clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UFC 263 start time, who is fighting tonight at ‘Adesanya vs Vettori 2’ in Arizona

New, comments

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later tonight (Sat., June 12, 2021) with its latest pay-per-view (PPV) offering. And it’s going to be a stacked night of fights because UFC 263 features not one, but two title fights. Headlining the card will be Israel Adesanya defending his Middleweight belt against Marvin Vettori. In the co-headlining act, Deiveson Figueiredo will once again defend his Flyweight strap against Brandon Moreno. In further action, Nate Diaz returns after an extended hiatus to take on Leon Edwards in a five-round Welterweight scrap.

LIVE! Watch UFC 268 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City with a compelling pair of world championship rematches on Sat., Nov. 6, 2021. Headlining UFC 268’s blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) will be Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as he looks to defend his title once again against arch enemy and No. 1-ranked contender, Colby Covington. The co-main event will see UFC women’s Strawweight queenpin, Rose Najamunas, aim to make it two in a row against former champion and No. 1-seeded contender, Zhang Weili.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

What’s Hot:

Other than Kelvin Gastelum — and, of course, Jan Blachowicz at Light Heavyweight — Vettori is the man who gave Adesanya his stiffest test to date. The two men went the distance in their first fight in April 2018 with “The Last Stylebender” walking away with a razor-thin split decision win. A few years later and the two find themselves hours away from trading punches once again, this time for all the marbles. Oh, and there is no love lost between the two because the hatred between both fighters has grown exponentially over the last two days, and it’s only added to the feud they’ve had for quite some time. But, the time for talking has come to an end and ... now it’s time to see what’s what.

Adesanya is coming off a failed attempt to claim the Light Heavyweight title against Blachowicz, but he still remains undefeated (20-0, 9-0 UFC) at 185 pounds. We’ve yet to see much of Izzy’s ground game, and I highly doubt we will see it here. His bread-and-butter is the striking department and the former kickboxer will get a stand up battle against Vettori. Has “The Italian Dream” improved since their first encounter? Sure! But, so has Adesanya. Plus, the Nigerian-born fighter has faced stiffer competition when compared to his counterpart, so there isn’t anything new that Vettori can throw at Adesanya that he hasn’t already seen before. Vettori does have a punchers chance and Adesanya has shown he can be rocked. At the end of the day, however, the champ will just be too good and too skilled to lose his title.

Figueiredo and Moreno provided fans with an instant classic in their first bout in Dec. 2020, fighting to a draw at UFC 256 after five rounds of action. The consensus was that Moreno had done enough to dethrone “Daico,” though the Brazilian bomber was quick to point out that he wasn’t at 100 percent, which he feels is the only reason Moreno even hung in there with him. But, now that they are set to run it back, each man will get to prove his worth. Moreno is out to once again show that he does belong in the big fights, while Figueiredo wants to prove he’s simply the better fighter by miles. While Figueiredo may have a bit more power in his hands, Moreno has shown he can hang with the best of them on the feet. I’m highly-intrigued by this rematch for several reasons, but more so to see if “Daico” does step it up a notch to prove the first fight was a fluke.

What’s Not:

It’s a great card, actually. So there isn’t much to complain about here!

Original Card Vs. Actual Card:

UFC 263 got an even bigger boost to complement is championship doubleheader after the Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards fight was yanked from UFC 262 and placed here. To make it better, the fight will be a five-rounder.

Injuries:

Karol Rosa was forced out of her fight against Sijara Eubanks because of an eye injury. Eubanks will now face Priscila Cachoeira on July 24, 2021. Frank Camacho was forced out of his fight against Matt Frevola after he was involved in a car accident days before the fight. In to take his place will be Terrance McKinney, who will be making his UFC debut.

New Blood:

As mentioned earlier, Terrance McKinney will get his opportunity to show off his stuff under the bright lights of UFC after accepting a late-replacement bout against Matt Frevola. Riding a three-fight win streak — all first round knockouts — McKinney has been fighting for Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) and other regional promotions trying to break through to the big leagues. Now that he is here he is ready to make the most of his opportunity against a five-fight UFC veteran. Furthermore, his fight will be just eight days removed from his last outing on June 4, 2021. What makes McKinney a great addition to UFC’s roster is his “go out and get it” attitude. Indeed, all of his 10 wins have come by way of stoppage, including six submissions and four knockouts.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

Drew Dober is looking to bounce back after having his three-fight win steak snapped at the hands of Islam Makhachev at UFC 259 a few months back. He will take on Brad Riddell, winner of six in a row, two inside the Octagon. Also, Eryk Anders makes his return to Light Heavyweight action to face off against Darren Stewart. The fight was an immediate rematch after their first fight in March 2021 ended in a “No Contest” because of illegal knees courtesy of Anders.

Joanne Calderwood was just months away from a shot at Valentina Shevchenko’s title before taking a fight against Jennifer Maia proved to be her downfall. After bouncing back with a win over Jessica Eye, she will now face longtime veteran, Lauren Murphy — winner of four straight — on the undercard. It’s a drastic fall for Calderwood, but if she can secure her second straight win she will put herself right back into the championship conversation.

