UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya could face Marvin Vettori in his return to the division, per reports. The middleweight rematch is currently being planned for UFC’s June 12th pay-per-view card, per a report by Ana Hissa of Combate.
Should the fight be finalized officially, it would join UFC 263, which does not have a confirmed location at the moment.
The plan, which is still being worked on by the UFC currently, was confirmed by UFC President Dana White in a report from Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
The matchup would be Adesanya’s first in the middleweight division after losing a fight to UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz in March. The failed attempt at becoming a two-division champion handed Adesanya his first loss since going pro in MMA in 2012.
In his own division, Adesanya has been nothing short of dominant since gaining his belt in 2019. His two title defenses were strong performances, defeating Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa last year.
Adesanya first gained the belt at UFC 243, where he stopped Robert Whittaker within a round. Whittaker looked to be the frontrunner for a title shot against Adesanya as of late after picking up notable wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
UFC is looking to put Vettori into the main event picture after putting together five consecutive wins in the division. Vettori’s past year in particular has seen him hit a stride, scoring a submission win over Karl Roberson and main event decision victories against Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland.
Adesanya and Vettori have crossed paths before, having first met in 2018. Adesanya prevailed in that encounter, scoring a split decision win their three-round bout.
UFC 263 already has another title fight in its lineup, as UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo is expected to fight Brandon Moreno in a rematch.
Here is how the lineup of UFC 263 looks with the potential middleweight bout in it.
Bout 8: Israel Adesanya (20-1) vs. Marvin Vettori (17-3-1) (UFC Middleweight Championship)
Bout 7: Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) vs. Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) (UFC Flyweight Championship)
Bout 6: Fares Ziam (11-3) vs. Luigi Vendramini (9-1) (Lightweight)
Bout 5: Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1) vs. Movsar Evloev (14-0) (Featherweight)
Bout 4: Karol Rosa (14-3) vs. Sijara Eubanks (6-6) (Bantamweight)
Bout 3: Lauren Murphy (14-4) vs. Joanne Calderwood (15-5) (Flyweight)
Bout 2: Demian Maia (28-10) vs. Belal Muhammad (18-3) (Welterweight)
Bout 1: Drew Dober (23-10) vs. Brad Riddell (9-1) (Lightweight)