Recent UFC on ABC 2 victor, Marvin Vettori appears to be the leading contender to clash with incumbent UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya in his next outing, with the promotion currently targeting a June 12th. return for the defending titleholder at UFC 263.
Notching his fifth consecutive victory on April 10th. — the Trento native secured a relatively one-sided unanimous decision win over Kevin Holland, adding the Riverside native to previous triumphs over the quartet of Jack Hermansson, Karl Roberson, Andrew Sanchez, and Cezar Ferreira.
For Adesanya, the City Kickboxing mainstay headlined UFC 259 in March against defending light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz — attempting to add the 205-pound title to current 185-pound spoils.
Suffering his first professional defeat in mixed martial arts, Adesanya suffered a unanimous decision loss to the former KSW gold holder, with Blachowicz scoring two fight-altering takedowns in the fourth and fifth championship rounds respectively. Despite claims that his future at light heavyweight would continue beyond his defeat to Blachowicz, Adesanya maintained he would return to 185-pounds next.
Per UFC president, Dana White, who spoke with Bill Simmons on the latter’s podcast, the promotion was looking toward pairing Adesanya and Vettori together once again, off the back of their original UFC Fight Night Glendale tie back in April of 2018.
ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani would go on to explain that Vettori was the current “frontrunner” to match with Adesanya next, given the fact that the targeted June 12th. date was an issue, timeline-wise for recent UFC Vegas 24 victor, former champion, Robert Whittaker.
“Of note in this @BillSimmons interview with White: looking like like Vettori could be next for Adesanya,” Helwani tweeted. “Talks have centered around Adesanya returning June 12, I’m told. Original hope was Adesanya-Whittaker 2 on 6/12 but turnaround is too quick for RW. So MV is new frontrunner.“
Adesanya initially faced off against Kings MMA staple, Vettori at UFC Fight Night Glendale in April of 2018, where he scored a close split decision win over the Italian — in his run to the middleweight championship.
As of writing UFC 263 features a flyweight championship clash between Deiveson Figeuriedo and Brandon Moreno in a re-run of their UFC 255 Fight of the Year contender last November, which was judging a majority draw. The promotion has yet to settle on a potential landing pad for the event, however, the aforenoted, White earmarked Arizona as a possible location.