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BREAKING - Adesanya retains against Vettori, Moreno submits Figueiredo for title

 


Israel Adesanya put together a striking clinic and used phenomenal

takedown defense to retain his middleweight championship with a unanimous decision victory over rival Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 on Saturday.

In their first meeting three years ago, Adesanya defeated Vettori by split decision and his opponent claimed that he won the fight. In the rematch, the result was far more definitive; Adesanya showed off his improvement in defending takedowns while also carving up his opponent with pinpoint striking.

It was a relatively easy night at the office for the champion, who made it a point to dig leg kicks into his opponent in the early rounds. Vettori was able to secure a takedown but couldn't get in any offense as Adesanya managed to get to his feet. The Italian pressured and shot for takedowns often but Adesanya continued to shred him with crisp combinations and leg kicks as he stuffed a majority of the attempts.

There was one instance of drama in the third round when Vettori secured a takedown, took the champion's back and threatened a rear-naked choke. But Adesanya made a swift escape and went right back to work as his challenger appeared to be completely deflated.

This was yet another strong performance by the champion, who is beginning to run out of opponents in the division. He's targeting a rematch with Robert Whittaker next, but one has to wonder if he'll make another trip up to 205 pounds after suffering his only career loss to Jan Blachowicz in a bid for the light heavyweight championship in March.

Elsewhere on the card, Brandon Moreno shocked the MMA world with a third-round submission of Deiveson Figueiredo to become the UFC flyweight champion.

Moreno turned in a dominating performance. He was sharp and active from the start, combining slick striking with takedowns to keep Figueiredo off-balance. After taking control early, Moreno scored a takedown in the third, took Figueiredo's back and sunk in a rear-naked choke to get the submission. Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion in the UFC.

Leon Edwards had to survive a late scare in the final round against Nate Diaz to secure a unanimous decision. Edwards mixed up striking with takedowns and Diaz was unable to get anything off for the first 24 minutes. But Diaz nearly finished Edwards in the 25th minute with a hard right hand that badly hurt the Brit. Diaz couldn't get the knockout, but he certainly kept his stock high with the late theatrics.

Result: Too easy for Adesanya, who makes a clean sweep of the scorecards. In his postfight interview, he welcomed the challenge of Robert Whittaker. He hopes to have the fight in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.

Round 5 (1:16 a.m.): Adesanya feints and lands a head kick. Leg kick follows. Vettori shoots for a takedown. Nothing. They separate and Adesanya lands another head kick. Vettori tries another takedown. Nope. Negative. He’s just hanging on now. Referee breaks them up. Left hand by Adesanya. More leg kicks. Vettori shoots for a takedown. Fight ends and Adesanya laughs. 10-9, Adesanya (50-45, Adesanya)

Round 4 (1:09 a.m.): Izzy is tearing that leg up. Vettori is still coming for him but struggles to find anything. Vettori goes for a takedown. Finally gets him down but Adesanya sweeps immediately. Back to the feet and Izzy sinks another leg kick. Vettori lands a right hand and clinches. Izzy escapes. Man, he’s killing that leg. Two-punch combo ends with a leg kick from Adesanya. Vettori pushes forward and fires. Lands one out of six. Head kick by Adesanya. Vettori shoots for another takedown. Adesanya squeezes Vettori’s butt as the round comes to a close. Yup, he did that. 10-9, Adesanya (40-36, Adesanya)

Round 3 (1:02 a.m.): Vettori shoots for a takedown and gets it. Big confidence booster. Vettori in half guard. Vettori takes Adesanya’s back! He’s going for a choke! Izzy reverses and is on top! They scramble and get to their feet. Accidental eye poke by Adesanya causes a break in the action. Adesanya cracks Vettori with a huge uppercut and staggers him with a leg kick. Adesanya seems to be done fooling around. Right uppercut lands. Another leg kick. Vettori’s leg is in trouble. Vettori is burning out. Leg kick puts Vettori down. Izzy points at Vettori’s leg. Adesanya kicks Vettori in the nether regions right before the end of the round. 10-9, Adesanya (30-27, Adesanya)

Round 2 (12:56 a.m.): Round 2 begins. Adesanya lands another hard leg kick. Head kick by Adesanya. He’s piecing Vettori up. Adesanya with a counter right hand. Leg kicks. Vettori shoots for a takedown. Adesanya clubbing with elbows. Vettori can’t take him down. Head kick by Adesanya lands. Vettori just swinging at air. Right hand by Izzy. Another head kick. Izzy is killing Vettori’s leg. Vettori presses and goes for another takedown. Izzy with another series of elbows. They separate again. Adesanya barely misses a head kick. Lands a head kick to close the round. 10-9, Adesanya (20-18, Adesanya)

