Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight enemies Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori face this EVENING (Saturday, June 12, 2021) at UFC 263 inside the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
It’s been just over three years since Adesanya scored a second fierce UFC victory over Vettori (look at it), but the results and improvement each man has made since that fight is undeniable. Adesanya quickly rose to the title photo to viciously grab the crown, losing only in his daring attempt to quickly achieve two-time champion status. Vettori’s own rise has been slower, of course, but the Italian managed a breakthrough year in 2020 nonetheless, and throughout that time he has been focused on finding “Stylebender” for a rematch.
Let’s take a closer look at their keys to victory:
Key wins: Robert Whittaker (UFC 243), Paulo Costa (UFC 253), Yoel Romero (UFC 248), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 236), Marvin Vettori (UFC on FOX 29). Brad Tavares (TUF 27 final), Derek Brunson (UFC 230), Anderson Silva (UFC 234)
Key losses: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 259)
The keys to victory: Adesanya is one of the more precise attackers on the list. Aligning his opponents with fakes and feints, Adesanya always gets a thorough read before he starts to really break them down.
Since these two have fought before, we can expect every man to try to build on their successes from the first fight. For Adesanya, he did a really good job timing counter hits and tearing kicks from a distance, while Vettori was able to put pressure on his foe and find some highlights in wrestling trades.
In this second confrontation, Adesanya should be looking to really use his right leg. He generally likes to destabilize his foe’s leading leg with this weapon, but since Vettori is a southpaw Adesanya had better stick his front kick to the middle and pair some round kicks to the body and head. Vettori doesn’t kick kicks often, so extending his reach advantage could really benefit “Stylebender”.
Also, I would like to see Adesanya very aware of his cage position. Vettori will probably try to intimidate him, and that could be a real threat along the fence. Since Adesanya knows the left is coming, the champion would probably do well in the pocket anyway, so it may be necessary to stand up more often rather than retreating near the fence.
Main victories: Jack Hermansson (UFC Vegas 16), Kevin Holland (UFC Vegas 23), Karl Roberson (UFC on ESPN 10), Cezar Ferreira (UFC Fight Night 155), Andrew Sanchez (UFC Fight Night 161)
Key losses: Israel Adesanya (UFC on FOX 29), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC 207)
The keys to victory: Vettori doesn’t do anything that complicated, but he’s really honed his overall game. His one-two combination lands with a considerable snap, he can tie punch and kick combinations well, and the Italian can fight with the best in the division.
Vettori obviously has to compete with Adesanya on his feet while both men are standing, but ultimately it seems the line of success or failure depends on his ability to score at least a few eliminations. If there was one thing to learn from Blachowicz’s fight for Vettori, it’s that he’s probably better off trying to overtake Adesanya in the open air, where he’s unable to use the fence as a third leg with which to balance.
Another tactic Blachowicz used well was to reduce the distance with both melee strikes and withdrawal attempts. If Adesanya should be hit in the waist but is instead wrapped up and kneeling, it really helps to keep Vettori unpredictable. In general, Vettori’s ability to mix punches, kicks, and knees in longer combinations was important in the first fight, and that fact remains unchanged.
The right mix of strikes and outs can confuse even the most elite attacker.
Bad blood will be settled with an in-game title.
Adesanya is the undisputed king of the middleweight division. Four successful title fights have already seen him claim many of the best defeats in the division, earning him a well-deserved reputation as a dominant champion. Prolonged displays of such dominance help stars to grow, and even with her loss to Blachowicz, it’s pretty undeniable that the Adesanya star is on the rise.
Vettori’s shutdown reestablishes his control of the division and puts Adesanya completely back on track.
As for “The Italian Dream”, few have identified him as the man to dethrone Adesanya. Now is the time for him to prove that all of his arguments for a rematch were justified, that he truly is the best middleweight alive. Becoming the first Italian champion would be an extremely historic moment for the man and the promotion, and it surely sets the stage for a high-stakes trilogy battle on the road.
remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 fight card here, starting from the beginning ESPN + Online ‘preliminary’ matches, which are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining balance under the card on ESPN /ESPN + 8 p.m. ET, prior to the main PPV card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN + PPV.
For the latest and greatest news and ratings from UFC 263: “Adesanya vs. Vettori 2,” be sure to check out our full event archive. here.
At UFC 263, Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori will fight for the 185-pound gold. Which athlete has a raised hand?