Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona was home to a great night of fights at UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2. The card saw one (T)KOs, two submissions, and eleven decisions, including two split-decisions.
Tonight’s event was a decision-heavy affair with some great performances and some that we could have done without seeing. The prelims were punctuated by a phenomenal back-and-forth war between Drew Dober and Brad Riddell that saw the City Kickboxing product take a hard-fought unanimous decision. Lauren Murphy would take a split-decision win over Syndicate MMA’s Joanne Calderwood, possibly cementing herself as a future title challenger. One last thing of note on the undercard was Terrence McKinney’s sensational seven-second knockout of Matt Frevola. We’ll definitely be keeping an euye on his progress moving forward.
The main card began with Paul Craig securing a quick armbar of Jamahal Hill just a second shy of the two-minute mark. Belal Muhammad would take a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia, but Maia put forth a decent effort, it just wasn’t enough to stop Muhammad’s momentum.
Leon Edwards put the elbows, punches, kicks and the pace on Nate Diaz, but to the Stockton native’s credit, he survived several bad cuts, having his legs chopped and even staggered Edwards twice in the fifth round, almost finishing him, but Leon hung in there and time ran out. Leon took the lopsided decision.
Brandon Moreno looked like an assassin baby in there tonight. He came out fast and hot, swarming with punches from Jump Street, even dropping Figgy near the end of the first round. The second round saw Moreno faster to the punch, faster in the scrambles, faster everywhere. And he was more than willing, more than ready for Figgy on the ground, and a little past the two-minute mark of the third round, with a deep rear-naked choke sunk in, Moreno submitted the champ and took his belt. And New.
Marvin Vettori had early success against Israel Adesanya in the main event, scoring a takedown and pressuring the champ against the cage. Izzy punished Marvin’s legs with hard low kicks, then going high with head kicks, staying calm and collected throughout. That was about all the momentum Vettori would have as Izzy easily controlled every aspect of the fight, even taking time in the fourth round to grab a meaty handful of Vettori’s butt. In the end, Izzy would take the lopsided unanimous decision victory. And Still.
Performance of the Night: Brandon Moreno, Paul Craig
Terrance McKinney (TKO (strikes), :07 of round 1), Paul Craig (armbar, 1:59 of round 1), and Brandon Moreno (RNC at 2:26 of round 3) all finished their fights before the final horn but it would be Brandon Moreno and Paul Craig taking the $50K bonuses tonight.
Fight of the Night: Drew Dober vs. Brad Riddell
Carlos Felipe (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), Fares Ziam (29-28, 29-28, 28-28), Steven Peterson (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Pannie Kianzad (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Movsar Evloev (29-27, 29-27, 29-27), Lauren Murphy (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), Eryk Anders (29-28, 29-27, 29-27), Brad Riddell (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Belal Muhammad (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Leon Edwards (49-46 x3), and Israel Adesanya (50-45 x3) all went the distance in their respective fights but it would be Drew Dober’s war with Brad Riddell that would take FOTN honors.
Gate: $4,281,800.00 (Gila River Arena Gate Record)