UFC 263 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Adesanya vs. Vettori 2

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2021

UFC 263 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Adesanya vs. Vettori 2

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    The UFC will bring a star-studded card to the Gila River Arena in Scottsdale, Arizona, headlined by a middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. 

    The two will be running back a 2018 fight that took place before either fighter really gained the traction they currently enjoy. Adesanya battled to a split-decision win over the Italian Dream and went on to capture the middleweight crown. Vettori hasn't lost a fight since then, claiming five in a row. 

    It sets up an intriguing main event but not the only five-round fight worth tuning in for. 

    The flyweight title will also be on the line. Brandon Moreno came close to upsetting Deiveson Figueiredo in a memorable championship fight in December. Now, he'll have the chance to show that performance was no fluke in the rematch.

    A welterweight fight that could have title implications between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards rounds out the trio of five-round fights. 

    Here's a look at the whole card, odds and the major storylines associated with the biggest fights on the card. 

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—June 12

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    Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV)

    • Israel Adesanya (c) (-275) vs. Marvin Vettori (+215)—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 (+120)
    • Eryk Anders (-150) vs. Darren Stewart (+120)
    • Lauren Murphy (+120) vs. Joanne Calderwood (-152)
    • Movsar Evloev (-240) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (+188)

    Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)

    • Pannie Kianzad (-220) vs. Alexis Davis (+170)
    • Matt Frevola (-305) vs. Terrance McKinney (235)
    • Chase Hooper (-106) vs. Steven Peterson (-118)
    • Fares Ziam (-137) vs. Luigi Vendramini (+110)
    • Carlos Felipe (-177) vs. Jake Collier (+140)

Who Has Improved More: Adesanya or Vettori?

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    When Israel Adesanya met Marvin Vettori in the Octagon for the first time, you'd be hard-pressed to guess it was a future title fight. Both were relatively unknown when they met on the main card of a UFC on Fox event. 

    Adesanya was undefeated but was only in his second UFC fight. Vettori was far from a recognized name. 

    Since then, Adesanya has gone on to capture the middleweight crown. Although he lost his bid to move up to light heavyweight and get a second belt, he's still the man to beat at 185 pounds. Vettori's win streak has given him a strong enough case to challenge the man who gave him his last loss. 

    The central question to the matchup is which fighter has developed more since their first meeting. The first fight was competitive, with Adesanya outlanding Vettori in strikes, 57-46, while the challenger landed two takedowns. 

    Vettori still has the makeup and skills to give Adesanya problems. His volume, pressure and wrestling are enough to force The Last Stylebender into some uncomfortable situations. But the champion has only gotten better at operating in those areas. 

    Returning to middleweight, he's going to remind everyone how good he has looked at 185 pounds. 

    Prediction: Adesanya via fourth-round TKO

Can Moreno Avoid Figueiredo's Power Again?

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    Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo leads his division in knockdowns and is third in knockdowns per 15 minutes. In their December fight, Moreno managed to avoid getting knocked down despite absorbing 137 significant strikes. 

    That's a lot of damage to take without buckling and an unsustainable path to victory for the 27-year-old. 

    Moreno is much less dangerous on the feet. He has just three career knockouts and 10 submissions. He's much more likely to win the fight on the ground. 

    Last time they fought, both men were taking on the fight with incredibly quick turnarounds. They each finished their opponent just three weeks prior in the first round, but making their respective weight cuts twice in under a month would be taxing. 

    With Figueiredo taking time to heal and reset before making his weight cut again, he may have more strength and power this time around. 

    Prediction: Figueiredo via second-round TKO

Does Nate Diaz Have Another Upset in Him?

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    Saturday night won't be the first time Nate Diaz will be a sizeable underdog against a welterweight opponent. He was a heavy underdog in his first fight with Conor McGregor at 170 pounds before shocking the MMA world with a second-round submission win. 

    It was a classic case of Diaz's cardio and durability serving him well. The Irishman gassed early, and Diaz was more than happy to take advantage. 

    Diaz will have the opportunity to pull off a similar feat on Saturday. Leon Edwards isn't McGregor, but he was on an eight-fight win streak before the Belal Muhammad fight was declared a no-contest. On paper, the Stockton native shouldn't have a shot. 

    At 36 years old, it's fair to wonder if Diaz's infamous durability might fail him to some extent. With just two fights since 2016, it's hard to tell how much he has left. 

    Prediction: Edwards via third-round TKO


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