Tag Archives: UFC 263

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Carlos Felipe def Jake Collier via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Good start to the fight from Collier as he uses his speed and volume to land early on Felipe. Felipe starts to walk forward and throws some wild hooks but Collier ducks them and throws a spinning back fist that just misses. Felipe takes the centre and starts working the body, and lands a few left hands too that stumble Collier backwards. Hard leg kicks from Collier as they throw down in the middle for the round to come to an end. 10-9 Felipe.

Second round starts and Felipe comes forward much more aggressive than the opening round, walking Collier down and testing his gas tank. Felipe landing big left hooks to the body and working Collier out, stepping forward and bobbing and weaving before throwing big one-twos. Collier’s leg kicks keep landing but Felipe doesn’t care and keeps going forward. More big punches land and he’s showboating despite a close round. 19-19.

Final round and Felipe is pushing forward again while Collier backs up exhausted. Felipe lands some nice body shots again and then starts going upstairs with some big strikes. Felipe lands a big left hand and Collier is rocked, then gets clocked twice more. Collier shoots for a takedown but Felipe sprawls, then gets up and lands some stiff jabs. Collier keeps checking the clock but Felipe is marching him down and throwing heavy shots in the pocket with 30 seconds to go. Collier lands a nice body shot followed by a kick but Felipe should get the nod. 29-28.

Fares Ziam def Luigi Vendramini via Majority Decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)

Great start to the fight from Ziam as he takes the centre of the cage and immediately starts flicking out the jab, landing flush on the nose of Vendarmini. Vendramini goes for a takedown but Ziam keeps it standing and immediately steps back to get his distance back. Lots of feints from Ziam and the jab is landing perfectly for the whole round. 10-9 Ziam.

Second round starts with more of the same, but this time Vendramini steps forward too and clinches up looking for a takedown. Ziam completely refuses to be taken down though and just pushes him off and starts landing the jab again. Ziam throws a hard leg kick but it gets partially checked and then Vendramini goes in for a deep takedown but Ziam throws him off and carries on striking to control the fight once more. 20-18.

Third round and Vendramini comes out heavy, throwing big bombs and he drops Ziam! He pushes forward and lands big strikes and eventually gets on top with ground and pound. Ziam trying to slow Vendramini down a little but he keeps going and lands some heavy strikes. Big elbows from full mount and he does brilliantly but Ziam stays calm off his back and eventually gets back up to his feet. Vendramini keeps pushing but he can’t get it done and Ziam should take the decision.

Steven Peterson def Chase Hooper via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Strong start from Peterson as he comes flying out of the gate looking for an early knockout and tags Hooper hard with a right hand. Hard pressure from Peterson as he pressure forward, before Hooper looks to pull guard. Peterson throws huge elbows and Hooper looks hurt but he gets back to his feet. Hooper eventually pulls guard and starts fishing for submissions, including a heel hook, but Peterson stays calm and rides it out. 10-9 Peterson.

Peterson steps forward and looks for the early power again but just misses with a big right hand. Hooper looking to bring the fight to the ground again but Peterson doing well to control the range so far and overpowering Hooper as it goes so far. Peterson eventually takes over and controls from the top position, riding out from the top and sees out the round. 20-18.

Peterson steps out strong and lands a big right hand early in the third round. He closes the distance and starts making it ugly, throwing nice kicks and then clinching and dragging Hooper to the ground. He lands a few strikes from the top then goes for a head and arm choke. Hooper denies it and takes the back with 70 seconds to go but he’s not able to get it done and Peterson should take the fight.

Terrance McKinney def Matt Frevola via Knockout, Round 1 (0:07)

McKinney comes out and lands a one-two and Frevola is out!!! OH MY GOD!! TERRANCE MCKINNEY!!!

Pannie Kianzad def Alexis Davis via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

A fun stand up battle in the first round, with both women standing in the pocket and exchanging good strikes. Kianzad standing her ground and landing well with her jab and right cross while Davis is landing her jab well. Both women have cuts but Kianzad is landing the more accurate strikes and takes the round. 10-9 Kianzad.

Second round is more of the same as Kianzad throws that right hand more and more. Both women trading in the pocket but Davis is starting to land cleaner on the nose. Kianzad follows up with some big strikes and the jab landing clean too, but Murphy starting to throw some nice leg kicks too. Pretty even round could go either way, I edge it to Kianzad.

Final round and Davis is landing her jab well and throwing the leg kicks more often too. Kianzad is backing up a lot more than she was in the first but is firing back on Davis’ jab with combinations. Davis’ jab is landing perfectly now on the nose of Kianzad but she’s getting caught with counter straights. Both women strike throughout the 15 minutes and it’s a close call regardless. 29-28 Kianzad for me but could go either way.

PRELIMS

Movsar Evloev def Hakeem Dawodu via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

Evloev opens up with a big overhand right that lands, but Dawodu does well to take it. Both men trade a few jabs before Evloev decides he’s had enough of that and goes for the takedown. Dawodu defends it well but eventually Evloev just picks Dawodu up and slams him down on the mat. Evloev then takes Dawodu’s back and looks for rear naked chokes and ground and pound strikes for the remainder. 10-9.

Evloev comes out early on again, ducks a big strike and gets a beautiful takedown immediately. Transitions to the back immediately once again and starts really piling on the pressure. He starts looking for submissions again but Dawodu defending them well, so he switches to ground and pound from Dawodu’s back and is really battering him.

