A Look Ahead To UFC 263

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 13: (L-R) Opponents Israel Adesanya of Nigeria and Marvin Vettori of Italy face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at the Gila Rivera Arena on April 13, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

With the dust now settled on last month’s latest instalment of the UFC numerical fight series, the focus shifts from 262 in May to 263 this weekend and once again, another stacked card has been crafted by Dana White.

UFC 263 Preview

As always, the UFC President has been toiling in the background, in a bid to secure another medley of octagon action and on the evidence of what is in store this Saturday, fight fans will certainly not be disappointed.

Topping the bill in Arizona, is one of two scheduled title bouts for the evening and with the Middleweight Championship up for grabs, it will be down to current king Israel Adesanya to stay upon his throne.

Israel Adesanya
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 03: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria celebrates victory over Derek Brunson of the United States in their middleweight bout during the UFC 230 event at Madison Square Garden on November 3, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

The Lagos born fighter has been pitted against Marvin Vettori and when you consider that the dominant force within the Middleweight division, is someone who possesses an overall 20-1 MMA record, it could be a rather short evening for the challenger.

While although Adesanya recently lost his perfect fight record within the sport, one must remember that the defeat came at Light Heavyweight and more importantly, it was at the hands of Jan Blachowicz.

In what was the 31-year-old’s first foray into a higher weight class, it was certainly not a tune up in terms of opponent and if you are going to challenge yourself in the octagon, you may as well make the challenge as difficult as possible.

That is exactly what a meeting with Blachowicz is and will always be and although the pride of Nigeria came up short in his bid to be a current two-weight champion, that does not mean he should be overlooked this weekend.

Because not only is he still the champion at Middleweight but he will undoubtedly have a point to prove and if you were to look at your betting odds calculator before the fight, the odds of Adesanya earning a 21st career win, would be somewhat short.

Which means if they are going to be short, then his opponent’s price within the MMA sportsbooks will be rather long by comparison and if we’re honest, this outing looks like nothing more than a nice payday for Vettori.

That’s not to do him too much of a disservice, it’s just that being ranked #3 within the Middleweight division is something that means rather little and only because, of the man who is currently sits at the top of the mountain. 

Vettori is certainly no slouch when it comes to the fight game and if he is to somehow come out on top then he is going to have to bring his a-game to the Gila River Arena in Glendale, as he looks to improve on his current MMA record of 17-4-1.

Of course, this is not the first time that these two fighters have met and although the stakes were not as high last time around, the Italian born Vettori may well feel that he has a score to settle this time.

That’s because when they were on the undercard for “UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje” three years ago, it was Adesanya who came out on top and after winning by a judges split decision, there is always going to be an element of contention behind it.

Contention that for the loser, then becomes a wrong that you will want to put right and that is exactly the mindset of the 27-year-old challenger. The question is whether or not that is the right mindset, to subsequently pull off an upset victory? 

Something that Brandon Moreno will also look to achieve in the Flyweight ranks and with the #1 ranked contender going up against current champion Deiveson Figueredo, sparks look set to fly within the cage.

UFC 256 Results - Best Fights of December
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 11: (L-R) Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil and Brandon Moreno of Mexico face off during the UFC 256 weigh-in at UFC APEX on December 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

For Moreno, he enters this title fight with an overall MMA record of 18-5-2 and the second of his career draws came up his last UFC outing. An outing, which saw him pitted against none other than Figueredo himself.

Back at December’s UFC 256, the champion was deducted a point after a groin strike to Moreno and this meant that once the judges’ scorecards were handed in, there was no difference between the two warriors.

Should Figueiredo have won the fight outright? Perhaps. However, the record books state that it was a draw at the end of last year and the only way to settle this ongoing score, is to return these two combatants to the octagon.

On any other night, this would be worthy of being the main event. Then again, it is extremely hard to remove Israel Adesanya from his top billing at present and that means the only thing better than one title fight on show, is to stack the card with a second to go alongside it.

Which means although there will be both winners and losers as the events of UFC 263 unfold, there is one thing for sure and that is no matter where fight fans are based around the world, they are going to be in for an incredible night’s action. 

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