One of the sleeper fights of the card is one between Movsar Evloev and Hakeem Dawodu. Evloev is the former M-1 Bantamweight champion, defending his title twice before making the move over to the Octagon. He has won his first four fights under the UFC banner, improving his mint record to 14-0. That said, Dawodu is going to have his hands full here. But Hakeem is more than up for the task because he is also on fire at the moment, winning five straight.

Chase Hopper looks to collect his second straight win when he battles Steven Patterson in Featherweight action. Hooper’s momentum was slowed down when he lost to Alex Caceres, but he bounced back nicely with a win over Peter Barrett. Also on the undercard, Alexis Davis will take part in her thirteenth UFC fight against Pannie Kianzad, winner of three in a row.

Opening up the event will be a hard-hitting Heavyweight brawl between Carlos Felipe and Jake Collier. Felipe has won two straight against Yorgan de Castro and Justin Tafa, while Collier has alternated wins and losses throughout his eight-fight career with the promotion. He is coming off a win over Gian Villante.

For more detailed insight of all the undercard action click here and here.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Nate Diaz can take a one, two or three year break, come off a loss and still get a big fight that puts him into title contention whenever he pleases. Those are the perks when you are a needle mover. But over his last three, he is just 1-2 and falling to a subpar 1-3 won’t look good on his resume. Then again, having a less-than stellar record has never interrupted Nate’s road because he still gets what he wants when he wants. Still, a big win here against Edwards gives him a shot at Kamaru Usman’s title — something I just can’t fathom, to be honest. A loss, meanwhile, could hurt his bottom line for when he does decide to return.

Interest Level: 9 out of 10

It’s one of the best cards UFC has put on this year, no doubt. We will get to see if Vettori has improved enough over the years to give Adesanya more than he can handle (again) and dethrone him from the top of the Middleweight mountain. Also, Figueiredo and Moreno will likely provide fight fans with another memorable brawl because even though the Flyweight’s don’t get a ton of love from the promotion, they always deliver as evidenced from their first bout.

And of course, the other main attraction is Diaz taking on Edwards. It’s been over 1.5 years since Diaz last competed, coming up short in his bid to win the “BMF” title at UFC 244 against Jorge Masvidal. But long breaks are nothing new for the Stockton slugger. And guess what? If he wins he will get a shot at the 170-pound strap, a division in which he isn’t ranked and has a career record of 3-2 in. Also, he is 1-2 and in his last three fights and is 4-5 in the last nine years and hasn’t done much to even come close to deserve a title shot. Meanwhile, Edwards is just barely getting into the championship conversation, and all he has done is win eight in a row and amass a career record of 10-2-1 inside the Octagon and lurked around the Top 5 forever. But that’s the MMA world we live in today in combat sports. Which begs the question: Why even have rankings? What does all of this even mean?

On to the fight itself. This has a win for Edwards written all over it. While Nate has shown to have punches in bunches, it won’t be enough to take out someone as crisp and technical like Edwards. Diaz’s best bet to win this fight is to take it to the ground, where he has the advantage. I just don’t see “Rocky” getting taken down too easily. Since it’s a five-round fight, that will give Edwards the time and opportunities to bust his foe up. And that is what I envision happening here. Nate — just like his older brother Nick — has shown that he gets cut open rather easily. If Edwards can get his rhythm going and find his range, I don’t see it going the distance.

Right before that fight, however, Belal Muhammad — who was hoping to score a rematch against Edwards — will face off against longtime veteran Demian Maia, who is still trucking along after a long career inside the Octagon. Maia hasn’t seen action in over a year, getting knocked out by Gilbert Burns in the very first round in March 2020. Prior to that, he collected three straight wins including a submission victory over Ben Askren. As for Muhammad, he is on a four fight win streak, though his last fight against Edwards was ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke.

Kicking off the main card will be an intriguing Light Heavyweight fight between Paul Craig and Jamahal Hill, two men who simply do not like each other. Craig is 3-0-1 in his last four fights, stopping Mauricio Rua in his last outing via strikes. Hill, meanwhile, is still undefeated at 8-0-1 and has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon. The “Contender Series” alum hopes to add to his momentum following an impressive technical knockout win over Ovince Saint Preux.

Enjoy the fights!

UFC 263 Full Fight Card:

UFC 263 PPV Main Event:

185 lbs.: UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori

UFC 263 PPV Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):

125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
170 lbs.: Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz
170 lbs.: Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad
205 lbs.: Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill

UFC 263 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):

155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Brad Riddell
205 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart
125 lbs.: Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy
145 lbs.: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Movsar Evloev

UFC 263 Early ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):

135 lbs.: Alexis Davis vs. Pannie Kianzad
155 lbs.: Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola Terrence McKinney
145 lbs.: Chase Hooper vs. Steven Peterson
155 lbs.: Luigi Vendramini vs. Fares Ziam
265 lbs.: Jake Collier vs. Carlos Felipe

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*

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.