Dawodu and Evloev start a bit slower in this round but Dawodu is able to keep the fight standing early on. Evloev

Lauren Murphy def Joanne Calderwood via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Murphy comes out aggressive and uses her size well, landing well out of the gate. Calderwood starts mixing up her attacks, throwing leg kicks, body kicks, body punches and head strikes well. Murphy stepping forward and using her boxing, then steps in for a clinch. She uses her strength well against the cage and lands a nice knee, but Calderwood throws the spinning back-fist and lands it well. Very close round, I lean 10-9 to Calderwood.

Strong start to the second round from Murphy as she lands the jab well early on and then shoots in for a takedown and gets it brilliantly! Murphy ties up both legs and gets wrist control, keeping Calderwood on her side with one arm to defend and starts throwing some nice ground and pound. Murphy dominates the entire round on top and could potentially have it as a 10-8. Super close fight.

Murphy comes out with a hard punch but misses and Calderwood starts picking her off from range once again using her kicks and striking again. Murphy starting to look for takedowns again but Calderwood defending them well and landing decent strikes from distance. Murphy keeps coming though and they end the round in a straight scrap. Great fight, very close.

Eryk Anders def Darren Stewart via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27)

Slow start to this one from both guys as Stewart takes the centre but lots of feints and hesitation from both guys. Anders throws a left straight that misses and then they go against the cage, with Stewart tying him up in a clinch to a stalemate. Stewart lands a big knee to the body and then changes levels and gets a nice trip to get top position on the ground. Stewart maintains wrist control and holds the position until the end of the round. Not the best round. 10-9 Stewart.

Second round and it’s much more of the same from both guys. Anders misses a left hand and the two clinch up against the cage for about two minutes before the referee steps in and separates them. Anders goes for a takedown but Stewart defends it well and they end up back in the same position. Anders trying to up the pressure but Stewart defending well and the round ends. 19-19 maybe?

Final round and Stewart comes out light on his feet with a couple of leg kicks before changing levels and securing a takedown on Anders. Anders manages to switch the position and ends up on top almost immediately though and finds himself in side control. Anders starts throwing some ground and pound and controlling the position well. Big ground and pound shots hurt Stewart as he tries to get up against the side of the cage but he survives until the buzzer. 29-28 Anders for me but all lays on that second round.

Brad Riddell def Drew Dober via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very quick start to this one from Riddell as he opens with a big left hand followed by a leg kick that rattles Dober’s balance. Both men swing some big hooks that just miss and then Dober lands a stiff jab and a left straight right behind it that drops him! Dober looks for a finish but Riddell shoots and stalls for long enough on the legs to recover. Riddell lands a huge right hand that sees him step backwards, then lands it flush over and over as the round ends. Great round, 10-9 either way.

Second round and Riddell is looking for that right hand early once again. Dober eats a couple but then fires back with some big straights and lands flush on the nose! Riddell shoots for a takedown to recover but Dober sprawls and steps away. Riddell lands a big right hand again and then Dober shoots in for a takedown but they scramble to a stalemate. Riddell lands a few big shots and Dober replies as the round ends. What a fight. This scorecard could be anything.

Final round and Riddell lands a huge right hand early on that rocks Dober. Riddell lands a couple more heavy strikes but Dober steps away and recovers. Some big body kicks by Riddell force Dober to look for a takedown but Riddell defends it perfectly. Riddell lands a huge right hand that staggers Dober with 30 seconds to go and he goes in for the finish! Big ground and pound as Dober dives in for a takedown. Riddell sweeps him and ends the round on top raining down punches. What a fight!

MAIN CARD

Paul Craig def Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 1 (1:59)

Slow start for Hill as he takes the centre before Craig grabs hold of him and pulls guard early on. Craig has an overhook on the arm while he’s on his back and he’s torquing on it badly. Craig rolls through and snaps Hill’s arm but the referee doesn’t wave it off! Craig goes for elbows to the head of a defenceless Hill and the referee finally steps in to end it. What a performance.

*TRIGGER WARNING*

Belal Muhammad def Demian Maia via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Interesting start to the round as Muhammad looks to take the centre of the octagon but stay out of range of Maia’s takedown attempts. Maia shoots in for a takedown and gets the single leg but Muhammad gets himself against the cage and defends it brilliantly for around one minute before escaping. Maia goes in for three more takedown shots during the rest of the round but Muhammad defends them all perfectly, but will likely lose the round. 10-9 Maia.

Second round and Muhammad is closing the distance better and landing some nice jabs on the feet. He’s gained confidence from stopping all the takedowns in the first and is stepping forward, landing his right hand cleaner as Maia starts to tire. Nice jabs and he defends another takedown to see out the round. 19-19.

Maia starts the final round with another single leg takedown attempt but Muhammad denies him once again and then staggers him with a nice right hand. Maia continues to look for a single leg takedown but Muhammad just denies it once more and lands a few jabs to seal the round for himself.

Leon Edwards def Nate Diaz via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Slow start to the fight from both guys as they both feel each other out early on. Edwards throws some hard leg kicks that land while Diaz starts showboating and teasing his opponent. Edwards closes the distance and they clinch up, before he dumps Diaz down and transitions to his back to threaten a submission. Diaz defends the position and they see out the round squaring off on the feet. 10-9 Edwards.

Second round and Edwards staying composed, pushing a good pace landing some leg kicks. Diaz playing some mind games but Edwards clinches up and gets him down again. Edwards controlling Diaz totally and landing elbows and strikes at will so far. Dominant round, 20-18.

