Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori UFC Fight Targeted for June 12

Adam WellsApril 23, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria is interviewed after his UFC light heavyweight championship fight against Jan Blachowicz of Poland during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC is hoping to set up a fight between former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori for this summer. 

Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t ESPN's Ariel Helwani), UFC president Dana White said Vettori is the frontrunner to fight Adesanya at UFC 263 on June 12. 

Following his victory over Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday, Whittaker told reporters he would like a rematch with Adesanya. 

“I’ve played video games my entire life. I’m no stranger to trash talk,” Whittaker said. “Honestly, he gets to do it. He won the last fight between us, so I’ve guess it was coming, right? It’s just him being him, I guess.”

That comment came after Adesanya sent out this tweet:

Israel Adesanya @stylebender

Good job my son.

Adesanya defeated Whittaker by second-round knockout at UFC 243 in October 2019 to become the unified middleweight champion. 

Helwani noted that UFC was originally looking to book the rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker, but the June 12 turnaround time would be too quick for Whittaker. 

If UFC moves forward with Adesanya and Vettori, it will be a rematch of a close 2018 bout won by the Last Stylebender. Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Adesanya, while the third scored it 29-28 in favor of Vettori. 

Adesanya started his mixed martial arts career with 20 consecutive victories. He moved up to light-heavyweight for his most recent bout against Jan Błachowicz to fight for the 205-pound title at UFC 259. The New Zealand native lost by unanimous decision.