SuperSport viewers on DStv can look forward to seeing Ultimate Fighting Championship action as UFC 263 takes center stage at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on the morning of Sunday, 13th June 2021. The Prelims airs live at 1 am while the Main Card airs live at 3 am on SuperSport Grandstand, SuperSport Action, and SuperSport Variety 3 (DStv channel 201, 210 & 208).

This event has special significance for African MMA fans, as Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya puts his UFC middleweight world championship on the line against Marvin Vettori.

Adesanya (20-1) lost his last fight at the hands of Jan Blachowicz, going down via unanimous decision in attempting to step up to the light heavyweight division. Yet the 31-year-old remains unbeaten at middleweight – with one of his former conquests being Vettori, as ‘The Last Stylebender’ defeated the Italian via split decision back in April 2018.

“Well, I wanted to fight Rob [Robert Whittaker] after I saw him with Kelvin [Gastelum],” Adesanya said of why he agreed to another fight with Vettori. “Marvin’s like, ‘I want to go in October.’ Rob’s like, ‘I want to go in September.’ I’m like, ‘Look, I’m going in June. Whoever wants it, step up.’ The Italian stepped up, so kudos to him. But yeah, we already know.”

He added, “He’s holding onto that loss better than his best wins. So yeah, I’m in his head rent-free.”

Vettori (17-4) has racked up five straight wins since that loss to Adesanya, with his last outing an impressive unanimous decision triumph over Kevin Holland in April.

‘The Italian Dream’ believes that Blachowicz has laid the blueprint for him to claim revenge: “With Jan, the last time he got taken down, he kind of quit. He was just laying there. Adesanya, when it comes to the middle of the cage, when he’s taken down in the middle of the cage and he doesn’t have the cage, he’s pretty useless on the floor to be honest. Kevin Holland is a better jiu-jitsu player than Adesanya for sure.”

UFC 263 will also feature a flyweight championship clash between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) – with the pair re-matching after their majority decision draw in December last year which is already regarded as one of the all-time great flyweight matches.

This time around, challenger Moreno has promised to be even more aggressive: “I need to be smart, I understand he’s powerful, he’s real, he’s a real opponent, he’s a real fighter, that’s why he’s a champion. But my confidence is very high, I know I can make some really good damage in this next fight against him.

“I can be more aggressive because all my game plan in two weeks was like, be careful, take the time to see the counters, and take care of his power, and that’s it. Right now, I feel his power, I know I can support the damage and I can be more aggressive.”

The event also features a five-round welterweight clash between Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) and Nate Diaz (20-12); Demian Maia (28-10) taking on Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) also in the welterweight category; and a light heavyweight opened between Paul Craig (14-4-1) and Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC).

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