Marvin Vettori will challenge Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title in the upcoming UFC 263 pay-per-view (PPV) main event a week from Sat. night (June 12, 2021) inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
He can thank Robert Whittaker for that.
“The Reaper” was unable to answer the call on short notice, forcing the promotion to default to Plan V, though nobody in the UFC front office was in any big hurry to hand out pink panties to “The Italian Dream.”
That’s according to Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman.
“This fight’s happening because of Israel, not because of Marvin and Marvin getting himself to a certain position,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “His last fight, I know that the people in charge, the people that push the buttons in the UFC were not happy with his last fight. And that’s how the way the UFC is. They don’t want to see someone just lie around and hug someone. They want to advance people that excite them and excite the crowd, and Marvin didn’t do that.”
Vettori (17-4-1), who turns 28 in September, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Kevin Holland on ABC last April, marking the eighth time “The Italian Dream” has gone to the judges’ scorecards in 10 trips to the Octagon.
“Nevertheless, another person, just like (Yoel) Romero, just because of the good grace of Israel, gets the pink panty night,” Bareman continued. “Look, there’s two panty nights in the UFC. One is red, and that’s Conor’s. And the other panty night is pink, and that’s Israel’s. And there’s two big paydays in this organization, and it’s one of those two guys. Red panty night and pink panty night.”
This will mark the first time fans have seen Adesanya (20-1) since he was defeated by light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. And no doubt Vettori, who took “The Last Stylebender” to the limit at UFC on FOX 29, is hoping to replicate the Pole’s performance.
“Marvin has taken Israel down before, and Israel clearly won that fight where Marvin took him down,” Bareman said. “Will Marvin be able to do the things that Jan did because we haven’t addressed them? Is Marvin as good as Jan, the light heavyweight champion of the world? It’s an interesting game of thought, because he’s from a very good team and a very good coach and some very good coaching staff and training partners. And we enjoy a good battle with those guys. So, we’re prepared and we’re looking forward to it.”
We’ll find out in less than two weeks.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 263: “Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.