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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

UFC 263 — Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori: 5 largest storylines to look at on a loaded combat card

A pair of title bouts sit atop the marquee together with the return of a fan favourite as UFC 263 invades Gila Area in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday in a star-studded pay-per-view card. 

Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya returns from his first professional defeat suffered in a 205-pound title problem when he welcomes rising contender Marvin Vettori in a rematch of their cut up determination in 2018. 

Talking of rematches, flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno within the co-main occasion recent off their five-round thriller in December. The enigmatic Nate Diaz can be again in a rescheduled tilt towards welterweight contender Leon Edwards. 

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the most important storylines coming into this weekend. 

1. Was Israel Adesanya’s hiccup sufficient to derail momentum? 

It appears virtually unfair to guage this carefully, particularly contemplating Adesanya, because the defending middleweight champion, tried such a “dare to be nice” endeavor that sometimes deserves acclaim when he misplaced an in depth determination to 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz in March. However Adesanya’s hype, on the time, was just too massive to miss the potential fallout. Not solely was “The Final Stylebender” unbeaten and a betting favourite towards Blachowicz, there appeared limitless potential to his ceiling. Had Adesanya gained, there was already speak rather than him probably going on to heavyweight and persevering with his callout of Jon Jones. However Blachowicz used his dimension, smarts and wrestling to deal with him, and now Adesanya returns to 185 kilos to combat a really related model in Vettori. The a lot nearer betting odds for a typical Adesanya combat counsel this ought to be something however a simple process. However what occurs ought to the 31-year-old champion lose his second straight combat, his title belt and a season of rarefied momentum that left many consultants questioning if the dynamic striker was unbeatable? Positive, Adesanya talks a fantastic sport and all the time seems cool below strain, however he brings with him an unlimited quantity of strain into Saturday’s rematch. 

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2. Marvin Vettori has some sneaky star potential

They are saying timing is all the things in life and that is still no completely different because it pertains to climbing the political spectrum of UFC’s title rankings. With 5 straight wins since his shut loss to Adesanya of their first assembly, Vettori is peaking in the intervening time and really a lot deserving of a spot within the total title image. However ought to which have been sufficient to leapfrog former champion Robert Whittaker in claiming subsequent to face Adesanya, particularly given how large a rematch between these two Oceanic stars might be for Australia and New Zealand? It is an attention-grabbing debate. However nonetheless Vettori bought up to now, it is secure to say he is each a dwell canine on this title rematch at UFC 263 and the precise sort of fighter UFC prefers giving a big push to. The 27-year-old native of Italy fights like an outright savage and talks a reasonably good sport to again it up, which have each been traits that UFC president Dana White has rewarded. Vettori, along with his strain model and robust floor sport, additionally hails from a rustic and total area in Europe the place UFC has but to plant its flag within the type of imprinting method that solely a local champion can produce. Add in the truth that White just lately revealed how Vettori was a favourite of Lorenzo Fertitta, the previous UFC co-owner who nonetheless seems to have a considerable amount of affect over the game, and it is clear the promotion is keen to present him each likelihood to succeed. 

3. Saving males’s flyweight continues to pay dividends

If it wasn’t for an opportunistic Henry Cejudo preserving the long-term well being of the 125-pound division by defeating inaugural champion (but perennially below appreciated) Demetrious Johnson, UFC followers would possible be with out such a assured thrill-fest on this weekend’s co-main occasion. The clearing of the deck at flyweight following Cejudo’s title vacating and shock retirement opened the door for a brand new technology of go-for-broke fighters led by the equally ruthless and thrilling Figueiredo. However despite the fact that the native of Brazil went on to writer a scintillating fighter of the yr marketing campaign in 2020 by commandeering the flyweight title and making a splash all through 4 appearances, Figueiredo could not get utterly over the hump final December. After getting docked a degree for a low blow in Spherical 3, Figueiredo was compelled to accept a majority draw towards a decided Moreno in a combat that might’ve been voted because the yr’s greatest had it not been for an different worldly Weili Zhang-Joanna Jedrzejczyk combat. Moreno’s capacity to not take a step again in his pursuit of Figueiredo was synonymous for the division proper now and awarded him a rematch. And no matter who comes out on prime, the division seems properly stocked transferring ahead with the likes of Askar Askarov, Alexandre Pantoja, Brandon Royval and Kai Kara France ready within the wings. 

4. Arduous to think about Leon Edwards having any worse luck

Almost two years in the past, Edwards secured a win over former light-weight champion Rafael dos Anjos, which formally introduced him as a future title contender to look at within the 170-pound division. Sadly for the 29-year-old native of Jamaica, virtually nothing has gone proper since then. Edwards signed a brand new multi-fight take care of UFC in early 2020 however by no means bought an opportunity to interrupt by to safe a title shot after all the things from the pandemic to Khamzat Chimaev’s unlucky well being considerations derailed a possible return. Alongside the best way, Edwards was criticized by even UFC brass for his lack of selling capacity. Lastly, following a 425-day layoff, Edwards agreed to face Belal Muhammad in March till an unintentional eye poke dominated the bout a no contest. Even Edwards’ shock return this weekend towards Nate Diaz of all names wanted to be rescheduled by one other month resulting from a Diaz damage. Edwards, who hasn’t misplaced since a 2015 determination towards present champion Kamaru Usman, possible secures that long-lost title shot deserving of a fighter at present on an eight-fight win streak ought to he defeat Diaz. The oddsmakers, in truth, consider he’ll by putting in Edwards as almost a 6-1 betting favourite. However will that be sufficient to interrupt this present streak of unhealthy luck that additionally included a backstage assault by the hands of Jorge Masvidal in 2019? Solely time will inform contained in the Octagon on this uncommon five-round non-title bout, offered Edwards can really get there. 

5. Nate Diaz seems like an afterthought

Given how beloved the native of Stockton, California, has turn out to be with followers and the way underutilized his model seems to have been by UFC brass (notably throughout the three years he took off after a pair of star-making fights towards Conor McGregor), it is onerous to essentially come to grips with what Diaz’s return actually means this time. Unable to get his a lot most well-liked high-profile rematches towards McGregor or Masvidal, Diaz as an alternative shocked nearly everybody by agreeing to combat Edwards. Though the reserving may be checked out as an enormous threat price taking since an upset win may make Diaz a darkhorse welterweight title candidate given his star energy, Edwards is an opponent who is just powerful to look good towards and would not carry the requisite fanfare with him to make it price it. The play seems to be a bit determined for the 36-year-old Diaz, who would not be himself with out making mercurial strikes. Diaz has lengthy been vulnerable to inactivity and battle with UFC administration over purses and opponents. Whereas simply having Diaz again seems like a superb factor for followers, his rescheduling onto UFC 263 considerably buries his influence on the occasion hidden behind a pair of title fights. The everyday buzz surrounding a Diaz return simply would not appear to be there this time and a loss, which most predict, feels prefer it may ship him additional away from ever capitalizing on all the momentum that was misplaced by being so inactive after the McGregor fights. Diaz is perhaps again however only a few comparatively appear to care. Sure, we’re shocked, motherf—ers. 

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