Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight foes Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori will rematch TONIGHT (Sat., June 12, 2021) at UFC 263 inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
It’s been little more than three years since Adesanya scored a hard-fought sophomore UFC victory over Vettori (watch it), but the results and improvement from each man since that bout are undeniable. Adesanya quickly surged into the title picture to viciously capture the crown, only losing in his bold attempt to rapidly achieve double-champ status. Vettori’s own ascent has been slower, sure, but the Italian nevertheless managed a breakout year in 2020, and all the while, his focus has been on tracking down “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 Finale), Derek Brunson (UFC 230), Anderson Silva (UFC 234)
Key Losses: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 259)
Keys to Victory: Adesanya is one of the most precise strikers on the roster. Lining up his opponents with fakes and feints, Adesanya always gets a thorough read before beginning to really break them down.
Since these two have fought before, we can expect each man to attempt to build on their successes from the first bout. For Adesanya, he did some very nice work timing counter shots and ripping kicks at range, whereas Vettori was able to pressure his foe and find strong moments in the wrestling exchanges.
In this second showdown, Adesanya should look to really utilize his right leg. He typically likes to destabilize his foe’s lead leg with that weapon, but since Vettori is a Southpaw, Adesanya would be better off sticking his front kick up the middle and pairing that strike off with round kicks to the body and head. Vettori doesn’t kick all that often, so expanding upon his range advantage could really benefit “Stylebender.”
In addition, I’d like to see Adesanya very aware of his cage position. Vettori is likely going to try to bully him, and that could be a real threat along the fence. Since Adesanya knows the left is coming, the champion would likely do well in the pocket anyway, so standing his ground more often rather than retreating near the fence may be necessary.
Key Wins: 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)
Keys to Victory: Vettori does not do anything all that complicated, but he has really refined his overall game. His one-two combination lands with a considerable snap, he can tie combinations of punches and kicks together well, and the Italian can grapple with the best of the division.
Vettori obviously has to compete with Adesanya on the feet while both men are standing, but ultimately it does seem like the line for success or failure hinges upon his ability to score at least some takedowns. If there was one thing to be learned from the Blachowicz bout for Vettori, it’s that he’s likely better off trying to double leg Adesanya in the open, where he’s unable to use the fence as a third leg with which to balance.
Another tactic Blachowicz used well was to close the distance both with clinch strikes and takedown attempts. If Adesanya is expected a shot at his waist but is instead wrapped up and kneed, that really helps keep Vettori unpredictable. In general, Vettori’s ability to mix punches, kicks, and knees into longer combinations was important in the first bout, and that fact remains unchanged.
The right mix of strikes and takedowns can disrupt even the most elite striker.
Bad blood will be settled with a title on the line.
Adesanya is the undisputed king of the Middleweight division. Four successful title fights have seen him hand many of the division’s best losses already, building him a well-earned reputation as a dominant champion. Extended displays of such dominance helps grow stars, and even with his loss to Blachowicz, it’s pretty undeniable that Adesanya’s star is on the rise.
Shutting up Vettori re-establishes his control of the division and puts Adesanya fully back on the correct path.
As for “The Italian Dream,” few pegged him as the man to dethrone Adesanya. This is his moment to prove that all his arguments for a rematch were justified, that he’s genuinely the best Middleweight alive. Becoming Italy’s first champion would be a hugely historic moment for both the man and promotion, and it surely sets the scene for a high stakes trilogy battle down the road.
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.
At UFC 263, Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori will battle for 185-pound gold. Which athlete has his hand raised?