UFC 263 went down last night (Sat., June 12, 2021) from inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., with Middleweight kingpin, Israel Adesanya, retaining his belt after dominating Marvin Vettori for five rounds (see it again here). In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno submitted Deiveson Figueiredo to become the promotion’s latest Flyweight champion and first-ever Mexican-born UFC title holder (highlights).
Winner: Israel Adesanya
Who He Should Face Next: Robert Whittaker
Adesanya remained undefeated in the Middleweight division, retaining his title after dominating Vettori for five rounds to earn his third title defense. Up next for “The Last Stylebender” will be another rematch because he will more than likely take on former division king, Robert Whittaker. Adesanya knocked out “The Reaper” at UFC 243 to win the strap. Since then, Whittaker has worked his way back up to a rematch after defeating Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. All we have to do now is sit back and wait, though Adesanya is looking for a quick turnaround, possibly in October.
Winner: Brandon Moreno
Who He Should Face Next: Askar Askarov rematch
After earning a historic-making championship with to claim the 125-pound title, the work will get a bit harder for Moreno. His first challenge as champion will be a doozy because he will more than likely be defending against Askarov, who is undefeated at 14-0-1, including going 3-0-1 inside the Octagon. Moreno and Askarov initially threw down in Sept. 2019, fighting to a split draw after 15 minutes of back-and-forth action. That was Askarov’s UFC debut and has won three straight inside the Octagon against some very stiff competition since. That said, Moreno has already corrected one draw and he would be more than happy to do another.
Winner: Leon Edwards
Who He Should Face Next: Title shot ...
Dana White made it very clear during the post-fight press conference (see it here) that Colby Covington is still in line to rematch Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight title despite “Rocky’s” big win over Nate Diaz. While I would prefer to see Edwards face “The Nigerian Nightmare” next instead, it looks like the British brawler will have to wait a bit before he gets his overdue shot. And that’s just what he should do, wait. There is no sense in taking another fight in the interim because anything can happen and all of his hard work and win streak can go out the window in the blink of an eye. Just look at what happened last night, he was nearly knocked out in the final moments of the fight after dominating the previous 24 minutes.
Winner: Belal Muhammad
Who He Should Face Next: Li Jingliang
Muhammad picked up his fifth win in a row, putting on a great performance against Demian Maia. While “Remember the Name,” I’m sure, would love another go against Edwards after their first fight ended in a “No Contest,” that simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon. He should crack the Top 10 this week so a fight against Jingliang seems appropriate. “The Leech” got back on the winning track after scoring a big win over Santiago Ponzinibbio via first round knockout earlier this year. Ranked No. 10 at the moment, Li seems like a perfect opponent for Muhammad to try and get into the top of the rankings.
Winner: Paul Craig
Who He Should Fight Next: Volkan Oezdemir
Craig picked up his fourth win in last five contests by submitting Jamahal Hill last night in Arizona, breaking his arm in the process. “The Bear Jew” will climb a spot or two in the rankings, but he will probably not break into the Top 10 just yet. A win over Oezdemir (ranked No. 8) could be what puts him over the top. “No Time” was last seen losing to Jiri Prochazka in Oct. 2020, but he is 2-1 over his last three. If Craig can take Oezdemir out, it boost his stock, puts him in the Top 10 and sets him up for bigger and better fights moving forward.
For complete UFC 263 results and coverage click here.