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Israel Adesanya retains title, Brandon Moreno wins gold at UFC 263


Image: UFC

Coming off his first MMA loss to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz earlier this year, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya returned to form in his home division, dispatching Marvin Vettori in the main event of Saturday's UFC 263.

Adesanya took a unanimous decision 50-45 on all three judges' scorecards.

Despite a few Vettori takedown attempts and a third round rear naked choke attempt, Adesanya was simply too quick and too evasive for Vettori, dodging his strikes and wearing him out early. He attacked Vettori's lead leg throughout the fight and made it look easy in attacking the Italian challenger with both punches and kicks without an ounce of lost confidence.

This was Adesanya's third title defense and a rematch from an April 2018 split decision Adesanya won. Adesanya's next encounter is likely to be another rematch against former champion Robert Whittaker who Adesanya defeated to unify the undisputed and interim titles in October 2019.

In the night's co-main event, Brandon Moreno pulled off a mild upset in defeating Deiveson Figueiredo for the UFC flyweight title, submitting him in the third round.

He was confident throughout the fight and got Figueiredo's back in the third, working for a rear naked choke on two occasions before finally sinking it in for the tap. With the win, Moreno becomes the company's first Mexican-born champion and the youngest champion in the company.

The two fought in December to a majority draw in one of the year's best fights. The loss is Figueiredo's first since March 2019 and his reign consisted of just one successful title defense while Moreno is unbeaten in his last seven.

Moreno capped the feel-good moment with a tremendous promo. He was cut from the UFC in late-2018 and brought back a year later.

Earlier on the show, Nate Diaz was unsuccessful in his return to UFC action, losing to Leon Edwards.