Edwards dominant again during the third as he steps forward and lands the jab well. Edwards gets another takedown from the clinch and starts to control from the top. Huge elbow gets through and opens up a big cut, then he starts looking for the finish but Diaz survives it. 30-27.

Fourth round and Edwards is just too big and strong at this point. Hard leg kicks have forced Diaz to switch stances but Edwards pouring on the pressure. Diaz is tiring and getting caught with big wild hooks as Edwards starts going for the finish. Diaz tries to come forward with strikes of his own but he’s not hitting many. 40-36 Edwards.

Final round and it’s more of the same. Edwards closing the distance and landing hard leg kicks with elbows following in behind. Diaz is getting hit but still standing and still coming forward. Diaz throws a Stockton slap and follows with a left hand that wobbles Edwards! Diaz points instead of going for the kill, then steps in and starts swinging wildly. Edwards survives, just, and takes the win.

Brandon Moreno def Deiveson Figueiredo via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (2:26)

Tense start to the fight from Figueiredo as Moreno steps in nice and sharp with jabs and a heavy leg kick. Moreno is stiffing the jab right down Figueiredo’s throat, not allowing him to close the distance. Lots of hard jabs and Figueiredo struggling to get going so far. Moreno lands a big left hook that drops Figueiredo! He goes for the kill but Figueiredo stalls on the ground for long enough and the buzzer goes. 10-9 Moreno.

Second round and Figueiredo comes out harder than the first and just misses with a huge hook. Moreno transitions with some good strikes and then takes the back of Figueiredo. Figueiredo manages to turn to his back but the rest of the round is spent with Moreno on top dominating. 20-18.

Third round and Figueiredo still looks gun shy still. Moreno steps forward again and manages to secure a trip to put the fight on the ground. Moreno quickly transitions to the back, gets both hooks in and then locks in a body triangle. Figueiredo starts fighting the hands as Moreno moves to sink in a rear-naked choke. He switches grips, tightens it and Figueiredo taps! NEW CHAMPION!!

Israel Adesanya def Marvin Vettori via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x3)

Lots of nervous energy at the start of this fight. Low kicks from Adesanya and one immediately gets caught by Vettori who takes him down. Adesanya backs himself up against the cage and gets back to the feet very quickly. Adesanya presses the action and starts landing some big low kicks again, before defending another takedown attempt. Nice strikes and some good kicks. 10-9 Izzy.

Second round and Adesanya is very confident now. Still throwing lots of kicks and damaging the legs of Vettori and not being hesitant. Vettori steps forward but can’t get close enough and the kicks are really adding up now. Adesanya dominating on the feet, 20-18.

Third round and Vettori charges across the octagon and gets a big takedown. He transitions to the back and goes for the rear naked choke, and almost locks it up but Adesanya is able to spin into his guard and lands a nice elbow. He stands back up and spends the rest of the round piecing Vettori up with the leg attacks and right uppercut.

Fourth round and it’s more of the same from Adesanya, who is staying at distance and just completely dominant. Plenty of leg kicks again and some big right hands landing, while Vettori looks for a double jab into a takedown. Adesanya denies everything and keeps landing. Easy work so far. 40-36.

Final round and Vettori wants the takedown but he can’t get it. Adesanya is too strong and quick, landing heavy leg kicks and still looking for the uppercut. Vettori pushing for the takedown again but just stalling against the cage as Adesanya holds him up and denies it. Lots of tussling but more stalling and eventually they separate. Adesanya lands a head kick and some more right hands and this one is over. 50-45 Izzy, dominant performance.

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Main card predictions

Another blockbuster pay-per-view card is upon us as UFC 263 finally lands on our TV screens from Arizona as Israel Adesanya returns to the octagon to defend his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori.

It’s a highly anticipated rematch at 185lbs after the two previously met in 2018, with Adesanya getting the nod in a split decision. But after defeat last time out at light heavyweight, Vettori now has the blueprint to victory and will look to execute it to become the new champion.

In the co-main event the flyweight title will be on the line as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in their rematch from UFC 256. After the first fight ended in a draw, Figueiredo will be targeting an early finish in this one to put a stamp on his title reign.

We also have a historic fight on the main card, as Leon Edwards gets a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz in the first ever non-title, five-round bout not headlining the card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 28 we went 7/11 with three perfect picks to move to 328/516 (63.57%) with 142 perfect picks (43.29%).

We’ll look to improve on that with these 14 fights, and after predicting the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, here are our main card picks.


Paul Craig (14-4-1) vs Jamahal Hill (8-0 1NC) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An intriguing 205lbs bout between submission specialist Paul Craig and power puncher Jamahal Hill. Craig has won his last two in a row, submitting Gadzhimurad Antigulov at UFC Fight Island 3 before KO’ing Shogun Rua at UFC 255. Hill got a big knockout win over Ovince Saint-Preux at UFC 255 last time out to remain unbeaten.

This is a real style vs style fight, as Craig is a horrible striker with brilliant jiu-jitsu skills from his back while Hill is a man who can probably knock out anyone in the division right now. He’s got brilliant range, uses kicks, punches and pressure and his power holds up late on too and unless Craig pulls off something sneaky, this one just seems too much for him to overcome.
PICK – Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 2

Demian Maia (28-10) vs Belal Muhammad (18-3 1NC) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A passing of the guard at welterweight is on the cards here as 43-year-old Demian Maia takes on ‘Remember The Name’ Belal Muhammad. Maia got knocked out by Gilbert Burns in his last fight, while Muhammad got a win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258 before his fight with Leon Edwards ended in a no-contest after an eye poke.

