Israel Adesanya remains king of the UFC middleweight division.
Coming off his first career loss in a challenge to light heavyweight champ JanBlachowicz, the UFC middleweight titleholder returned to his division and puton a clinic in defeating Italy's Marvin Vettori in the main event of Saturdaynight's UFC 263.
The judges' scorecards at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., were 50-45across the board for a unanimous decision.
Vettori (17-5-1) had a clear game plan which involved hunting down NewZealand's Adesanya (21-1), throwing heavy hands, then looking for a clinchalong the cage in order to take things to the mat. He found just enoughsuccess to keep his opponent honest and go the distance, but Adesanya issimply on another level.
Adesanya landed low kicks over and over, evaded most of Vettori's shots anddefended the bulk of the takedown attempts. He added in several head kickswhich landed flush and his usual array of inventive strikes, and at times thebout seemed more a sparring session than a serious fight.
AND STILL ‼️
— ESPN (@espn) June 13, 2021
The evening's co-feature bout featured an electric moment, as Tijuana'sBrandon Moreno became the first Mexican-born fighter to win a UFCchampionship. In a rematch of a classic title fight last December which wentto a draw, Moreno defeated Brazil's Deiveson Figueiredo to claim the flyweightchampionship with a third-round submission.
Moreno (19-5-2) set the tone in the first by establishing a crisp jab andearning a knockdown with a left hook. He made his big adjustment from thefirst fight on the ground, and flustered Figueiredo (20-2-1), a man known forslick submissions.
From there it seemed a matter of time, and a rear-naked choke causedFigueiredo to surrender at the 2:26 mark of the third, leading to a deliriousreaction from the heavily Hispanic crowd in Arizona.
“I used all six months for this. Starting in January, starting the year,making drills, to be better today, and watch me (expletive) now,” said Moreno.