UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori II – 6.12.2021 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori II. Tonight is an action packed pay-per-view headlined by the return of Nate Diaz and two highly anticipated rematches with undisputed gold on the line. Our analysis includes a pick for every bout from Anthony Marro, Nicholas Marro and GB. We also feature write-ups that will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first-round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for takedown defense and submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those two stats and instead values control time and reversals. This new year, DraftKings has also added a quick win bonus for victories in the first minute as well as scoring for non-significant strikes. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes into the late rounds and expect both to reach value. Optimal GPP builds very rarely stack the same fight but it can be a viable strategy in cash games.

As coverage continues, we will keep our Daily Play Action records up to date. Be sure to check out our reasoning though as records will not reflect confidence, we will be picking all fights regardless of if we are betting on them. I highly recommend using Bovada for their user-friendly format and awesome deposit bonuses if you want to bet on any of these picks!

Current Record

  • Anthony: 125-89-2 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 123-91-2 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 118-96-2 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 9:45 AM EST 6-12-2021

Early Prelims- Starts 6:00pm EST

Carlos Felipe -170 (DK $8700, FD $19) vs Jake Collier +140 (DK $7500, FD $10)

  • Anthony: The card opens with what should be a fun heavyweight fight between Carlos Felipe and Jake Collier. These are two rather low-level heavyweights that have not been the most impressive in their recent walks to the octagon. Felipe has been frustrating to watch as he tends to fade late and significantly lower his volume as the fight wears on. He wraps up opponents against the cage to stall clock and gain valuable control time in the judge’s eyes. As weird as it may seem, these are two guys that do not shy away from going the full fifteen minutes. Collier is a high-volume heavyweight who utilizes kicks well and can point fight point most opponents. The power advantage is with Felipe here, but we likely see a competitive back and forth between these two. Collier seems to be the bigger man and looks to be in far better shape than his past two appearances. It is really a coinflip, but I will side ever so slightly with Collier here. I believe he stays busier and wins this fight on the scorecards. Jake Collier by Decision
  • Nick: This is a low-level matchup between two plodding heavyweights. Carlos Felipe is coming off a solid win over Justin Tafa, but he still seems raw in his abilities. He hasn’t really shown enough urgency or precision on the feet to be much of a threat in this division. Felipe does have decent footwork and power, but he telegraphs most of his strikes. He doesn’t set traps or bait his opponents the way you would see from more advanced strikers. While this is certainly concerning for his trajectory in this division, he may be able to get away with it here. Jake Collier is a former middleweight coming off an impressive win over Gian Villante. He was dominant on the feet in that spot. He weathered early pressure from Villante and showed he could still put damage on opponents for the better part of fifteen minutes. As nice as that win was, he did eat a lot of damage and Villante is a shell of who he once was. Collier looked better at weigh-ins than we’ve seen him look since he debuted as a heavyweight. Still, it’s tough to get too excited about his physique here. While I’m really not confident backing either fighter in this spot, I’ll side with the true heavyweight in Felipe. Collier appears to be in better shape than he did his last time out, but I don’t expect he has the power to keep Felipe from pressuring him. It is not a confident play, but I’m siding with the favorite. Carlos Felipe by Decision
  • GB: Jake Collier by Round Two KO

