UFC 263 mixed martial arts tournament concluded in Glendale, Arizona, USA. The main event of the show was the middleweight title fight. Belt holder Israel Adesanya fought old acquaintance Marvin Vettori. The two had fought in the past in April 2018. Then Adesanya won by split decision.
That fight, until recently, was considered the toughest of Israel’s UFC career. But in March 2021, the New Zealander of Nigerian descent suffered his first career loss. In pursuit of a title in the featherweight division, he climbed to the featherweight division and lost to champion Jan Blachowicz. So one wondered if the journey through the divisions would play a cruel joke on Adesanya. And in principle, one wondered if he had recovered psychologically from the debacle.
As for Vettori, he approached the fight on a five-fight winning streak. His last opponent was Adesanya. So he hasn’t lost in 26 months. On the eve of the show Marvin was trying to show his self-confidence and he was warming up interest in the fight with aggression towards his opponent.
The second five minutes of the fight
The second five minutes of the fight went very badly for Vettori. Yes, he landed a few jabs. But that was nothing compared to what Adesanya was doing. Yisrael not only defended well against take-downs, but he was also a great counter puncher, turning on high kicks and generally delivering punches for all tastes. After such a bad stretch, Vettori was pumped up emotionally between rounds.
Here Vettori showed his defensive prowess by trying to grab Adesagna’s leg. The latter finally let the Italian get up and continued to fight at a comfortable position. In the course of the fight Israel accidentally poked his opponent in the eye with a finger. Marvin took a short pause, but did not take advantage of the full-fledged break.
After the resumption of the confrontation, the champion began to break down his opponent’s defense. It was either the eye injury or Vettori getting tired in the ground, but Adesanya was really dominant. He combined low kicks with high kicks, hit hard uppercuts and straight punches. The end of the round was blurred with another unpleasant episode. Yisrael, taking a mid-kick, hit the Italian just below the belt. He was recovering again and after the bout resumed, the horn sounded for the break.
In the fourth round, Vettori landed a lot of punches. Adesanya again combined low-kick and high-kick. The condition of Marvin’s leg was unclear, but by the middle of the fight he had already taken over 20 hard punches to the calf muscle area. Maybe that’s what slowed down the Italian in the fourth segment. He wasn’t as aggressive.
For the most part, Marvin clamped his opponent at the net trying to take a touchdown. But if he did, Adesanya would quickly get up and then smash his opponent again. At the end of the fourth round, the challenger again pinned his opponent at the net, in a clinch, he tried to find a moment to take a touchdown, and in the meantime Israel did not do a very nice thing in mockery, slapping his opponent on the fifth point.
In the fifth round, Vettori finally got down. His straightforward and monotonous attempts at a takedown infuriated the audience. Adesanya, on the other hand, realizing he had the upper hand, was getting cocky. Israel openly mocked and taunted his opponent.
At one point he grabbed his eye, pretending that Vettori had poked him with his finger. But after a few seconds he laughed and let it be known that he was joking. Already in the final seconds, when a desperate Marvin beat his hands just above Adesanya’s knee, the latter mockingly depicted the anguish of suffering on his face, simply mocking his opponent. Then the siren sounded.
All the judges unanimously let Israel win with a huge score – 50:45, 50:45, 50:45. It should be noted that after announcing the verdict, Adesanya still gave credit to his opponent and shook his hand. However the self-confidence and cockiness of the champion didn’t disappear. After the fight he said that he was ready to meet Robert Whittaker.