Official result: Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Marvin Vettori believed he won his 2018 clash with Israel Adesanya and never stopped calling for a rematch with the man who would go on to become UFC middleweight champion. Vettori got his rematch on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 263 and came up empty, with Adesanya taking a clear decision victory at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Vettori had only a few successful moments in the fight, scoring with a handful of takedowns, but Adesanya showcased improved grappling skills as he escaped back to his feet every time, including spinning out of a rear-naked choke attempt to end up in top position. Outside of those fleeting moments for Vettori, the fight was all Adesanya as he worked Vettori over with a steady diet of leg kicks.
Those leg kicks took the explosiveness out of Vettori's takedown attempts, leaving him to spend much of the championship rounds leaning forward, clinging to Adesanya's legs while not being able to put the fight back on the ground. This drew taunts from Adesanya and boos from the crowd.
Even with the fight clearly having gone Adesanya's way, after the final horn, the two briefly exchanged words, with Vettori claiming to have done enough to win the fight.
In the end, Adesanya took every round on all three official scorecards, winning by scores of 50-45 across the board. Adesanya has now successfully defended the 185-pound championship three times and rebounded from a loss in his previous fight, an attempt to become a two-division champion when he went to light heavyweight to face 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz.
After his victory, Adesanya called for a rematch with Robert Whittaker, the man he defeated to become champion.
"Whittaker, my arch-nemesis, Bobby," Adesanya said. "I don't know what the f--- is gonna happen with COVID. We need to run that back in Auckland, in my territory this time. I'll tell you what it is, I get to decide, you don't get to decide, because why? I'm the motherf---ing king, bitch."
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Elsewhere on the card, Brandon Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history with a third-round submission of Deiveson Figueiredo in the co-main event. Seven months after the two battled to a draw, Moreno looked vastly improved as he took the fight to the champ and eventually secured back position for the rear-naked choke. The new champion was at a loss for words as the referee pulled him off Figueiredo and prepared to have the belt put around his waist.
Plus, Nate Diaz was thoroughly dominated for 24 minutes of his five-round affair with Leon Edwards. But just as things were winding down, Diaz caught Edwards clean with a combination that saw Edwards visibly wobble. The top contender at welterweight managed to survive the final 60 seconds en route to the decision victory, but the moment certainly elevated the already beloved figure in Diaz even more in fans' eyes.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 263 below.
UFC 263 card and results
- Israel Adesanya (c) def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Brandon Moreno (c) def. Deiveson Figueiredo via third-round submission (rear naked choke)
- Leon Edwards def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
- Belal Muhammad def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Paul Craig def. Jamahal Hill via first-round TKO (arm injury)
- Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Eryk Anders def. Darren Stewart via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
- Lauren Murphy def. Joanne Calderwood via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Movsar Evloev def. Hakeem Dawodu via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Pannie Kianzad def. Alexis Davis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Terrance McKinney def. Matt Frevola via first-round TKO (punches)
- Steven Peterson def. Chase Hooper via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Fares Ziam def. Luigi Vendramini via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Carlos Felipe def. Jake Collier via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)