A pair of title fights headline the card as the UFC's resurrected traveling carnival moves to Glendale, Ariz., for UFC 263 on Saturday night.
In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1) of New Zealand will give a rematch to the opponent in his weight class who gave him his closest call, Italy's Marvin Vettori (17-4-1).
The co-feature bout will be a rematch of what many considered the best men's MMA fight of 2020, as flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) of Brazil takes on Tijuana's Brandon Moreno (18-5-2).
Adesanya returns to middleweight after an ill-considered attempt at wresting the light heavyweight title from Poland's Jan Blachowicz in March, a bout he lost via unanimous decision.
Adesanya is undefeated at 185 pounds in his nine-year career, but his closest call came against Vettori in his second UFC bout back in 2018. Adesanya eked out a split decision in a fight coincidentally also held in Glendale.
For his part, Vettori has taken the long road to his title shot. The loss to Adesanya marked his most recent defeat, as he has since won five in a row, using a punishing heavy hands and noticeably improved cardio while climbing the ladder.
The flyweight bout is a runback of a sensational majority draw in a battle for Figueiredo's 125-pound title at UFC 256 in December.
The blueprint from the first fight should carry over to the rematch: Figueiredo, on paper, is the more skilled of the two, an outstanding ground competitor who has also developed sneaky good striking.
Moreno, however, is all heart and toughness, as he nearly willed his way to victory as an underdog in his quest to become the first Mexican-born UFC champ. He goaded Figueiredo into a brawl the first time out, and whether he's successful in doing so again likely will dictate if he can finish the job in the rematch.
Both fighters are unbeaten in their past six bouts, with Figueiredo 5-0-1 and Moreno 4-0-2.
--Field Level Media