UFC 263 Betting Preview and Predictions

Nate Diaz UFC
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UFC 263 Betting Preview and Predictions

June 12 promises to be a cracker.

UFC 263 includes two title bouts, and a tasty Welterweight match-up between Leon Edwards and fan favourite Nate Diaz.

They are three fights all worthy of headlining a PPV event alone, so we've provided a preview and prediction on each. Take a read below and also see what the bookmakers are fancying!

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Israel Adesanya v Marvin Vettori

So often is the case in the UFC when two promising fighters clash early in their career, they usually end up meeting again further down the road. This is the narrative that follows the upcoming rematch between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori, but this time with the Middleweight title on the line.

It was April 2018 when the pair first came to blows, in what was only Izzy's second ever fight in the organisation. Just over three years to the date, it's quite obscene to think what he's achieved in that time-frame since.

The Last Stylebender heads into the rematch on the back of his first ever pro MMA loss, failing in his mission moving up to Light Heavyweight, in a bid for the elite 'champ-champ status'. His attention returns to defending his Middleweight strap, a division at the start of the year that felt a little stagnant for the 31-year-old, simply due to his dominance in clearing out contenders.

Number one ranked Robert Whittaker was unavailable for a quick-turnaround, allowing Vettori to step-up as the next man to try and take gold from the reigning king.

Fight breakdown

The beauty of a rematch means that when it comes to analysing the upcoming fight, we have groundwork to pass judgement on. Although it was three years ago, the first match-up still gives a strong indication as to how it will play out in June, particularly from a stylistic viewpoint.

Despite Vettori's recent comments, the first bout was relatively straightforward for Izzy. The first two rounds were fought as a kick-boxing fight, with the Nigerian maintaining range well, utilising his head movement to slip punches, moving around the Octagon on the back foot. The Italian was arguably more the aggressor, but his punches did little damage, with his only success coming through a few nasty body kicks.

Those opening rounds were to an extent, 'typical Adesanya', lurking for counters and also being able to time and land a few hard hitting jabs. It must be noted though, that Vettori is a durable figure, and he never once looked in danger of being stopped.

The third round, however, is where the challenger can take motivation from. The Kings MMA trainee highlighted a hole in Adesanya's game, getting him to the ground and making him look a tad helpless on his back. It was very reminiscent to Israel's most recent bout, where the thicker and more muscular Jan Błachowicz pinned him down and won rounds via ground control.

We have no doubt that the Italian Dream will pursue this avenue, and perhaps consider it his most likely method for a victory. Over five rounds, he should look to accumulate points from the judges from doing exactly this, as on the feet, we expect Adesanya to once again be too slick and too sharp for him.

The betting odds reflect such a thinking, giving the champion a short outright price at 4/11, with the challenger being a 2/1 underdog.

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Get the bonus cheques ready

Brandon Moreno exceeded all expectations when he pushed Deiveson Figueiredo to a majority draw back in December, with both fighters picking up well deserved bonus cheques for their epic Fight of the Night. Some even labelled it their Fight of the Year.

Our notion to Moreno 'exceeding expectations' with a draw is not a knock on the Mexican, as he is as tough as they come, it stems more from the fact that Figueiredo simply didn't win. The latter merely came away with a scratch from his five fights prior, nearly picking up Fighter of the Year in 2020 for his three victories - the second triumph over Joseph Benavidez will forever be one of the most brutal wins in UFC history.

His invincible aura was brought to a streaking halt by Moreno, setting up a very intriguing rematch come June.

Deiveson Figueiredo v Brandon Moreno Odds and Fight Breakdown

If you haven't watched the first bout between these two, stop reading, and go and switch it on. Taking the middle of the Octagon, the two feisty figures went back and forth trading in the pocket, never shying away from what their opponents may potential hold in their fists.

The stats do the talking - 137 significant strikes for Figueiredo in comparison to Moreno's 132, with the former narrowly outlanding his opposition too, 147-139. The champion did look to receive more of a reaction from Moreno with his power strikes, but the Mexican never wavered, continuously stepping inside with quick combinations, also threatening that left high kick when pulling away.

His body shots looked to take a toll on Figueiredo, who momentarily wobbled in the fourth - as a fighter that is forced to cut so much weight though, his best work tends to come early on, before a gradual fade. On the feet, the power looked to lie with the Brazilian, with Moreno often shooting and forcing a scramble on the mat. Despite going toe-to-toe with the champ, we expect some adjustments to come from Daico.

It won't be an easy task, but an improvement in Figueiredo's conditioning should see him get the job done and potentially even close the show. He is the short 2/5 favourite to win, compared to Moreno's 15/8.

Mainstream Success Beckons for Rocky

Has there ever been an unluckier UFC fighter than Leon Edwards? An eight fight win-streak and still there seems to be a lurking inability to fully grasp the love of the MMA community, with this lack of hype holding back his momentum to kick on and gain a title shot.

Edwards' coming out party in England was scrapped in March last year, with his bout against Tyron Woodley being cancelled due to COVID-19. His last fight did little to help his cause too, with it being ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke.

So, Rocky needs a big statement win. Well, the names don't come much more lucrative than Stockton's own Nate Diaz. The 36-year-old is making a return to the Octagon (as has been the narrative with his most recent fights), and his wave of supporters will no doubt be following him.

This is the bout we are most looking forward to on the card, as the winner will be well positioned to make a claim for Kamara Usman.

Leon Edwards v Nate Diaz Fight Breakdown

Not only is Diaz the perfect name for Edwards, but he potentially suits up to be the perfect match-up too. For those not familiar with Rocky, he is no doubt one of the most technical fighters on the UFC roster - a polished striker with excellent takedown defence, formulating a gameplan to defeat the 29-year-old remains quite the mystery.

So much so that his last nine opponents have failed to do so. Diaz, who adopts a stand-up boxing stature, likes to pop the jab and wear down his opposition. When visualising this match-up, it's likely that we see the American be the one to step forward and try and take the centre of Octagon. Edwards, though, favours to do his work from the outside, chopping the lead leg and attacking with his strikes in bursts.

To some extent, Diaz's preference to come forward will be welcomed by the Brit. Although it may sound like we are not giving the American his due diligence, the match-up on paper looks to favour Edwards. The bookmakers seemingly agree, with Diaz being as large as 3/1 to win outright. Rocky comes in at a very short 2/9.

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