UFC 263 fell last night (Saturday, June 12, 2021) from inside the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., With middleweight pivot Israel Adesanya retaining his belt after dominating Marvin Vettori for five rounds (see it again here). In the main co-event, Brandon Moreno subdued Deiveson Figueiredo to become the promotion’s final flyweight champion and the very first Mexico-born UFC title holder (highlights).
Winner: Israel Adesanya
Who he should face next: Robert Whittaker
Adesanya went undefeated in the middleweight division and retained his title after dominating Vettori for five rounds to win his third title defense. The next step for “The Last Stylebender” will be another rematch as he will more than likely face former division king Robert Whittaker. Adesanya knocked out “The Reaper” at UFC 243 to win the strap. Since then, Whittaker has climbed back to a rematch after beating Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. All we have to do now is sit back and wait, although Adesanya is looking for a quick turnaround, maybe in October.
Winner: Brandon Moreno
Who he should face next: Askar Askarov revenge
After winning a historic championship to claim the 125-pound title, the job will become a bit more difficult for Moreno. His first challenge as a champion will be a doozy as he will more than likely defend Askarov, who is undefeated at 14-0-1, including 3-0-1 inside the Octagon. Moreno and Askarov initially bowed in September 2019, fighting to a draw after a 15-minute round trip. It was Askarov’s debut in the UFC and he has had three consecutive wins in the Octagon against very fierce competition since. That said, Moreno has already corrected one draw and he would be more than happy to make another one.
Winner: Léon Edwards
Who he should face next: title shot …
Dana White made it clear during the post-fight press conference (see here) that Colby Covington is still in line to take on Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title despite ‘Rocky’s’ big win over Nate Diaz . While I’d rather see Edwards take on ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ instead, it looks like the British brawler will have to wait a bit before getting his shot late. And that’s exactly what he should be doing, wait. There is no sense in taking another fight in the meantime as anything can happen and all of his hard work and winning streak can be gone in the blink of an eye. Just look at what happened last night, he almost got knocked out in the dying moments of the fight after dominating the previous 24 minutes.
Winner: Belal Mohammed |
Who he should face next: Li Jingliang
Muhammad claimed his fifth consecutive victory with a fine performance against Demian Maia. While “Remember the Name” I’m sure would love another game against Edwards after their first fight ended in a no contest, that just isn’t happening anytime soon. He is expected to reach the Top 10 next week so a fight against Jingliang seems appropriate. “The Leech” is back on the winning streak after scoring a big win over Santiago Ponzinibbio by knockout in the first round earlier this year. Ranked No.10 at the moment, Li appears to be a perfect opponent for Muhammad to try to climb to the top of the rankings.
Winner: Paul Craig
Who should he fight next: Volkan Oezdemir
Craig took his fourth victory in the last five contests by submitting Jamahal Hill last night in Arizona, breaking his arm in the process. “The Bear Jew” will climb a spot or two in the rankings, but he probably won’t make it into the Top 10. A win over Oezdemir (ranked No.8) could be what puts him at the top. “No Time” was last seen losing to Jiri Prochazka in October 2020, but he’s 2-1 over his last three. If Craig can take out Oezdemir, it increases his stock, puts him in the Top 10, and sets him up for bigger and better fights in the future.
For full UFC 263 results and coverage, click here.