It will be déjà vu all over again this Saturday night, as UFC 263 features three rematches, with two of them topping the card. The octagon has set down in the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona for one of the best fight cards, on paper, the UFC has put on as of late.
The main event, as the title of the fight card hints it, is a rematch for the UFC Middleweight Championship between champ Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. Mad Marvin’s last loss was a split decision one to Adesanya back in 2018 – he’s reeled off five-straight wins since that fight, earning himself a rematch, this time with gold on the line. Meanwhile, since that fight Adesanya has gone on to become the dominant middleweight champion. However, he suffered the first loss of his career last time in the octagon in a failed attempt to add the UFC Light Heavyweight Title to his portfolio.
While Vettori is a tough, durable fighter, solid in all aspects of the sport, I’m going with the champ Adesanya to retain, currently at
20/57 on the board. He’s just the more dynamic fighter and athlete, and I see him getting back on the winning track on Saturday night.
Flyweight Championship on the Line
The co-main event, as mentioned above, is also a rematch and is also for UFC gold. This will be Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno 2, for Figueiredo’s UFC Flyweight Championship. The first fight, last December, was an all-time classic that ended in a draw. However, the champ was deducted a point for a low blow. I, along with many others, had him winning this fight even taking the point deduction into account. I expect him to be victorious on Saturday, and you can currently get him on the MansionBet board for
5/12. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes Moreno within the distance this time.
I’ve identified far more live dogs than usual on Saturday’s fight card, so let’s go get some sweet, sweet plus money. We’ll begin with the returning Demian Maia at
9/5 for his welterweight fight against Belal Muhammad. While the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend is 43 years old, I like him in this matchup. Muhammad isn’t a finisher, and Maia is an expert at not getting hit, so I think this will allow the Brazilian to stay around in the fight long enough to take Muhammad down. And once Maia has you on the mat, your end is nigh. Take Maia via submission if you want even more money.
Back the Kiwi to Down Dober
Next, we’ll move on to Adesanya’s teammate Brad Riddell, currently at
5/4 for his lightweight battle against Drew Dober. The New Zealander is on a six-fight win streak, including all three of his UFC fights. He also has superior striking and grappling stats and is younger than Dober. Sounds like a live dog to me.
Lauren Murphy and Joanne Calderwood will be fighting Saturday for what should be the #1 contender spot in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division. It’s a difficult fight to pick, but I’m leaning to the underdog Murphy at
6/5. She’s on a hot streak, winning her last four, and has the all-around game that should be able to best Calderwood.
Fighters appearing on short notice in the octagon have only won 37% of their fights since the start of 2020, but I’m betting on newcomer Terrance McKinney bucking this trend. He just fought last weekend for LFA, so this will be an extremely short notice UFC debut for him. But he’s got the explosive striking, size, and youth to defeat Matt Frevola (I hope).
Finally, I like Luigi Vendramini (
21/20) to use his wrestling to beat Fares Ziam, and in the opener, heavyweight Jake Collier (
29/20) to use his all-around skills and decent cardio to best Carlos Felipe.
*All odds correct at time of writing.