Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is expected to return to the fight at UFC 263, and he will stake his title against a familiar enemy when Marvin Vettori gets his first chance at gold.
Multiple sources close to the situation confirmed the match was in development during a conversation with MMA Fighting on Saturday following an initial report from Combate. UFC President Dana White also confirmed plans for the fight on June 12 in an interview with ESPN.
While contracts have yet to be signed, it looks like all parties have agreed on a date as Adesanya is returning to middleweight after losing his bid for the title in two divisions after losing to Jan Blachovic earlier this year.
Aside from this one setback with a 205-pound champion, Adesanya was perfect in the UFC while also being pretty tough at middleweight at the same time. Back in 2018, in his second fight for the promotion, Adesanya won a split decision over Vettori in a hotly contested match.
Adesanya became the champion and remains undefeated in the middleweight division, but now Vettori is looking to equalize and also trying to win the title of Adesanya.
The Italian middleweight currently has an impressive five-win streak, including one-sided victories over rating rivals Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland in his two previous matches. Vettori hasn’t felt defeated since losing by split decision to Adesanya three years ago.
The middleweight title fight joins the roster of UFC 263, which also includes Daveson Figueiredo, who won his Flyweight Championship in a rematch against Brandon Moreno. The venue for UFC 263 has yet to be announced, but the promotion is expected to look for an arena where fans can be present.