UFC 263 is a chance for Israel Adesanya to once again showcase his dominance as one of the premier fighters in the world.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT: JAMAHAL HILL VS. PAUL CRAIG — 10:21 PM ET
Paul Craig finished Jamahal Hill in the opening round.
Craig (15-4-1) is unorthodox, but he is so dangerous off his back with chain submissions. It looked like he dislocated, or potentially even fractured, the left arm of Hill (8-1, 1 NC). The referee was forced to stop the bout, which he should have done even sooner. That was a very gnarly finish, the type that is rarely on display in the cage.
Craig wins the fight via technical submission, and the MMA world needs to take note of his jiu-jitsu.
UFC 263 is a night for more than redemption for Israel Adesanya. His main event against Marvin Vettori is a chance for renewal, once again showcasing his dominance as one of the premier fighters in the world.
Following the first defeat of his MMA career, Adesanya (20-1) seeks to reclaim his aura against Vettori (17-4-1). This is a rematch from April 2018, which Adesanya claimed by split decision, with the added caveat that Adesanya’s middleweight title is on the line. Vettori will attempt to follow the blueprint of Jan Blachowicz, the light heavyweight champ, which will be to wrestle Adesanya and control the fight on the mat. While that is a solid plan, it will be difficult to execute without Blachowicz’s size and power.
A second title fight on the 263 card is another rematch, pitting flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo against Brandon Moreno. Their last meeting was each of their previous fights, and it was a sensational, back-and-forth bout. Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Moreno (18-5-2) fought to a draw, and it was particularly enthralling to watch Moreno endure so much punishment from Figueiredo, and yet still come back to do some damage of his own.
The card also features the return of Nate Diaz, who fights a top welterweight contender in third-ranked Leon Edwards. Long overdue for a title shot, Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) cannot afford to come away with a defeat. Even as a massive favorite, that is no guarantee against the ever-dangerous Diaz (20-12). The crowd in Arizona will erupt if Diaz is able to pull off a shocking submission victory.
Another welterweight bout on the card pits Demian Maia against Belal Muhammad. With the 43-year-old Maia (28-10) now in the twilight of his career, this is a perfect opportunity for Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) to add a unique victory his portfolio. And the card opener, which is a meeting of light heavyweight in Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC) and Paul Craig (14-4-1), should be a barnburner to kick off the pay per view.