Fares Ziam -125 (DK $8300, FD $16) vs Luigi Vendramini +105 (DK $7900, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next up is a lightweight bout between Fares Ziam and Luigi Vendramini. On paper we have a clash of styles between two hot young prospects in this division. It is a big test for both. Vendramini was picked apart and finished by Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and now draws yet another talented striker in Ziam. Smile Killer was a K-1 kickboxing champion at the age of 18. He should dominate this fight on the feet with the size advantage and far more precise striking than Vendramini. Grappling could pose some issues to Ziam in this bout, but I trust him to defend the frequent pursuit here in the larger octagon. In his previous two fights, opponents went just 8-23 attempting takedowns. He hit some excellent sweeps against Jamie Mullarkey and should get back to his feet rather quickly in this fight too. For that reason he is a very attractive play on FanDuel. I see the finish materializing for Ziam in this bout but even if it were to go fifteen minutes, he should emerge a rather clear victor. Fares Ziam by Round Two KO
  • Nick: We have a fun matchup here between two of the younger prospects there are at lightweight. Ziam is primarily a kickboxer and he does a good job utilizing leg kicks to keep his opponents at a distance. He’s coming off a solid win as an underdog versus Jamie Mullarkey. He was sharp on the feet in that spot and while he was taken down, he did a good job working back to his feet repeatedly. Luigi Vendramini is coming off an excellent knockout win over Jessin Ayari. He won that fight coming off a long layoff, and I’m comfortable saying Vendramini looked more explosive in that spot than we’ve ever seen him before. I’m liking the fact that during that time off Vendramini switched camps to Factory X. He has solid scrambling and defensive grappling as we saw in his fight against Zaleski dos Santos. Vendramini is a blackbelt in BJJ. He’s likely to shoot for takedowns on Ziam here and while I don’t expect they come easy – I do think he eventually finds the position he needs to pull off the upset. Ziam is going to have the advantage on the feet, but I don’t see this fight standing too long. Even if it does, Vandramini has an extremely powerful left hand. This is a tough one to gauge as both fighters are still very early in their development. However, I’m siding with the grappling advantages of the underdog. Luigi Vendramini by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Luigi Vendramini by Round Two KO

Steven Peterson -120 (DK $7800, FD $14) vs Chase Hooper +100 (DK $8400, FD $15)

  • Anthony: This is an interesting featherweight bout between Chase Hooper and Steven Peterson. The only fighter to miss weight yesterday was Peterson, coming in more than two pounds heavy. This looked like a tall task for the young Hooper, but a difficult cut should make his job quite a bit easier. He is a grappling ace that relies on submission attempts to win fights. The jiu jitsu advantage is almost always his, but striking is still very much a work in progress. He is still not a threat while standing, but it is great to already see improvements in Hooper’s striking defense and adaptability. I will roll the dice on him getting the submission win here, but this is certainly a fight that could make you sweat as a backer of either fighter. Peterson will likely start to fade as this fight wears on, if he does not tap first. Hooper makes a great DFS play given the low price and very high upside. Chase Hooper by Round One Submission
  • Nick: We have an interesting fight here between a highly regarded prospect in Chase Hooper and a fighter in Steven Peterson who hasn’t gone to war since 2019. Hooper has extremely advanced grappling ability for a 21-year old. If he can take this fight to the mat, he’s most likely going to look for Peterson’s back to score a submission. However, if a scrappy Peterson can stuff any takedown attempts and keep this fight on the feet he’s very live as an underdog. He is going to throw more meaningful strikes than Hooper, who is still very underdeveloped as a striker. Peterson’s power is fairly limited though and I do not think Hooper gets knocked out today. It is notable that Hooper recently started training with one of the best strikers in the UFC, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. While I don’t expect we see dramatic improvements in that facet of his game, we should see some. I don’t see Hooper scoring the finish in this spot, but I do think he can control position long enough to squeak out a win on the scorecards. It is also notable here that Peterson has never been submitted professionally. My confidence is low in this one, but I’m siding with Hooper. I expect he’ll show significant improvements on the feet here and potentially hand Peterson the first submission loss of his career. Chase Hooper by Decision
  • GB: Steven Peterson by Decision

Matt Frevola -220 (DK $8900, FD $20) vs Terrance McKinney +175 (DK $6900, FD $9)

