lead leg. He managed to get him to hang on the fence, but Adesanya continued to plug his ear with those hard elbows. He eventually got the takedown, but Adesanya backed off and got to his feet within seconds. Adesanya with a low kick to a high kick, Marvin responding with his own low kick. Marvin looked a bit tired and certainly a lot slower, with the damage from the leg kick probably building up. Adesanya, meanwhile, continued to style his hair, floating around the cage and scoring with his precision strike. Marvin again tried to close the distance along the fence, but once again Adesanya was able to stand. Play with the crowd and squeeze a big piece of Marvin’s butt at the end of the round.
Fifth and final and it was pretty clear that Marvin needed a finish, probably winning only 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 at the break, then fired a header as Marvin struggled forward. Marvin landed a punch and Adesanya pretended to be injured, but immediately returned to work. Marvin continued to chase Adesanya around the cage, but it was clear he was tired and too slow to catch up with Adesanya’s head movement. He tried to drag Adesanya onto the mat, but again he failed. Adesanya kept 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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