Maia is one of the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioners in UFC history, with 50% of his career wins coming via submission. Muhammad is a volume striker, who can mix in some good wrestling too to rack up top control for victories too. If he’s to win this one though, he will look to keep it on the feet. Muhammad’s pace is great and his striking is miles ahead of Maia’s, but the Brazilian’s chances of winning lie strictly on the mat. If he can’t get him there, which I don’t think he can, he has no hope barring a lucky punch.

Muhammad will push the pace, land volume and come away with the biggest win of his career to date.
PICK – Belal Muhammad via Decision

Leon Edwards (18-3 1NC) vs Nate Diaz (21-12) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute banger at welterweight as the number three ranked 170lber Edwards takes on the most popular man in MMA not named Conor McGregor in Nate Diaz. Edwards has won eight in a row, but his last bout ended in controversy with an eye-poke against Belal Muhammad ending in a no contest. Diaz on the other hand has lost two of his last three, but those fights in 2016 and 2019.

Edwards is a brilliant fighter capable of doing absolutely everything in MMA, with brilliant striking, wrestling and submissions in his arsenal. Diaz is a brilliant boxer with world class jiu-jitsu, but he is way past his prime at this point. Edwards is the better striker and better wrestler and while Diaz is absolutely crazily durable, he gets hit A LOT. Edwards throws lots of leg kicks too which Diaz will hate and with the fight almost certain to stay on the feet, it’s Edwards’ to lose.

A win here finally earns him a title shot while Diaz earns a lot of money and puts in warrior-like performances to maintain his popularity. Edwards is too good though and I expect at least one 10-8 round in his favour.
PICK – Leon Edwards via Decision

Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) vs Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A flyweight title fight rematch here as ‘Deus de Guerra’ defends his 125lbs crown against Brandon Moreno once again. Figueiredo had a magnificent 2020, defeating Joseph Benavidez twice including at UFC Fight Island 2 to win the belt. He then defended it against Alex Perez at UFC 255 winning by first-round submission before the draw with Moreno at UFC 256. Moreno also had a great year, beating Jussier Formiga before knocking out Brandon Royval at UFC 255 before the draw.

Figueiredo is the scariest flyweight ever, with ridiculous power and tremendous jiu-jitsu, winning 17 of his fights by stoppage with them all coming in the first two rounds. Moreno is a pressure fighter with great striking and brilliant wrestling but the first fight told us a lot. Figueiredo won that first fight without the points deduction that happened and it’s hard to see this going any other way. Fig will push forward and pick his shots more and with Moreno confident he’ll be coming forward too.

Ultimately, Figueiredo showed he can win over five rounds and if it doesn’t go the distance then there’s only one guy finishing this fight so it’s an #andStill moment for me.
PICK – Deiveson Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 2

Israel Adesanya (20-1) vs Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The return of the ‘Last Style Bender’ following the first defeat of his career to the middleweight division as he takes on old foe Marvin Vettori for the 185lbs title. Adesanya beat Paulo Costa in his last fight at middleweight before defeat last time out at UFC 259 to Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight. Vettori has won his last five-in-a-row including main events against Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland.

Adesanya is arguably the best pure striker in mixed martial arts today, with brilliant power in his hands and legs and an ability to shift angles and knock people out. He’s fast, mobile and incredibly intelligent but the hole in his game is his grappling. That’s where Vettori excels, with great wrestling and an ability to take people down and control them from top position. He’s a decent striker in his own right too, but he uses that to close the distance for takedowns.

Their first fight saw Adesanya able to get back to his feet but I think Vettori has got much better in that space of time when it comes to controlling opponents on the ground. It really is a fight of two styles and while Adesanya is the heavy favourite, there is something telling me that because the blueprint is there he may need to figure something new out to get back in the win column.

The cloak of invincibility is gone and I think there could be an upset on our hands here.
PICK – Marvin Vettori via Decision

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Prelims predictions

Another blockbuster pay-per-view card is upon us as UFC 263 finally lands on our TV screens from Arizona as Israel Adesanya returns to the octagon to defend his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori.

It’s a highly anticipated rematch at 185lbs after the two previously met in 2018, with Adesanya getting the nod in a split decision. But after defeat last time out at light heavyweight, Vettori now has the blueprint to victory and will look to execute it to become the new champion.

In the co-main event the flyweight title will be on the line as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in their rematch from UFC 256. After the first fight ended in a draw, Figueiredo will be targeting an early finish in this one to put a stamp on his title reign.

We also have a historic fight on the main card, as Leon Edwards gets a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz in the first ever non-title, five-round bout not headlining the card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 28 we went 7/11 with three perfect picks to move to 328/516 (63.57%) with 142 perfect picks (43.29%).

We’ll look to improve on that with these 14 fights, and after predicting the early prelims here lets move on to the rest of the prelims now.


Movsar Evloev (14-0) vs Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun featherweight fight between the undefeated Evloev against the impressive Dawodu. Evloev got wins at UFC Fight Island 3 over Mike Grundy and UFC 257 against Nick Lentz via decision, while Dawodu is on a five-fight win streak himself including a split decision over Zubaira Tukhugov at UFC 253.

Evloev is among the elite wrestlers in the UFC, who will take you down and hold you down for as long as he wants to beat you up on your back. Dawodu on the other hand is a striker with good power, but he has a mean leg kick and a tight front guillotine too. While those kicks will be key to his path to victory, they also give Evloev a constant chance to catch them and take him down and that’s a big problem.