  • Anthony: This lightweight bout between Matt Frevola and Terrance McKinney will likely be decided rather quickly. The matchup was put together on short notice after Frevola’s original opponent Frank Camacho was forced to withdraw. McKinney won an LFA main event just one week ago, but cut weight and steps right back into the cage for this opportunity. Two fighters won in their UFC debuts in Vegas last weekend after making the short notice jump from LFA, so he looks to continue that trend. All of his fights have ended quickly as McKinney often crashes distance and applies heavy striking pressure. He is extremely live in the first round of this bout and it would not surprise me to see him stop Frevola. I nearly picked McKinney to get this win. However, I seriously doubt he can survive much longer than five minutes. Frevola has the offensive grappling to really drain the newcomer and takeover late in this one. Both have high upside on FanDuel and DraftKings given how this fight likely plays out. Matt Frevola by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: Terrance McKinney is taking this fight on short notice, coming off three consecutive first round knockouts in LFA. His only losses in the last few years have come against fighters on the UFC roster (Woodson, Minner). He’s a powerful striker that comes out extremely aggressive and I do feel he’s live for a knockout here. Frevola has only been knocked out once, but he’s been knocked down several times by guys with far less power than McKinney. Frevola should have a significant grappling advantage in this spot though. As long as he doesn’t get too comfortable on the feet, I expect him to score the takedowns he needs to neutralize McKinney’s strengths and grind this one out on the scorecards. I’ll definitely have shares of both fighters for DFS purposes as they could both score well in a win. However, I’m siding with the favorite. I may have gone with McKinney here if he was not taking this fight on just over one week’s notice. Matt Frevola by Decision
  • GB: Matt Frevola by Decision

Pannie Kianzad -210 (DK $8800, FD $19) vs Alexis Davis +170 (DK $7400, FD $10)

  • Anthony: To close the early prelims we have a women’s bantamweight bout between Pannie Kianzad and Alexis Davis. This fight is going under-the-radar on such a stacked card, but Kianzad rides a three-fight winning streak into today’s matchup. In facing the veteran Davis here, she will once again test her standup against a rather well-rounded opponent. While Davis is serviceable everywhere, Kianzad has the clear advantage if this is a kickboxing bout. She lands strikes at a much higher rate than Davis, eats less, and lands with more power. It is likely a fight that goes to decision which makes it possible for Davis to get her hand raised, I just believe instead we see domination from Kianzad from start to finish. The price tag makes her tough to get to when building lineups but I do not mind a bet on her at the current odds. Davis is a pioneer of the sport but unfortunately her best years are behind her. Pannie Kianzad by Decision
  • Nick: Pannie Kianzad enters this fight coming off three consecutive wins. She’s a more technical striker than Davis, and while she doesn’t have much offensive grappling ability she’s shown competence on the mat against decent opponents. Her ground game seems to improve every time we see her fight and her size makes it easy to defend takedowns. Alexis Davis is extremely experienced. She’s a well-rounded fighter coming off a nice win over a well-regarded prospect in Sabina Mazo. She leaned on her grappling in that one, controlling position for the majority of the fight. She is certainly past her prime, but remains a good barometer for talent as a true gatekeeper in this division. Davis is a live underdog here if she can make this fight ugly. However, Kianzad seems to be entering her prime as Davis is far removed from her own. I see Kianzad stuffing the majority of Davis’ takedown attempts and picking her apart at range. I’m not loving the price, but I’m pretty confident in the favorite getting it done here. Pannie Kianzad by Decision
  • GB: Pannie Kianzad by Decision