Round 1 (12:51 a.m.): Izzy with a leg kick. And another. And another. Vettori applying pressure but misses. Vettori lands some leg kicks. Body kick by Adesanya. Leg kick caught by Vettori and he takes Izzy down. Adesanya gets to his feet. Vettori still has a hold of Izzy. They separate. Izzy with another leg kick. Vettori misses a bunch of punches and Izzy rattles a quick combination. Adesanya with a head kick that’s partially blocked. Vettori comes forward but Adesanya is killing the leg. Combination by Izzy lands and ends with a head kick. Despite the takedown the striking was masterful from Adesanya. 10-9, Adesanya

12:25 a.m.: What a night! And we still have one more fight left as Israel Adesanya looks to defend the middleweight title against his rival Marvin Vettori.

Brandon Moreno dominates, submits Deiveson Figueiredo for flyweight title

Result (12:20 a.m.): An absolutely dominant performance by Brandon Moreno as he pulls off the upset and becomes the new UFC flyweight champion. He owned the fight from start to finish with crisp striking and takedowns. Figueiredo had no answers and the rear-naked choke punctuated a stellar outing by the new champion. Phenomenal.

Round 3 (12:16 a.m.): You have to wonder how much the weight cut has affected Figueiredo. Figueiredo lands a jab and a kick to the body. Moreno with a leg kick. Figueiredo just wings a big punch that Moreno sees coming. Moreno takes Figueiredo down and gets his back! Moreno going for a rear-naked choke! It’s getting deeper but Figueiredo breaks the hold. Moreno working to get the choke sunk in. Moreno sinks in the choke! Figueiredo taps! New champion!!!

Round 2 (12:13 a.m.): Moreno lands a hard jab but Figueiredo charges in and takes Moreno down. Figueiredo fishing for a guillotine. Moreno sweeps and they are to their feet. Moreno takes Figueiredo down. Not a lot happening on the ground at the moment. They briefly scramble and Moreno falls back into Figueiredo’s guard. Strong start by Moreno. 10-9, Moreno (20-18, Moreno)

Round 1 (12:06 a.m.): Moreno pumping the jab. Lands a leg kick. Figueiredo steps in with a knee. Moreno throws a three-punch combination. Figueiredo not doing much. Moreno very active. Moreno lands a body-head combination. Moreno drops Figueiredo and dives into his guard. Figueiredo sweeps and gets to his feet. Doesn’t seem to be damaged. Body kick by Moreno. Very strong opening round by the challenger. 10-9, Moreno

11:50 p.m.: Co-main event time. Deiveson Figueiredo defends his flyweight title in a rematch with Brandon Moreno. They last met in December and that fight ended in a majority draw. What happens tonight?

Leon Edwards survives late scare from Nate Diaz to win unanimous decision.

Result (11:46 p.m.): Whew. That was a close call for Edwards. The judges all scored it 49-46 for Edwards but Diaz certainly earned himself another big fight by nearly pulling off a massive upset in the final round. But, alas, it was Edwards' night and we'll see if that's enough to get him the title fight he's been looking for.

Round 5 (11:41 p.m.): Diaz runs right into a combination to open the fifth. Diaz pressing forward but can’t land anything of significance. Another left hand by Edwards lands. I want to say Diaz is getting beat up but he’s just chilling. Diaz lands a left hand and follows with a right that briefly stuns Edwards. Body kick from Edwards. Edwards with a three-punch combination and Diaz just moves forward. Diaz with a right hand that hurts Edwards bad!!!! Diaz pouring it on! Edwards is shook and Diaz is coming after him. Diaz unloading! Edwards in big trouble! Diaz slamming punches into Edwards! Edwards survives but oh, my goodness. 10-9, Diaz (49-46, Edwards)

Round 4 (11:35 p.m.): Edwards rams a knee into Diaz’s ribs. Diaz lands a right hand. Follows with a left but Edwards isn’t bothered and lands a leg kick. Edwards SMASHES Diaz with a left hand. Diaz wobbles and regains composure. Gives him a thumbs up. Another left hand by Edwards. Edwards with a trip and Diaz gives him props as he gets to his feet. Another left hand by Edwards. It’s becoming one-way traffic. Diaz lands a hard combination and clinches with him. Edwards turns him and misses a big elbow. Short left elbow by Edwards lands. More blood. Edwards slaps Diaz up with a left hook. Another round down, another round for Edwards. 10-9, Edwards (40-36, Edwards)

Round 3 (11:29 p.m.): Edwards cracks Diaz with a left hand. Edwards chewing at Diaz’s leg with kicks. Edwards takes Diaz down again off the clinch. Edwards shreds Diaz with an elbow. Diaz is leaking blood. Diaz has two nasty cuts. They stop the action because Diaz cup is hanging out. Action resumes and Diaz slaps away Edwards’ handshake. Edwards with another takedown. Blood is everywhere. Diaz gets to his feet and eats a spinning elbow from Edwards. Total domination from Edwards as the round comes to an end. 10-9, Edwards (30-27, Edwards)

