Israel Adesanya will be looking to defend his middleweight title against third-ranked contender Marvin Vettori on June 12 at UFC 263. The bout will serve as the headliner for the full capacity event, which will be held at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Israel Adesanya previously defeated Vettori in a closely contested split decision back in 2018. While the Italian will be looking to settle scores, 'The Last Stylebender' will look to defend his middleweight strap for the third time.
Adesanya is coming off a decision loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. The 31-year-old suffered the first professional loss of his MMA career at UFC 259 in a failed bid to become a two-division champion.
Prior to that, Israel Adesanya had won four straight title fights at 185-pounds, including a second-round TKO victory over Paulo Costa at UFC 253.
Israel Adesanya chose Marvin Vettori over Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker is riding an impressive three-fight winning streak and is currently ranked first in the middleweight division. Coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24, the Australian was expected to be the next candidate for a shot at the middleweight title.
While many fans were worried about 'The Reaper' being passed up for the title shot, Israel Adesanya explained his reasons for picking Vettori as his next opponent.
According to Israel Adesanya, while he was ready to put his title up for grabs in June, Whittaker was only ready to fight in September. Adesanya admitted that Robert Whittaker was his first pick but credited 'The Italian Dream' for stepping up to the occasion.
In a recent video on his own YouTube channel, the UFC middleweight champion said-
“Well, I wanted to fight Rob after I saw him with Kelvin. Marvin’s like, ‘I want to go in October.’ Rob’s like, ‘I want to go in September.’ I’m like, ‘Look, I’m going in June. Whoever wants it, step up.’ The Italian stepped up, so kudos to him. But yeah, we already know”.
Marvin Vettori will ride an impressive five-fight winning streak into his first championship fight, having suffered his last defeat against none other than Adesanya in 2018.
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