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UFC 263 Results: Israel Adesanya Retains Title, Brandon Moreno Earns Historic Win

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 13, 2021

Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Israel Adesanya retained his UFC middleweight title after defeating Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision at UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona's Gila River Arena on Saturday.

UFC @ufc

The MW throne is ALLLLLL HIS 🏆 #ANDSTILL<br><br>[ @Stylebender | #UFC263 ] pic.twitter.com/jPW697gyD0

Adesanya won 50-45 on all three judges' scorecards. He received a brief scare when Vettori tried to apply a rear-naked choke in Round 3, but Adesanya escaped and otherwise dominated the fight for all five rounds.

UFC @ufc

Turned it AROUND 🔁🤯 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/rbaJo1gLmH

Adesanya had 96 significant strikes to Vettori's 58. Vettori did land four takedowns, however.

After the match, Adesanya stood alone atop the middleweight mountain once again, and it's clear that he's the king of the division. He said as much while making comments about top middleweight contender Robert Whittaker:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"I'm the motherf---ing king, b----."<br><br>—Israel Adesanya while talking about who he wants to fight next #UFC263 🎙 pic.twitter.com/ktGhlp6UdZ

Adesanya moved to 21-1 for his career. He's undefeated at middleweight.

The Adesanya-Vettori fight was a rematch of the champ's split-decision victory over Vettori in April 2018.

That marked the only time Adesanya hasn't won by knockout or unanimous decision at middleweight. His only professional loss was to Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight belt.

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The middleweight title fight was just one of five bouts on the main card and 14 overall (including preliminaries).

Here's a look at how the action-packed night went down, including recaps and highlights from the rest of the five-fight main card, which included the flyweight title changing hands.


Main Card

  • Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45
  • Brandon Moreno def. Deiveson Figueiredo via third-round submission, 2:26
  • Leon Edwards def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision, 49-46, 49-46, 49-46
  • Belal Muhammad def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28
  • Paul Craig def. Jamahal Hill via first-round TKO at 1:59

Prelims

  • Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
  • Eryk Anders def. Darren Stewart via unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-27, 29-27
  • Lauren Murphy def. Joanne Calderwood via split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
  • Movsar Evloev def. Hakeem Dawodu via unanimous decision, 29-27, 29-27, 29-27

Early Prelims

  • Pannie Kianzad def. Alexis Davis via unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28
  • Terrance McKinney def. Matt Frevola via first-round knockout at 0:07
  • Steven Peterson def. Chase Hooper via unanimous decision, 30-27,  30-27, 29-28
  • Fares Ziam def. Luigi Vendramini via majority decision, 29-28, 29-28, 28-28
  • Carlos Felipe def. James Collier via split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno

Brandon Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history after taking the flyweight title off Deiveson Figueiredo via a rear-naked choke in Round 3.

UFC @ufc

MEXICO, YOU HAVE A NEW CHAMPION 🇲🇽🏆 @TheAssassinBaby #ANDNEW #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/kPqwVgSmrS

ESPN MMA @espnmma

After submitting Deiveson Figueiredo to win the UFC flyweight title, @theassassinbaby was overcome by emotion 🥺 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/w5IcJlmZYz

ESPN MMA @espnmma

New UFC flyweight champion @theassassinbaby embraced his family after the #UFC263 win ❤️ pic.twitter.com/74fWBmuywr

Moreno controlled this fight all the way and set the tone in Round 1, per ESPN's Brett Okamoto:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

Masterful first round for Brandon Moreno. Dude is LOCKED in. Seeing everything out there. Figgy still as dangerous as they come but what a round for the challenger.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

The champ gets spun around by @theassassinbaby 😳 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/ug9Zn4TK7d

UFC @ufc

Quick and SHARP early on ⚡️#UFC263 pic.twitter.com/LFE7hZiWE7

He nearly doubled the former champion's significant strike total (47-24) before applying the rear-naked choke in Round 3 to become the flyweight titleholder, cementing a long, uphill road to the top, as ESPN's Marc Raimondi noted:

Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi

Brandon Moreno was the dead last seed on TUF. He was cut by the UFC. And now that man is holding UFC gold. What a story. What a fighter. Campeón! #UFC263

ESPN's Ariel Helwani and Raimondi explained what Moreno's win might mean for his future as a face for the company:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Moreno has a chance to be a huge draw for the UFC now. They’ve been looking for this Mexican champion for years and he’s got the personality and fighting style to get people behind him.<br><br>GET THIS MAN SOME LEGOS AND FUNKO DOLLS.

Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi

The Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona has come unglued. Brandon Moreno is an absolute star here. There’s no doubt he can headline events himself in Mexico and some U.S. cities. #UFC263

Moreno and Figueiredo fought to a majority draw in December 2020, but this time, the 27-year-old Mexican left no doubt as to who the best flyweight fighter is today.

Moreno is now 19-5 with two draws. Figueiredo is 20-2-1.


Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz

Leon Edwards dominated Nate Diaz for four-plus rounds but needed to survive a furious finish from the challenger en route to a unanimous-decision win.

Edwards won four of five rounds on all three judges' scorecards, but Diaz nearly took matters into his own hands:

ESPN MMA @espnmma

NATE DIAZ ALMOST PULLED THE UPSET IN THE FINAL ROUND 😳 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/n6oUBiO9ro

Diaz took a serious beating throughout the fight, withstanding some ferocious blows from the No. 3 welterweight contender.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Big left lands for @Leon_edwardsmma 😯<br><br>Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z pic.twitter.com/nKPg51m9xD

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Another huge left lands and @Leon_edwardsmma is cruising 😤<br><br>Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z pic.twitter.com/dQRLjWdUSw

ESPN MMA @espnmma

The elbows of @Leon_edwardsmma have opened Nate Diaz up 😬<br><br>Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z pic.twitter.com/7DEraqJyi6

Edwards also took down Diaz four times.

The 29-year-old is now 19-3 professionally with one no-contest lifetime. He has gone unbeaten in his last 10 fights.

The 36-year-old Diaz, who made his return to the Octagon after 19 months, fell to 20-13.


Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill

Paul Craig defeated Jamahal Hill by first-round TKO at 1:59 to extend his unbeaten streak to five matches.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Statement win by @PCraigmma and undeniable toughness by @JamahalH 😬 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/kEzHir0J1V

Hill suffered a gruesome arm injury following a Craig armbar but kept fighting anyway. The referee eventually stopped the fight after a few moments, and ESPN's Ariel Helwani pondered why the official didn't stop the fight sooner.

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Holy smokes, man.<br><br>Hill’s harm was broken for several seconds and JUST FLOPPING AROUND AS HE KEPT FIGHTING. WHAT!<br><br>C’mon ref. That was absurd.<br><br>(Great win for Craig.)

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

That’s one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen in a UFC fight. How in the world did the ref not notice Hill’s arm just flapping around?!<br><br>Massive respect for Hill for continuing to fight but geez laouise.

The Scottish fighter provided comments afterward:

MMAFighting.com @MMAFighting

Craig: You either tap, nap, or it snaps and tonight it snapped. One hell of an opponent there in the octagon, took shots after his arm was broke. That's tough #UFC263

Craig is now 15-4-1 as a professional. He's gone 4-0-1 in his last five fights.

Hill lost his first professional bout and now sits at 8-1 with one no-contest.


Belal Muhammad vs. Demian Maia

Belal Muhammad defeated Demian Maia via unanimous decision on the second fight of the main card.

Maia kept the pressure up in the early going and won that round according to two judges:

UFC @ufc

Relentless pressure from @DemianMaia early in RD 1 💥 #UFC263 pic.twitter.com/FgnT889cWA

UFC News @UFCNews

#UFC263 Official Result: Demian Maia Vs Belal Muhammad<br><br>See every judges scorecard from #UFC263 here ➡️: https://t.co/EYiJ6cdcxU pic.twitter.com/9fK4nxBxak

However, it was all Muhammad in the final two rounds. Per UFC Stats, he had 40 significant strikes to Muhammad's 19 over Rounds 2 and 3 as he cruised to the unanimous-decision win.

Muhammad also defended 20 of 21 takedowns, and boxing trainer/analyst Teddy Atlas shouted out the victor's efforts.

Teddy Atlas @TeddyAtlasReal

UFC, Floyd may be the defensive King in Boxing but when it comes to defending takedowns in MMA Belal Muhammad is the man and the Mountain. @bullyb170 #UFC263 #UFC

ESPN's Brett Okamoto tweeted about the 43-year-old Maia's UFC future afterward:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

Belal Muhammad defeats Demian Maia via unanimous decision. That was the final fight on Maia's UFC contract. He told me this week he was open to fighting again and re-signing with the UFC if he won. Seems likely that was the final time we'll see him in Octagon, but we'll see.

Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting gave credit to Muhammad's effort against the No. 9 welterweight contender:

SUNS IN 6 AL-SHATTI @shaunalshatti

It's impossible to look good against Demian Maia. We've known this forever. That was a damn good win for Belal Muhammad over a true legend of the game. #UFC263

Muhammad, 32, is now 19-3 with one no-contest. He's unbeaten in his last six fights. Maia is 28-11.

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