Israel Adesanya is set for a rematch in his next title defense, but it’s not the one everyone was expecting. Robert Whittaker seemed to have set himself apart, head and shoulders above the rest of the pack at 185 lbs following a dominating victory over Kelvin Gastelum back on April 17th.
The win put the ‘Reaper’ on three straight wins, all over top-10 opponents. However, Combate reports that Marvin Vettori is the man getting his chance at UFC gold early this June.
There’s no word on why the UFC has chosen to pass on Whittaker vs. Adesanya 2. Although, with the Aussie just a few days removed from his last bout, it may be that a June 12th fight date was simply too fast a turnaround for the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Smeaton Grange fighter.
Vettori (17-4-1) enters his first UFC title bout off a five fight winning streak, stretching back to his last loss—a split decision to none other than the ‘Last Stylebender’ back in 2018. Most recently, Vettori picked up wins against Kevin Holland and Jack Hermansson to cement his status as a top 5 ranked opponent.
For Adesanya, this booking comes fresh on the heels of a five round unanimous decision defeat in a light heavyweight ‘superfight’ with Jan Blachowicz—for what would have been Adesanya’s chance to become the UFC’s 5th ‘double champ.’ That loss marked the first of Adesanya’s MMA career, stretching all the way back to 2012, putting his current record at a still impressive 20-1 in the cage.
A location for UFC 263 has yet to be made official. Alongside the middleweight championship main event, the card is expected to play host to the flyweight title fight rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. A top ranked featherweight bout between Hakeem Dawodu and Movsar Evloev is also set for the card, as well as a welterweight bout between Demian Maia and Belal Muhammad, and a women’s flyweight fight between Lauren Murphy and Joanne Calderwood.