Overall, Evloev’s wrestling is just too good for Dawodu and he should be able to beat him up for 15 minutes for a wide win.
PICK – Movsar Evloev via Decision

Lauren Murphy (14-4) vs Joanne Calderwood (15-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two UFC veterans go head-to-head in the women’s flyweight division here to break into the title conversation once again. Murphy has won four-in-a-row, with a decision over Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Vegas 3 before a submission win over Lillya Shakirova at UFC 254. Calderwood went 1-1 in 2020, losing to Jennifer Maia at UFC Vegas 5 before beating Jessica Eye at UFC 257.

Murphy is a terrific striker, with her clinch game among the best of the rest in the division outside of the champion. She uses her long limbs well and loves to land an elbow, while Calderwood is a decent striker in her own right but she has wrestling to fall on too. Calderwood is arguably the better striker, but Murphy has more tools in her belt to push for a win.

She’s got striking, grappling and size and I think this win sets her up for a title fight.
PICK – Lauren Murphy via Decision

Eryk Anders (13-5 1NC) vs Darren Stewart (12-6 1NC) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The UK’s Darren Stewart makes a return to the octagon after a mixed 2020 when he takes on Eryk Anders looking to get back on track. Stewart went 1-2 last year losing to Bartosz Fabinski on a Cage Warriors card after UFC London got cancelled, before submitting Maki Pitolo in the first round at UFC Vegas 6 and losing a split decision to Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 11. Anders has lost four of his last six, most recently to Krzysztof Jotko in May before missing weight in November. These two fought each other in March at UFC Vegas 21, but it was a no contest after an illegal knee from Anders.

Both guys are quite well rounded all over the mixed martial arts world, but Anders seems to struggle under pressure. Stewart seems super confident in his chin and that means he’s happy to walk forward and he’s certainly more active. I think he has the physicality advantage too and with good submission skills and good power he will be confident. Anders showed that he has the power to hurt Stewart though in their first bout and that could lead to a more wrestle heavy approach from Stewart.

Ultimately, ‘The Dentist’ runs it back and snaps a two-fight winless run.
PICK – Darren Stewart via Decision

Drew Dober (23-10) vs Brad Riddell (9-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A truly brilliant fight for the feature prelim bout as Dober and Riddell meet in a striker’s paradise type fight here. Dober was on a three-fight win streak before taking a short-notice fight with Islam Makhachev and getting choked out at UFC 259, while Riddell got a win over Alex da Silva Coelho at UFC 253 before a fight with Gregor GIllespie fell through in March.

Dober is a terrific boxer with good leg kicks and a great gas tank, with plenty of power in his right cross. Riddell on the other hand is a world class kickboxer with power in all his limbs and joints, while his footwork often opens up new angles for him to strike. Both guys are durable and skilled with power too.

Riddell sometimes starts slowly, but his experience in a purely stand-up battle tells me he has the edge here. Neither guy will need to prepare for takedowns and when it comes to just pure striking, there aren’t many 155lbers better at it than Riddell.
PICK – Brad Riddell via Knockout, Round 3

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Early prelims predictions

Another blockbuster pay-per-view card is upon us as UFC 263 finally lands on our TV screens from Arizona as Israel Adesanya returns to the octagon to defend his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori.

It’s a highly anticipated rematch at 185lbs after the two previously met in 2018, with Adesanya getting the nod in a split decision. But after defeat last time out at light heavyweight, Vettori now has the blueprint to victory and will look to execute it to become the new champion.

In the co-main event the flyweight title will be on the line as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in their rematch from UFC 256. After the first fight ended in a draw, Figueiredo will be targeting an early finish in this one to put a stamp on his title reign.

We also have a historic fight on the main card, as Leon Edwards gets a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz in the first ever non-title, five-round bout not headlining the card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 28 we went 7/11 with three perfect picks to move to 328/516 (63.57%) with 142 perfect picks (43.29%).

We’ll look to improve on that with these 14 fights, starting with the early prelims here.


Carlos Felipe (10-1) vs Jake Collier (12-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight banger to open the card as Carlos Felipe looks to make it three wins in a row against Jake Collier. Felipe lost his UFC debut against Sergey Spivak at UFC Fight Island 2, before wins over Yorgan De Castro and then Justin Tafa at UFC Fight Island 7. Collier on the other hand has alternated defeat and victory since his debut back in 2014, with his most recent fights being a KO loss to Tom Aspinall at UFC Fight Island 3 and a win over Gian Villante at UFC Vegas 16.

Felipe is a power striker with some good combinations and great durability, while Collier is a decent kicker who is a former middleweight and still fights like one, just with an extra 80lbs of weight. Felipe lands lots of looping punches and has great power in his hands and surprisingly his gas tank is pretty good.

Collier is more of a volume type fighter at heavyweight and in the end, the power of Felipe will likely get through and he should be able to get the victory based off landing the more noticeable strikes.
PICK – Carlos Felipe via Decision

Fares Ziam (11-3) vs Luigi Vendramini (9-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fun lightweight bout between two guys who lost their UFC debuts on short-notice before bouncing back to win last time out. Ziam was beaten by Don Madge back at UFC 242, before returning with a decision win over Jamie Mullarkey at UFC Fight Island 6, while Vendramini lost up a weight class to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in 2018 before returning in 2020 with a KO win over Jessin Ayari.

Ziam is an excellent kickboxer, who fights really well from range and lands accurate strikes and kicks while Vendramini is someone who will push forward with pressure and grind with takedowns. Ziam showed in his last fight against Mullarkey that his takedown defence is good and that he can get back to his feet, but Vendramini is a far better grappler than Mullarkey.

