UFC 263 is upon us this weekend.
In another marquee event for MMA fans (also with fans present), the early hours of Sunday morning will see two titles on the line as Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) defends his flyweight title against Mexico’s Brandon Moreno (18-5-2), while in the night’s main event, Israel Adesanya (20-1) runs things back against Marvin Vettori (17-3-1) for the promotion’s middleweight championship.
For Figueiredo and Moreno, it’s an immediate rematch off the back of their majority draw in the main event of UFC 256 last December. Will things be any different this time? It’s hard to say in a division that was almost tanked when Demetrious Johnson looked like he would continue his winning ways forever before departing to ONE Championship.
The main event
As for the main event, Adesanya returns to middleweight having tasted defeat for the first time in his professional career, unsuccessfully challenging Jan Blachowicz (28-8) for the UFC light heavyweight title this past March.
It’s over three years since ‘The Last Stylebender’ and Vettori clashed, before titles were ever involved. In the time since, Adesanya has racked up seven straight wins in the division including a dismantling of Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker with Yoel Romero, Kelvin Gastelum, Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares also on his hit list. Vettori has kept a clean sheet since then too, most recently seeing off Kevin Holland by decision this past April to work his way up to #3 ranked middleweight contender.
What could well be one of the highlights of the night though is the return to action for Nate Diaz (20-12) who takes on Leon Edwards (18-3) at 170lbs.
Diaz took three years away from the cage following his defeat to Conor McGregor in the second leg of their much-wanted trilogy series. He saw off Anthony Pettis on his return in 2019 before dropping a loss to Jorge Masvidal in the one-off BMF bout in November of that year. Now, 18 months on, he’s set to go again.
Even if he took another 18 months off, we’d still be lining up to watch him fight next time out.
For Edwards, it’s a long time now since we were watching him on early BAMMA cards and since joining the UFC in 2014 he’s gone 10-2 including wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone in the last three years. Injury and illness put 2020 to bed with bouts against Tyron Woodley and Khamzat Chimaev scrapped. While a nasty eye poke saw his March outing against Belal Muhammad ruled a no-contest, he hasn’t faced anyone quite like Diaz in the UFC yet.
UFC 263 Fight Card
Barring any mishaps or weigh-in issues come Friday, here’s how this weekend’s fight card looks.
Belal Muhammad is on the card and while he isn’t getting an immediate rematch against Edwards (an eye-poke put that fight to rest last time out), he’ll have a solid test in veteran Demian Maia.
Jojo Calderwood could be in line for a title shot next time out too if she gets the better of Lauren Murphy in the women’s flyweight division.
- Israel Adesanya v Marvin Vettori – UFC Middleweight Championship
- Deiveson Figueiredo v Brandon Moreno – UFC Flyweight Championship
- Leon Edwards v Nate Diaz (170)
- Demian Maia v Belal Muhammad (170)
- Paul Craig v Jamahal Hill (205)
- Drew Dober v Brad Riddell (155)
- Eryk Anders v Darren Stewart (205)
- Lauren Murphy v Joanne Calderwood (125)
- Hakeem Dawodu v Movsar Evloev (145)
- Pannie Kianzad v Alexis Davis (135)
- Matt Frevola v Terrance McKinney (155)
- Steven Peterson v Chase Hooper (145)
- Fares Ziam v Luigi Vendramini (155)
- Carlos Felipe v Jake Collier (265)
How to watch UFC 263 in Ireland
As usual for Irish fight fans, it’s a mixture of BT and UFC Fight Pass to see you covered for this weekend’s action.
The early prelims should get underway just after 11 pm online via UFC Fight Pass. From 1 am, you can continue your viewing via UFC Fight Pass or switch to BT Sport 1.
The main card for UFC263 gets underway at the usual time of 3 am and will be broadcast on BT Sport 1.
Watch: UFC 263 Trailer
Check back Sunday morning for results and video highlights here on Scoreline.ie.