- UFC 263 features two title fights as well as the return of one of the promotion’s biggest stars in Nate Diaz, making it a must-see show overall.
This weekend sees the UFC return to pay-per-view, as UFC 263 takes place from Glendale, Arizona, EKO HOT BLOG gathered.
UFC middleweight title: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2 (Preview)
This UFC middleweight title fight is a rematch of a fight that took place in April 2018. And outside of Israel Adesanya’s failed foray into the light heavyweight division, it still stands as the closest anyone’s come to defeating him in the UFC.
So can Marvin Vettori go one step further this time and actually beat Adesanya, taking his UFC middleweight title in the process? It’s an interesting question.
On one hand, this might be the perfect time to fight Adesanya. He’s coming off the first loss of his UFC and MMA career – a humbling defeat at the hands of Jan Blachowicz.
Sure, the loss came at 205lbs and wasn’t a brutal, career-changing knockout or anything like that. But it proved to Adesanya that he’s human, isn’t unbeatable, and definitely still has holes in his game – particularly in his grappling.
Of course, Vettori already came relatively close to beating ‘The Last Stylebender’ in their 2018 fight, largely using his clinch work and takedowns to push Adesanya harder than he’d been pushed before.
However, based on strength of opposition, it’s arguable that Vettori hasn’t really earned this title shot in the first place.
He’s won five fights in the UFC since that initial meeting with Adesanya, but those wins came over Cezar Ferreira, Andrew Sanchez, Karl Roberson, Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland.
The latter two opponents are probably the strongest, and yet Holland took the fight on late notice and Vettori failed to finish either man.
Adesanya, meanwhile, has beaten the likes of Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero and Kelvin Gastelum – all of whom would probably be favoured over Vettori. And more to the point, all four men were largely embarrassed by Adesanya’s ridiculous timing, power and accuracy on the feet.
At best, Vettori will hope to replicate Blachowicz’s gameplan. But while he’s shown himself to have a stout chin, he definitely doesn’t possess the punching power of the Polish fighter, nor is he big enough to really outmuscle ‘The Last Stylebender’.
Therefore, it seems tricky to imagine ‘The Italian Dream’ finding a path to victory here. Simply put, Adesanya has improved more than Vettori has in the years since their last fight, meaning the likelihood here is that he returns to form with a knockout.
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