Nigeria-born Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, is returning to the ring for the first time on Saturday when he battles Italian Marvin Vettori at the Gila River Arena at UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona.
Adesanya lost for the first time on March 7 when Jan Blachowicz beat him via unanimous decision, as he attempted to step up to the light heavyweight division.
Sunday’s event has special significance for African MMA fans, as Adesanya puts his UFC middleweight world championship on the line. Adesanya, 31, remains unbeaten at middleweight, as his defeat to Jan Blachowicz was in another weight division. The ‘Last Stylebender’ defeated Vettori in their first match via split decision in April 2018.
“I wanted to fight Rob [Robert Whittaker] after I saw him with Kelvin [Gastelum],” Adesanya said of why he agreed to another fight with Vettori. “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. He’s holding onto that loss better than his best wins. So yeah, I’m in his head rent-free.”
Vettori (17-4) has racked up five straight wins since that loss to Adesanya, with his last outing an impressive unanimous decision triumph over Kevin Holland in April.
Credit: Voice of Nigeria