If Vendramini can close the distance quickly enough and get Ziam down it will be tough for him to stand back up. But with Ziam’s ability to strike from range and evade, I think he could land enough to get a close decision win.
PICK – Fares Ziam via Decision

Chase Hooper (10-1-1) vs Steven Peterson (18-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Ben Askren’s baby boy is back in the octagon looking to get consecutive wins again against the experienced Steven Peterson. Hooper lost his first career bout to Alex Caceres at UFC 250 but bounced back with a submission win over Peter Barrett at UFC 256, while Peterson won his last fight via KO back in September 2019.

Hooper is a grappling specialist with lots of very good submissions off in his arsenal, while Peterson is a steady striker with excellent wrestling to fall back on if needed. Peterson has been known to have not the best striking defence, but Hooper’s striking offence is essentially non-existent and that means ‘Ocho’ can march forward unopposed.

He has a deep gas tank and the ability to overwhelm Hooper with strikes and while Hooper’s future is bright, I think Peterson is just going to be too much for him here.
PICK – Steven Peterson via Decision

Matt Frevola (8-2-1) vs Terrance McKinney (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A short-notice bout for the lightweight division as Matt Frevola looks to bounce back from defeat against a hungry UFC debutant. Frevola lost via unanimous decision against Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 257 in January, while McKinney has won his last three in a row all by knockout in under 72 seconds.

McKinney is powerful striker with a real killer instinct, but Frevola is a wrestler with a really brilliant work-rate and can out-work even the best fighters on his best day. The issue is that on his worst day, he could lose to the worst guys in the division. He has good power himself and has been known to be dragged into wars in the past and that could go badly for him on the night.

McKinney is on a huge high after winning his last fight just 8 days prior to this fight and with his genuine knockout power, I’m backing the underdog to get it done here.
PICK – Terrance McKinney via Knockout, Round 1

Pannie Kianzad (15-5) vs Alexis Davis (20-10) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A big women’s bantamweight fight as they go head to head for a place in the top ten of the UFC rankings. Kianzad is on a three-fight win streak having beaten Bethe Correira at UFC Fight Island 3 and Sijara Eubanks at UFC Vegas 17 most recently, while Davis snapped a three-fight losing streak with a win over Sabina Mazzo at UFC Vegas 20.

Kianzad is a solid striker and likes to use her straight punches and long legs to kick her opponents out of range, while Davis is a solid grappler who will look to take this fight to the ground and control from top position. Kianzad’s takedown defence is decent but the striking differential between the two is just so wide that I can’t see how she doesn’t piece Davis up on the feet.

You know what you’re going to get from Davis and I just don’t think it’ll be enough here.
PICK – Pannie Kianzad via Decision

Marvin Vettori has the blueprint to beat Israel Adesanya at UFC 263

Cast your mind back to before UFC 259 in March 2021, when Israel Adesanya was on mission to become a dual-weight simultaneous world champion.

He was up against Jan Blachowicz in the light heavyweight division, having ruled over the middleweight division since his debut in February 2018 and as champion in October 2019.

But what he came up against was not only the legendary Polish Power of the 205lbs champion but also the excellent wrestling and grappling of a man bigger and stronger than him.

Fast forward a few months down the line and the man in line for the next title shot at Adesanya’s original weight class is a man who he’s fought before.

Marvin Vettori and Adesanya first met in April 2018 in the champions second fight with the organisation. It was a close fight that many saw Adesanya winning 29-28 on the scorecards, but one judge saw it differently. Officially the bout went down as a split decision win for Adesanya, but Vettori has held on to that lone wolf judge’s decision ever since.

As three years have passed both men have got better and better, with Vettori yet to lose since. He now comes into the fight against a puzzle that has finally been solved.

Adesanya went into the fight against Blachowicz with many expecting him to be too mobile and too fast and to use his incredible striking to get a knockout win. But as the fight went on and Blachowicz wouldn’t go away, those chances got slimmer and slimmer. Then the wrestling started and it was one-sided.

For Vettori, that is the dream. His stand-up isn’t world class like Adesanya’s but it’s not awful and if he is able to close the distance and get hold of the champion then he will feel he can get the takedown to implement his style of fighting.

Vettori was able to take down Karl Roberson and choke him out with ease back at UFC Vegas 2, then out-grappled a grappler in Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16 before dominating a striker on the ground in Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23 in April.

Having fought each other before, they will both know the power and strength the other possesses and while Vettori did get Adesanya down in their first fight the Nigerian was able to get back to his feet eventually.

But after watching how Blachowicz dominated in March, Vettori will surely look to employ similar tactics. He will be more patient on the ground rather than rushing for a finish and while Adesanya is always dangerous on the feet, he never hurt Vettori in their first bout.

The aura of invincibility around Adesanya was gone as soon as Blachowicz took him down the first time in their fight. Now, it’s a chink in the armour of a phenomenal fighter and his next opponent is someone who can exploit it perfectly.

The blueprint is there and Vettori has all the tools to make it happen. No excuses, no complaints. The time is now, or he must forever hold his tongue in a conversation with ‘The Last Stylebender’.

Deiveson Figueiredo must target early finish at UFC 263 against Brandon Moreno

UFC 256 played host to arguably the greatest fight in UFC men’s flyweight history as Deiveson Figueiredo defended his championship against Brandon Moreno.

The circumstances of the fight were extraordinary, with both men having competed just three weeks earlier at UFC 255. Figueiredo defended his title with a first-round submission win over Alex Perez, while Moreno got a first-round win over Brandon Royval when his opponent dislocated his shoulder and got TKO’d as he lay defenceless.

