Adesanya, Vettori make weight for UFC title fight

PHOENIX — The trash talk will stop Saturday night. The UFC middleweight title clash between Israel Adesanya and challenger Marvin Vettori is now official.

Adesanya (183.5 pounds) and Vettori (184.5) both successfully made weight Friday morning for Saturday’s main event of UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona. The middleweight title fight limit is 185 pounds.

This is a rematch of a 2018 split decision win for Adesanya, which was one of the most difficult fights in his run to the belt.

On Thursday, Adesanya and Vettori verbally blasted each other over and over during the prefight news conference until Adesanya prompted Vettori to fight him right then and there — and Vettori got up to take him up on the offer.

UFC president Dana White and security intervened, physically taking Vettori off stage. ESPN has Adesanya ranked No. 3 on its pound-for-pound men’s MMA fighter list. At middleweight, Adesanya is ranked No. 1; Vettori is No. 6.

The 31-year-old Adesanya (20-1) is looking for his third successful middleweight title defense. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident is undefeated at 185 pounds and has held a share of the title in the UFC since April 2019. He is coming off a loss to Jan Blachowicz in a UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 259 on March 6.

Vettori (17-4-1) has won five straight and is the hottest fighter in the division. The Italy native pushed Adesanya to the brink in 2018 — a fight that Vettori still believes he won. The 27-year-old fighter has not lost since and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Kevin Holland in April.

Leon Edwards will face the extremely popular Nate Diaz in a five-round, non-title welterweight bout on Saturday’s undercard. Edwards weighed 170.5 pounds; Diaz was 170 on Friday morning.

The winner could receive a title shot.

Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in nine straight fights. Diaz (20-12) has not fought since a loss to Jorge Masvidal in the mythical BMF title fight at UFC 244 in November 2019. He’s looking for his first win since August 2019.

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