Black Excellence: Nigeria’s Adesanya Retains UFC Middleweight Title

by Duke Magazine

Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya has retained his middleweight title with a comprehensive unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori in the main event at UFC 263 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It was really an impressive display from Adesanya, who got back to winning ways after suffering an upset from Jan Blachowicz in a light heavyweight title fight at UFC 259.

It was a re-match between Adesanya and Vettori, with the Nigerian winning via split decision in April 2018. The result of that bout was questionable albeit, but that was certainly not the case this time.

Adesanya showed his class as he picked apart his Italian opponent with stinging calf-kicks, pin-point accuracy with his punches and a much improved take-down defense.

Following his big win, Adesanya dedicated his victory to his teammate, Fau Vake, a promising up-and-coming fighter who died in May from injuries sustained in an alleged attack in Auckland, New Zealand.

“I just want to say Fau Vake, Fau Vake, Fau Vake, I love you, man… This fight I dedicate to you, Fau,” said the Nigerian-born fighter.

In his victorious speech, Adesanya revealed he wanted his next title defense to come against Australia’s former champion Robert Whittaker, but on the condition that the fight takes place in Adesanya’s hometown of Auckland after Adesanya dethroned Whittaker in Melbourne in their first meeting at UFC 243.

“Whittaker, my arch-nemesis, Bobby,” he added. “I don’t know what the (expletive) is gonna happen with Covid. We need to run that back in Auckland, in my territory this time. I’ll tell you what it is, I get to decide, you don’t get to decide, because why? I’m the (expletive) king, bitch.”

Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Brandon Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history with a third-round submission of Deiveson Figueiredo to claim the flyweight title. Seven months after the two battled to a draw, Moreno looked vastly improved as he took the fight to the champ. Figueiredo was a step behind Moreno from the opening bell and was simply worn down by the third round, in which Moreno applied a rear-naked choke for the win.

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