The UFC then put together another title fight on just three weeks notice, which just added to what transpired in front of us.

It was a fast paced bout between both guys, with grappling and striking exchanges of the highest level. However in the third round, the fight was turned on it’s head when Figueiredo landed a front kick to the cup of Moreno. The Mexican was down and hurt and then the referee took a point from the champion, which when paired with Moreno winning the round tied the fight up at 28-28.

They then split a round each of the final two and the fight ended in a draw, but what we saw as the fight went on was that Moreno has the advantage later on.

His pace was fantastic and his gas tank never wavered, while he had plenty of success standing in the pocket and trading. The opposite could be said of ‘Deus de Guerra’ who was exhausted by the end of the fifth round.

His reason was that he struggled with food poisoning and almost pulled out of the fight in the hours leading up to the bout. But in the opening two rounds that didn’t seem to be an issue for him at all. He pushed a great pace, landed some good shots and was able to avoid Moreno’s best attempts of turning the fight ugly.

But in this rematch, he will need to push even harder than before. He is the scariest 125lber of all time without a doubt, with only one defeat on his record and 17 of his 20 career wins have come inside the distance.

Of those 17 stoppage wins, all of them have come inside the opening two rounds. That is a tactic he will need once more to be successful here.

Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil secures a rear choke submission against Joseph Benavidez in their UFC flyweight championship bout during the UFC Fight...

We’ve seen his power decrease as fights have gone on, with his gas tank emptying with each heavy handed strike gets thrown. With Moreno proving he can go the distance even on short notice and not struggling with it even on short notice, it definitely widens his window to win the fight.

With that said, without the points deduction there is a very clear argument that Figueiredo won the fight the first time around so he could adopt the same tactics. But if he is to solidify himself as the best of the two, he will want the finish and that means he needs to do it early on.

Use that frightening power and close the distance early and connect, make Moreno back-track and fear him. If Moreno steps forward and disrespects that power he will go to sleep but if the fight gets into the third round and beyond he will feel like he has the edge.

Figueiredo’s goal is simple, make the fight live up to his nickname. Make it a war and make it a war early.

Leon Edwards finally has a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz

It’s been a long time coming, but Leon Edwards finally has the chance to become a true household name in the welterweight division this weekend when he fights Nate Diaz at UFC 263.

The Briton comes into the fight unbeaten in his last nine fights in a row, with eight consecutive wins followed by a no-contest against Belal Muhammad back in March for an accidental eye poke.

Yet despite that run that has seen him undefeated since way back in 2015, he’s still almost an after-thought when you talk to some fans about the contenders of the welterweight division.

But now, he is the chosen one. Hand-picked by the fan favourite and arguably most popular fighter in the game Nate Diaz.

Since his classic double header with Conor McGregor back in 2016, Diaz has been incredibly selective of his opponents and reasons for fighting. He decided after losing the rematch to McGregor that he deserved money fights since he was part of such a huge drawing PPV, but the UFC didn’t really agree.

Nate Diaz reacts to his victory over Conor McGregor of Ireland in their welterweight bout during the UFC 196 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on...

They claimed he only got that because of his win in the first fight, with people tuning in for Conor’s redemption rather than to watch Diaz compete again. They were proved wrong.

After three years away, Diaz returned to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 and turned in a spectacular performance to get the win. But on top of that, he drew big money once again. While not in the main event that night, Diaz’s return was the hot topic after it was announced and was one of the biggest stories of the entire card – which is huge considering the main event was Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic 2.

After that fight he called out Jorge Masvidal, another guy who had taken his popularity to a new stratosphere with fight fans. The fight was made and because of the sheer fan reaction to it, not only did Dana White make a title belt specifically for the fight but it was the first non-title five round pay-per-view main event since his McGregor rematch.

Even though he lost that fight, the nature of the defeat made him even more popular. A doctor’s stoppage due to a cut after the third round gave everyone involved a sense of anti-climax and left fans thirsting for more of Diaz.

Now, almost two years later, he has hand-picked Edwards as his next opponent. According to Diaz, he wants to beat “the best of the best” and he sees Edwards as just that. He described him as a “bad motherfucker” and says that since nobody else wants to step up and fight him, he’ll gladly do it.

Edwards has found it notoriously difficult to find opponents in recent years. Despite beating Rafael Dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, Donald Cerrone and Vicente Luque throughout his run, he’s not been given a title shot or even a title eliminator up to this point.

The reasons at first were his ranking being too low, then he worked his way up and people said he wasn’t a big enough name. Now he’s got a name and ranking, COVID-19 and an eye poke have halted his momentum.

But this fight is a chance for him to make that leap. A win over Diaz is almost expected when you look at their recent fight history and styles, but it’s never a given. Diaz has earned his reputation as one of the most durable fighters ever and technically is gifted both on the feet and on the mat.

If Edwards is as good as he says he is, he should be able to beat Diaz though. If he does that, like he says he will, then there will be no reason for him to not get the next shot at Kamaru Usman.

He’ll have the attention of the world, he’ll have the ranking, he’ll have the name and he’ll have the results to back it all up. This is the chance he’s been waiting for, now he needs to take it with both hands.

Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz moved to UFC 263

History will have to wait an extra month to be made in the UFC as the welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz has been postponed.

The first ever five-round, non-title, co-main event was scheduled for UFC 262 later this month to serve under the vacant lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler.

