This past Saturday at UFC 263, Israel Adesanya (21-1) returned to the middleweight division to defend his title. He defended his title against a familiar foe in The Italian Dream, Marvin Vettori (17-5-1). The two had previously fought in 2018.
In 2018 when the two fought, the fight was relatively close. It was evident, at least to me, that Adesanya won, but one judge gave the fight to Vettori. Since that moment, Vettori had been holding onto the fact that he could defeat the UFC‘s middleweight champion.
However, Saturday night was a much different fight. Vettori did some solid things here and there, but ultimately, it was all Adesanya at UFC 263. Adesanya controlled the range with his kicks and his defense was on point all night.
Here and there Vettori would land a shot, but nothing clean was landed all night. Adesanya did a fantastic job of using his slick striking and defense to fluster Vettori. In the end, all three judges gave every round to The Last Stylebender.
After the fight was over, Adesanya made it clear what’s next for him. Adesanya called out the former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (23-5). That is really the only fight to make in the middleweight division, now the question becomes timing.
When will the UFC make it happen?
After UFC 263 concluded, Dana White attended the post-fight press conference where he fielded questions. One of the questions he was asked was about when the rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker would take place.
White said that Adesanya was wanting to return in October which lines up with when Whittaker wants the fight. While nothing is confirmed, barring injuries, I think we should see the UFC book the rematch for the October or November PPV.
The rematch between these two is the fight to make. Whittaker’s only loss at 185 pounds was to Adesanya. Since that loss, Whittaker has gone 3-0 with wins over Kelvin Gastelum, Jared Cannonier, and Darren Till.
Whittaker should have had his rematch a long time ago. In reality, he should’ve been fighting Adesanya at UFC 263. However, he needed a little more time to prepare after just fighting a five-round main event in April. Now, the fight we wanted should be ours in the fall.