Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya dominated Marvin Vettori on the feet tonight at UFC 263 with his elite-level striking and also staved off his opponent’s threat on the mat to ensure there was absolutely no doubt about the unanimous decision winner at the end of the 25-minute encounter.
The main event middleweight title fight is underway in Arizona!
Adesanya faking kicks and knees to start, then does land a calf kick. Now a front kick to the body from him. Another calf kick and then again.
Vettori firmly taking the center of the Octagon. He looks to let his hands go, but Adesanya moves out of the way of those.
Another leg kick for Adesanya and Vettori lands his first one. Now a body kick for Adesanya. He lands another calf kick, but Vettori catches that one and brings Adesanya to the mat from it.
Vettori patient here as he gradually moves Adesanya to the mat. Adesanya scrambles his way upright, but Vettori stays clinched up. Adesanya able to land a short elbow though and then gets free.
Back to the center of the Octagon now and Adesanya with a front kick to the body. Punch lands for Vettori as Adesanya was setting up a strike. Vettori pops out another couple of punches, but Adesanya’s head movement is on point.
Uppercut attempt from Adesanya. Vettori manages to land a punch. Good leg kick for Adesanya. Punch for Vettori. Adesanya unleashes a combination, landing punches and a leg kick.
Body punch from Vettori. Another leg kick from Adesanya. Good two-piece combo from Adesanya. He just misses with a kick upstairs.
Vettori barrels into a punch and Adesanya just sidesteps that effortlessly.
Missed leg kick from Adesanya. Uppercut from Adesanya as Vettori was also firing off a punch.
Another hard leg kick from Adesanya. Leg kick for Vettori now. Head kick attempt from Adesanya. Vettori trying to fire off punches, but Adesanya blasts him with counters.
Vettori fires off a couple of punches down the pipe that land. Inside leg kick from Adesanya. Vettori catches Adesanya stepping forward with a punch.
THe leg kick lands again for Adesanya. Vettori in on a takedown attempt against the cage. Adesanya punishing him with a series of hard elbows to the head.
Vettori tries to pull Adesanya down, but it doesn’t pay of and he gives up on the attempt.
Back in striking range Adesanya avoids Vettori’s punches. Back to the leg kick for Adesanya and then tries a head kick that doesn’t connect. Again a high kick from Adesanya.
Vettori pumps out the right hand. He lands a left and right, but without much power. Straight right connects for Adesanya. Now a leg kick again for him.
Head kick attempt again for Adesanya. Jab for Vettori. Stepping power leg kick from Adesanya after faking a knee.
Vettori tries to punch his way into range, but Adesanya moves away. Lots of movement from Adesanya against the cage to avoid more punches and then has to fend off a takedown attempt.
Vettori remaining clinched up here for now. Adesanya escapes to the center of the Octagon. A head kick attempt partially breaks through Vettori’s guard this time.
Overhand from Vettori. Adesanya looking to exchange late in the round and then sneaks in one final head kick attempt just before the horn.
Nice right hand from Adesanya on the counter. Vettori blasts into a takedown and gets the champ off-balance enough to keep pushing and secure this.
Good work for Vettori early in the round. Half-guard for Vettori as he lands a few light punches. Adesanya almost able to reverse, but Vettori adjusts and then takes his back.
Vettori in on a rear-naked choke attempt now and it looks like it could be tight, but then Adesanya does an excellent job of turning into it and escaping.
Adesanya opts to stay in the guard and land a few punches. He stands up and then drops down for more.
They now move back to the feet and unfortunately an accidental eye-poke from Adesanya forces a brief stoppage.
Back to it they go. Adesanya punches and then lands a heavy leg kick. He points at Vettori as if to say that one hurt.
Punch lands for Vettori. Low kick for Adesanya. Two glancing blows from Adesanya. Then the leg kick again and Vettori is trying to disguise it, but that’s starting to buckle his leg a bit.
Question mark kick attempt from Adesanya. Vettori marches forward with punches and does connect with a right hand.
Another leg kick for Adesanya. Spinning kick attempt from Adesanya just misses. Body kick from Vettori. A low leg kick from Adesanya knocks Vettori off-balance to the mat. As he stands back up he gets caught with a punch too.
Vettori shakes his head as Adesanya taunts him. Vettori drags his leg away from another kick. Front kick from Adesanya lands to the groin and forces another stoppage in the final seconds of the round.
Body punch from Vettori. Front kick to the body from Adesanya. He goes to the leg again. Now a flurry of punches from the champion.
Right hand lands for Adesanya as Vettori presses forward aggressively. Head kick attempt from Adesanya. Now the leg kick again. Grazing right hand from Vettori.
Punches to the head and then a leg kick from Adesanya. Vettori in on a double leg against the cage, trying to lock his hands. Adesanya landing a few elbows to the head.
Vettori able to bring Adesanya down, but credit to the champion for quickly transitioning on top and then getting back to his feet. Very good work from him.
Vettori punches his way back into the clinch against the cage. This time Adesanya is able to move away though. He flicks out a head kick attempt and then a leg kick on the other side.
Jab for Vettori. Left hand for Adesanya, but Vettori counters with a leg kick. Adesanya misses a couple of punches and Vettori lands a counter.
One-two for Adesanya and then a leg kick. Front kick to the body from him. Inside leg kick from Adesanya.
Solid right hand from Adesanya and then the latest leg kick lands. Reaching punches from Vettori to get into range, but doesn’t do anything with it after that.
Leg kick for Adesanya. Vettori darts forward and eats a punch. Hard kick for Adesanya. Single leg attempt from Vettori and drives into the cage.
Adesanya remaining upright for now. 20 seconds of the round remaining as Adesanya looks to control Vettori’s arm. Adesanya defending the takedown while cupping an ear to the audience, showboating, and then cheekily grabs at his opponent’s rear-end to taunt him.
Head kick attempt from Adesanya comes crashing off the guard. As he looks to fire off more strikes Vettori drives into a takedown against the cage.
Adesanya defending for now and lands some light open-hands to the ear. He does good work preventing the takedown and then fires off punches as they separate.
Head kick attempt partially gets through for the champ. Missed jab s from Vettori. Grazing right hand from Adesanya and then a spinning attempt misses.
Calf kick for Adesanya. Right hand and another leg kick for him. Adesanya with a flurry of punches that don’t find a home.
Adesanya thinks about a superman punch against the cage, but then has to duck under a punch.
Vettori in on another late takedown attempt and Adesanya has to post on one arm and gets back up. Vettori drags him down, but again Adesanya pops right back up.
Vettori still clinched up against the cage though with just a minute of the fight remaining. He needs to manufacture a big finish here.
It won’t come from the clinch though as the ref separates them. Leg kick for Adesanya. he lands a right hand. Now head kick attempt comes blasting off the guard.
Front kick to the body for Adesanya. Now a right hand. Vettori attempts a late takedown, but stalls against the cage. Vettori with a few light punches to the leg and Adesanya pretends to be hurt to mock his rival.
Clinical display of striking from Adesanya then and also showed a couple of nice moves on the mat to earn a clean sweep on the scorecards (50-45 x3).
So, Adesanya showcased his technical flare on the feet tonight, but perhaps most pleasing was the fact that he actually showed some flashes of ground skills as he transitioned on top against the gritty Vettori, and that will only give the rest of the division more sleepless nights as ‘The Last Stylebender’s dominant reign continues at 185lbs.