UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 Odds, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-in Hype
A little over three years ago, Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori met in a somewhat under-the-radar fight on the main card of a UFC on Fox card.
Adesanya got the nod in a split decision on that night. Now the two will re-convene in the main event of a pay-per-view card with The Last Stylebender's middleweight title on the line.
The champion will be looking to reassert his dominance at 185 pounds. His bid to move up to light heavyweight and win a second championship was denied by Jan Blachowicz, and his perfect record was lost.
That leaves this next fight with the added importance of avoiding back-to-back losses.
The card features three five-round fights. Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo will run back their flyweight championship bout after the two fought to a draw in December.
The return of Nate Diaz to fight Leon Edwards puts this card over the top. The two will fight five rounds despite not being the main event and having no title on the line.
Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—June 12
Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV)
- Israel Adesanya (c) (-250, bet $250 to win $100) vs. Marvin Vettori (+200)—middleweight title fight
- Deiveson Figueiredo (c) (-230) vs. Brandon Moreno (+185)—flyweight title fight
- Leon Edwards (-560) vs. Nate Diaz (+400)—five-round fight
- Demian Maia (+180) vs. Belal Muhammad (-230)
- Paul Craig (+225) vs. Jamahal Hill (-286)
Prelims (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+)
- Drew Dober (-148) vs. Brad Riddell (+118)
- Eryk Anders (-150) vs. Darren Stewart (+120)
- Lauren Murphy (+120) vs. Joanne Calderwood (-152)
- Movsar Evloev (-250) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (+195)
Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)
- Pannie Kianzad (-220) vs. Alexis Davis (+170)
- Matt Fevola vs. Terrance McKinney (not listed)
- Chase Hooper (-108) vs. Steven Peterson (-115)
- Fares Ziam (-143) vs. Luigi Vendramini (+115)
- Carlos Felipe (-175) vs. Jake Collier (+135)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Vettori Set on Making Things Right in Rematch
In a lot of ways, everything has changed for the two main event fighters since their initial bout in 2018. Israel Adesanya has skyrocketed to one of the biggest names in the UFC. Vettori has managed to get himself to title contender status by winning five fights since his loss to the champ.
Vettori would argue that streak should be six wins, though.
"I've watched the fight multiple times and I was the aggressor in that fight and I was the one pushing the action all the time," he said, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. “Whatever. Judges screw up a lot of times. Here I am…ready for the rematch and ready to settle the score once and for all."
The stakes and profile of the matchup have changed, but the basics are the same. Adesanya is the superior fighter from range. His kickboxing background is evident in the cage, and he's a master craftsman when it comes to getting a read on his opponents and launching the perfect counterstrike.
It stands to reason that the kind of middleweight who can give Adesanya trouble will be the one who turns up the pressure to the point of taking away the tactical pace and distance the champion wants to fight at.
Vettori has the skill set to do that. It's just going to be a matter of doing it over five rounds without taking too much damage. The Italian Dream is incredibly durable, but he only has two knockouts to his name. Five rounds is a long time to go without getting caught by something vicious from Adesanya.
Prediction: Adesanya via fourth-round TKO
Figueiredo Aiming for 1st-Round Knockout
The co-main event is also a rematch. Brandon Moreno challenged Deiveson Figueiredo in a surprisingly competitive fight. The champion was close to -450 odds in their December 2020 fight, but Moreno nearly pulled off the upset as the two fought to a majority draw.
Moreno should be applauded. He proved to be much tougher and his skills more on par with the champ as previously thought, but there's a potential explanation for Figueiredo's lack of explosiveness on fight night.
He was making the quickest turnaround in UFC championship history fighting Moreno just 21 days after submitting Alex Perez at UFC 255.
"I reached flyweight twice in 20 days. The night before UFC 256 was a nightmare. It was a crazy attitude to accept a fight in such short notice, but it was for a good cause and I don't repent myself for doing that," Figueiredo said, per Marcelo Alonso of Sherdog. "But now I'm 100 percent. Saturday the fans will see the real Deiveson in the Octagon and it's time for Moreno to have his nightmare. I'll beat him in the first round."
The first fight was an instant classic. The two combined for 269 significant strikes, six takedowns and had nearly identical output in each round.
This time, a refreshed and fully healthy Figueiredo could be more to deal with for Moreno.
Prediction: Figueiredo via second-round TKO
Edwards Envisioning 1-Sided Affair Against Diaz
The return of Nate Diaz for the firs time since he lost his BMF belt fight to Jorge Masvidal in November 2019 is one of the most highly anticipated storylines of the fight card.
Diaz is one of the top pay-per-view draws the organization has to offer. His presence on the card really pushes it over the top and he draws a tough task in Edwards. The 29-year-old has been largely ignored in the title picture but hasn't suffered a loss since Kamaru Usman beat him in 2015.
That loss has aged pretty well and Edwards has done nothing but win. It's something he sees continuing when he meets the 36-year-old Diaz in the cage.
"I envision going out there and just battering him from pillar to post and getting the stoppage," Edwards said, per Farah Hannoun of MMAjunkie. "I know he's a tough, durable guy, and I just don't think being tough and durable is enough to beat me."
Diaz has always been a big draw, but it has more to do with his fighting style, attitude and drama. He's always game and willing to go the distance, but he's also lost double-digit fights with a 20-12 record.
Edwards is a considerable favorite in this spot, and it's huge for him to get the win and exposure to a large audience. He looked strong in his own comeback from a long layoff against Belal Muhammad even if the fight was ruled a no contest after an accidental eye poke ended the fight.
Expect him to get his moment of glory against an aging Diaz.
Prediction: Edwards via third-round TKO
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