However it has now been moved to June 12th at UFC 263, meaning we’ll have to wait for this banger of a fight.

According to ESPN‘s information, Diaz suffered a minor injury in training and rather than scrap the bout it has simply been moved to the following month’s pay-per-view event.

The injury is undisclosed but is said to be minor enough for the bout to not be in doubt at all and both fighters were happy to move it along.

Diaz will be fighting for the first time since his BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal in 2019, where he was beaten when the doctor stopped the fight after the third round due to a cut above his eye. Prior to that he had returned to the octagon following a three-year absence after a defeat to Conor McGregor by beating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 via unanimous decision.

Edwards on the other hand is on an nine-fight unbeaten run, having not lost since a defeat to the current champion Kamaru Usman way back in 2015.

‘Rocky’ had beaten Vicente Luque, Bryan Barbarena, Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and Rafael Dos Anjos before he saw three bouts with Khamzat Chimaev scrapped due to complications with COVID-19 on both sides.

He then took a short-notice fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 in March to end a near two-year absence from the cage, only to see the fight end in the second round due to an accidental eye poke and declared a no contest.

It’s believed that Diaz specifically asked for a fight with Edwards, with both men believing a win over the other should shoot them into title contention against Usman in the near future.

The fight will still be a five-round, non-title co-main event but will now serve behind two title fights at UFC 263 from Glendale, Arizona on June 12th.

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight championship in a rematch against Marvin Vettori in the same building where their first fight took place back in 2018, while Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet in a rematch of their own for the flyweight title too.

Figueiredo and Moreno completed a remarkable three-week turnaround at the back end of 2020 to compete for the title at UFC 256, with the bout declared a draw after ‘Deus de Guerra’ was deducted a point for a low blow.

UFC 262 will continue with the one title fight, while Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush will now serve as the co-main event.

Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori 2 set for UFC 263

Israel Adesanya will return to the middleweight division this summer to defend his 185lbs title in a rematch against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.

Adesanya suffered the first taste of defeat in his professional career last time out, moving up to light heavyweight to fight Jan Blachowicz in a bid to become a simultaneous champion. He found the step up too tough though as the legendary Polish power was able to stifle him and use his size to nullify him on the mat for a unanimous decision win.

Vettori has found himself on a five-fight win streak beating Karl Roberson via submission and then smashing through Jack Hermansson at UFC Vegas 16 and Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23 in unanimous decision wins most recently to put himself in the conversation for this bout.

The two will go head to head in a rematch from 2018, where Adesanya claimed victory in a split-decision bout that Vettori was grossly unhappy about.

The Italian protested the decision in the cage and hasn’t lost a fight since, while forever maintaining that he felt he won the first fight and is better than Adesanya. ‘The Last Stylebender’ would go on to beat Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa at UFC 253 after the first bout to be recognised as one of the best middleweights ever.

It was expected that Robert Whittaker would get the first rematch against Adesanya after defeating Darren Till on Fight Island, Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 and Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24 in convincing fashion and then called the Nigerian-born New Zealander out for a bout in September.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and UFC president Dana White, the organisation did offer Whittaker the fight first but the timings didn’t quite work out. Whittaker must quarantine for two weeks before he is able to go back to his family, and with the date being just eight weeks away he deemed it too short.

Adesanya was reportedly adamant about fighting in June to make amends for his March defeat at UFC 259 and thus Vettori was offered the fight instead. White has confirmed that Whittaker will get the next title shot as he is recognised as the number one contender and this would’ve been his fight had he been available.

UFC 263 already has another title fight scheduled for the card, with flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo defending his title against Brandon Moreno in a rematch from their draw in December at UFC 256 in what was one of the best fights of the year.

Figueiredo had some injuries that he needed to heal up after making a three-week turnaround for that fight, but both fighters are now ready to go and will co-headline the card in a double header.

Two more UFC title fights announced for UFC 261 and UFC 263

The UFC has announced two more title fights for upcoming cards later this year, with the women’s strawweight title and men’s flyweight title to be defended in April and June respectively.

The company announced last week that women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will step back in the octagon to take on Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 in April as the main event of the card. Shevchenko last fought at UFC 255 in November, beating Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision while Andrade knocked out Katlyn Chookagian at UFC Fight Island 6 to earn the number one contender status in her new weight class.

It’s now been revealed however that the April 24th card will also host another women’s title fight, as strawweight champion Weili Zhang will make her second title defence against former champion Rose Namajunas.

Zhang will return to the octagon for the first time since February 2020 at UFC 248, when she came out victorious in of the best women’s fights of all-time and the 2020 fight of the year against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas is returned to the octagon after losing her belt in 2019 at UFC 251, in a rematch against Andrade – who took the title from her and lost it to Zhang – which she won by split decision.

Two excellent strikers will be on display in that one and the women will take over the UFC for one night in April, in what will be the first time ever that two women’s titles have been defended on the same card in the company’s history.

Then in June, the male flyweights will finally run it back as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 263.

The two fought in a classic back in December at UFC 256, which ended in a draw after Figueiredo was deducted a point for a low blow in round three. Without the deduction, most people had the champion retaining the belt and ‘God of War’ revealed after the fight that he nearly withdrew after a stomach infection saw him hospitalised the night before the bout.

They will run it back on June 12th, with the location yet to be decided. Figueiredo fought on Fight Island last year to win the belt against Joseph Benavidez, before defending twice in Las Vegas at the APEX centre against Moreno and Alex Perez.

It should be one hell of a fight, with a full camp for both fighters as opposed to the three-week turnaround both guys had at the back end of 2020.