The Pro Take: Israel Adesanya Dominates in Title Defense at UFC 263

Israel Adesanya UFC 263
Israel Adesanya, UFC 263 Ceremonial Weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Many fight fans were pining for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 to be next up for “The Last Style Bender.” Instead the UFC 263 contracts were signed for Adesanya vs. Vettori 2. Sometimes a close fight (ending in a split decision favoring Israel) can build a perfect storm for a rematch, and that is exactly what we got at UFC 263.

As fight week went on, the bad blood between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori simmered to a boil. The champ and “The Italian Dream” clearly did not like one another.

Marvin Vettori not only had revenge on his mind in trying to earn a win over repeat rival Israel, but also saw an opportunity to become the first ever Italian UFC champion.

Israel Adesanya had seen his pursuit of Champ Champ status came up fruitless, losing to the current light heavyweight champion Jan Błachowicz a few months back. But at UFC  263, Adesanya had no time to dwell on the loss. Instead, he needed to show Vettori that he had made the necessary adjustments, what with a blueprint for success being laid out in that 205lb fight.

While Vettori had success with a takedown in the opening round, at UFC 263 Israel Adesanya once again earned a tactical victory over the Italian. Israel showcased the skills he had acquired since the two last met back in 2018. Adesanya took his foe deep into the fifth round, earning the unanimous decision and adding another title defense to his ever-growing legacy as the UFC middleweight champion.


Here are the pros’ reactions to the UFC 263 main event inside a jam-packed arena in Glendale, Arizona.


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