Event evening alert! UFC 263 presents a fire card this Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona (United States), with three highly anticipated fights (live on RMC Sport 2 from 4 a.m. on the night of Saturday to Sunday) . RMC Sport explains why this evening of the great MMA organization is a must.
Adesanya comes back down to defend her crown
It was THE big question before UFC 259 in March. Was Israel Adesanya going to be able to become two-time champion of the great MMA fighting organization by dethroning Pole Jan Blachowicz from the light heavyweight throne? Rising category in this quest for legend, the UFC middleweight champion had received a resounding response with a defeat – the first of his career in the discipline – on a unanimous decision of the judges. No second belt, therefore. But it remains the first.
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Titled with his victory over Kevin Gastelum in April 2019, the Nigerian defended his crown twice, in March and September 2020 against Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa, for two new XXL performances. And after his failed stint against the king of light heavyweights, “The Last Stylebender” returns to business in its category to face the challenge of Italian Marvin Vettori. Particularity? The two men have already crossed paths in the octagon in April 2018, for Adesanya’s second fight at the UFC, with a victory at the end by a shared decision of the future champion (the only one since his arrival at the UFC).
Since? The Nigerian took the place of the middle man while his challenger has not lost, signing a series of five victories, the last in April over Kevin Holland, to climb to third place in the classification of the category (Whittaker and Costa are in front of). What make you want to see the new dance between the two. Will the disappointment of the light heavyweights have changed Adesanya and allowed his opponents in the middle to gain confidence and believe in their luck? Will Vettori be able to turn the split decision of 2019 (in three rounds) into a triumph for the belt in 2021? Considering the enmity shown by the two during the week, especially at a press conference, it should heat up strongly in the octagon.
Figueiredo-Moreno, new feast ration?
Three victories, a draw and the conquest of the fly belt defended twice: Deiveson Figueiredo had well deserved his title of “fighter of the year” in 2020. The first Brazilian crowned among men in the UFC since José Aldo – he has since been joined by Charles Oliveira in the lightweight – could have even made the brace with “fight of the year”. While many would have preferred the furious madness between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, that between “Deus Da Guerra” and Brandon Moreno at UFC 256 last December had arguments.
Three weeks after submitting Alex Perez to UFC 255, the former hairstylist and chef at a sushi restaurant (among others) had once again defended his belt – no champion in UFC history had it. made in such a short time – and offered the public an unforgettable “war” with the Mexican. Five rounds at a crazy pace, action, action and more action, concluded with a majority draw, the point removed by the referee from the Brazilian for a low blow in the third resulting in two cards at 47- 47 while the third judge gave 48-46 to the champion.
Immediately, the world of MMA said to themselves that they would love to see the two together in the cage quickly. UFC executive boss Dana White agreed. It’s finally for this weekend, exactly six months after day to day, and it announces more fireworks. If you missed Figueiredo-Moreno in December, don’t miss their new waltz. This time, we have been warned.
Diaz, the return of the fan favorite ‘gangster’
He has never been crowned champion in the UFC, or even in any other organization. His career record in MMA, 20-12, is far from the best. In his last nine fights, he has lost four, including two losses in his last three outings. Since 2008, he has never signed more than three victories in a row, a figure which drops to two if we take the period since 2012. Nate Diaz will never be the “GOAT” (best of all time) of his discipline. Far from there. But he will forever be one of his greatest characters.
Between their style, their big mouth and their natural charisma, brothers Nick and Nate have built a mystique around the name Diaz. To sum up, if you love MMA and UFC, you can’t help but love the two fighters from Stockton, California. Rare, their appearances in the cage are unavoidable. While Nick has not fought since 2015 but makes everyone fantasize with each rumor of his return, which seems more and more likely for this year, Nate is back on his way to the octagon a year and a half after his last fight. , a defeat by TKO (doctor’s stop) against Jorge Masvidal for the honorary belt of the “BMF” (Baddest Motherfucker).
This time, it will be against the Briton Leon Edwards, number 3 in the welterweight classification, for a historic first: five rounds in the program for a fight yet not for a belt nor in “main event” (main fight of the evening). A shock first expected at UFC 262 in mid-May, but postponed for a month due to a minor injury suffered by Diaz. Who finds himself facing a unique chance or almost for someone who has fought only twice since the end of August 2016: a victory would bring him with leaps and bounds to a chance for the title held by the Nigerian Kamaru Usman.
This will require dismissing an opponent who has not lost since December 2015 – against Usman, who was not yet the champion – and who has since signed eight wins in a row even if his last outing ended in a no-contest. (against Belal Muhammad last March). A complicated mission, very complicated even, but not impossible for those who love to surprise when they are not expected, as when he inflicted his first UFC loss on Conor McGregor in March 2016, a success that had exploded his popularity. with the general public (he had lost revenge a few months later).