UFC 263 Betting Preview: Nick’s Picks
Pay-per-view action returns Saturday, featuring two rematches for championship belts. Middleweight Israel Adesanya moves back to his normal weight class to defend the belt against Italian Marvin Vettori. “The Italian Dream” patiently moved up the rankings since his last defeat, racking up five straight victories after a split-decision loss to Adesanya in April 2018. As the only fighter to take “The Last Stylebender” to a split decision, this rematch shapes up to be very competitive.
Flyweights Deiveson Figueredo and Brandon Moreno also meet once again in the octagon to rematch their draw decision from December 2020. A significant low-blow in the fight from Figueredo likely cost him the victory (as he was deducted a point), but Moreno feels confident he has what it takes to finally dethrone the champion.
Marvin Vettori +215
I believe Vettori is the toughest matchup for Adesanya in the weight class. He’s a big guy with tremendous and relentless wrestling ability. Significantly, he has also gone the distance in two separate five-round main events in the last six months, answering questions regarding cardio. I expect Vettori to implement his wrestling arsenal from start to finish. I keep thinking about the saying “hungry dogs runs faster”, and this perfectly fits Vettori’s mindset heading into this fight. Not only has he finally earned the rematch he’s been waiting for since his last loss to the same guy, but this opportunity is also for the title belt. As a large underdog, this is a pure value pick as this fight will be a lot closer than oddsmakers currently suggest.
Joanne Calderwood -140
At the current betting price, this line heavily favors Lauren Murphy’s current four-fight win streak. However, Calderwood has the wrestling chops to keep this fight standing against Murphy. Striking skillsets strongly lean as an advantage for Calderwood, and for that reason, I think she comes away with the victory with ease. I really do give Murphy props for the resurgence late in her career; however, the win streak ends this weekend.
Paul Craig +245
Similar to the Vettori pick, this is another value play. Jamahal Hill is a fantastic striker with plenty of promise in the light heavyweight division. Despite that, undefeated fighters tend to be overvalued, and in this case by too much. In my estimate, Craig is the toughest matchup Hill will have faced so far in his career. The combination of Craig’s wrestling and submission attacks matches up well against Hill, who wants to keep the fight standing. In early 2020, Hill fought wrestler Darko Stosic, winning two rounds out of three while giving up six takedowns. Craig is a class above Stosic and should give Hill similar issues. I understand this is another large underdog, but this fight will be a lot closer than the odds indicate.