Round 2 (11:23 p.m.): Both are trying to find their range. Edwards lands a left hand. They exchange right hands. Edwards lands a 1-2 combination. Edwards continues to land leg kicks. They clinch again. Edwards with a takedown and in half guard. Diaz threatens a heel hook but Edwards escapes. Hard leg kick clearly hurts Diaz. Diaz turns around and bends over in front of Edwards and turns back into him with a punch. Lots of mind games from Diaz. Diaz clinches with Edwards but eats a spinning elbow to end the round. 10-9, Edwards (20-18, Edwards)

Round 1 (11:17 p.m.): Loud chants for Diaz to start the fight. Diaz turns his back on Edwards, Edwards relaxes and Diaz rushes him. Nothing big lands. Leg kick by Edwards. Edwards chopping at the leg. Right hand lands by Edwards. Left hand lands by Edwards and another leg kick. Body shot from Diaz. Diaz lands a left hand. Throws his hands up to say "What’s up?" They clinch and Diaz rams a knee into Edwards' ribs. Edwards takes Diaz down and has his back. Edwards threatens a rear-naked choke. They get to their feet and Edwards lands one last calf kick to close the round. 10-9, Edwards.

11:03 p.m.: It's time for the return of Nate Diaz! It's been over 18 months since we last saw the fan-favorite and he'll return to the Octagon to face Leon Edwards in a five-round showdown with heavy championship implications.

Belal Muhammad stuffs multiple takedowns to upend Demian Maia

10:58 p.m.: Well, that wasn't a whole lot of fun. Maia attempted takedown after takedown — 20 of them, to be exact. And Muhammad stuffed takedown after takedown. That's really all that happened in three rounds. Nothing to write about. Muhammad wins with a strong performance. Remember the name, but you can forget about the fight.

10:32 p.m.: Now that we've gathered ourselves after being sickened to our stomachs, we have a welterweight battle between MMA O.G. Demian Maia and Belal Muhammad. Muhammad returns to action after going to a no-contest with Leon Edwards after an accidental eye poke, while the 43-year-old Maia returns for his first fight in over a year when he was stopped by Gilbert Burns.

Paul Craig grotesquely breaks Jamahal Hill's arm for a first-round finish

10:24 p.m.: Oh, my goodness. Paul Craig gets the first-round finish by grotesquely breaking Hill's arm in an armbar. But Hill didn't tap and Craig torqued on it more. Although it was clear that the arm was snapped, the referee allowed the fight to continue as Craig slammed fists into his opponent as Hill's arm flopped around. Finally, the fight was stopped but Hill's arm needs medical attention in a hurry.

10:13 p.m.: Paul Craig and Jamahal Hill are set to kick off the main card. Their staredown at the weigh-ins on Friday was intense. It's a battle of Hill's ferocious striking and Craig's exceptional grappling. Who will come out on top?

9:58 p.m.: Good luck to the rest of the card. Dober and Riddell was an absolute banger. Dober started off strong and rocked Riddell badly in the first round with a left hand. But Riddell gathered himself and outstruck his opponent in the second round. The third round saw Riddell begin to pull away and he punctuated the comeback by nearly finishing Dober in the final seconds. Riddell earned the victory and they will likely take home a nice bonus check.

9:36 p.m.: We're at our final prelim before the main card as Drew Dober is set to battle Brad Riddell in a lightweight clash. What have you missed? Not a whole lot. Lauren Murphy upended Joanne Calderwood by a narrow split decision that likely put her in position to challenge champion Valentina Shevchenko next.

Oh, and then there was this...

The debuting Terrance McKinney needed only seven seconds and two punches to stop Matt Frevola. That was impressive.

UFC 263 start time

  • Date: Saturday, June 12
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT
  • Main card (PPV): 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
  • Main event: 12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT

UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori takes place Saturday with the early prelims kicking the event off at 6 p.m. ET and the pay-per-view main card beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Adesanya and Vettori should enter the Octagon around 12:15 a.m. ET, depending on the length of the undercard bouts.

How to watch UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2

  • TV channels/live stream: ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+

The main card for UFC 263 is available in the U.S. on the ESPN+ subscription streaming service for a pay-per-view cost. That portion of the event begins at 10 p.m.

Earlier fights, however, are viewable live on ESPN, the WatchESPN app and, for the early prelims, on UFC Fight Pass.

In Canada, the main card pay-per-view is available on Bell, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel, Videotron, Telus, Eastlink, and UFC PPV on UFC Fight Pass.

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