Preliminary Card- Starts 8:00pm EST

Mosvar Evloev -230 (DK $9200, FD $20) vs Hakeem Dawodu +185 (DK $7000, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Opening the prelims is a lowkey banger at featherweight between Mosvar Evloev and Hakeem Dawodu. The undefeated Evloev has methodically disposed of four UFC opponents thus far. He draws a tough out in Dawodu here today, somebody that can potentially give him problems in the standup. We already knew Evloev was a talented striker hailing from Tiger Muay Thai, but now he has been at American Top Team honing the other aspects of his game. He is a monster in this featherweight division as is his opponent here. Both are heavily muscled and it shocks me to see them both make weight so easily. Dawodu is a live dog in this spot, grinding out many decision wins in the past and having sufficient power to knock out opponents. However, I have to side with the far more technical Evloev. The balance of distance striking and high-pressure wrestling makes him a very tough puzzle to solve. I believe this will be his fifth decision victory in a row, but his fifth win nonetheless. His high output makes him a viable play on DraftKings and FanDuel, despite the fact this likely goes fifteen minutes. Mosvar Evloev by Decision
  • Nick: We have an interesting stylistic matchup here between two up-and-comers at featherweight. Evloev is a former M1 Champion and one of the more hyped prospects coming out of Russia. He has already scored notable wins over Nick Lenty, Seung Woo Choi, Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy. He is a Master of Sport in Greco-Roman wrestling and fully content to grapple with anyone in this division. Evloev seems a bit overpriced everywhere so I’m not sure how much exposure I’ll have, but I do feel like this type of fight is his to lose. Dawodu is the more powerful striker of the two and the more technically sound as well. If this fight were to primarily stay standing, he’d be very live as an underdog. I don’t want to undersell Dawodu here as he is a very fun fighter to watch and talented on the feet. However, I expect Evloev to lean on the clear grappling advantages he has in this spot. As long as he keeps his chin tucked, he should cruise to another win. Mosvar Evloev by Decision
  • GB: Mosvar Evloev by Round Three KO

Joanne Calderwood -140 (DK $8200, FD $17) vs Lauren Murphy +115 (DK $8000, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Next up is a women’s flyweight bout between Joanne Calderwood and Lauren Murphy. Calderwood is a talented striker that has put together some good UFC performances in her long tenure. She can really do good work in the clinch and put damage on opponents, a rather rare feat at this weight class. Murphy poses a very difficult threat having the ability to control opponents with ease on the mat and really hold her own when standing. I can completely understand fading the 37-year-old in this bout, but Calderwood is only two years younger than Murphy. The value is certainly on the side of the underdog who has won four consecutive bouts. If Murphy can make this fight ugly, I think she pulls out the victory. She will fight for her backers money and has grit not often displayed in women’s MMA. I will get most of my Calderwood exposure on DraftKings here while playing Murphy in just a few FanDuel builds. Neither are threats to break this slate with massive DFS scores. Lauren Murphy by Decision
  • Nick: We have an excellent women’s match-up here between two top contenders at flyweight. Murphy’s greatest strength has always been her toughness. She has no real standout skill, but she’s solid pretty much everywhere and her sheer grit and determination often carries her to victory. Calderwood has a solid Thai-clinch and does a good job striking at close range. She has more power than a lot of the other girls in this division, but her volume is what usually helps her win when her fights hit the scorecards. If Murphy pursues takedowns here there’s a chance she can pull off the upset. However, it’s rare we see Murphy really fight anywhere but on the feet. This is one of the tougher fights on the card and one that I could see going either way. However, I expect Calderwood’s volume to be enough in this one. Joanne Calderwood by Decision
  • GB: Joanne Calderwood by Decision

Eryk Anders -155 (DK $8600, FD $17) vs Darren Stewart +130 (DK $7600, FD $13)

  • Anthony: This rematch between Eryk Anders and Darren Stewart will hopefully reach a more satisfying conclusion than their first meeting. They stepped into the cage just two months ago in a bout stopped due to an illegal strike from Anders. He was clearly winning that fight prior to landing a knee that resulted in the No Contest decision. Now they look to settle the score at light heavyweight, 20 pounds up from their tilt in March. That extra allowance should benefit Stewart more than Anders given his frame and weight cut challenges. Anders looks out of place against most 205ers and really belongs at middleweight. I could see him pouring it on Stewart the same as he did in round one, but things ought to be different this time in terms of the defensive approach. I do not think a clean shot lands as early for either one of these brawlers despite having felt the other’s power. We should see a more complete mixed martial arts fight here and when it comes to technical ability, I still give the nod to Darren Stewart. Anders lacks any real impressive victories and I am having difficulty gauging his true ceiling. I will side with Stewart to get his hand raised here in what is hopefully a very different fight than their first. Darren Stewart by Round Two KO
  • Nick: This is a rematch of a fight that took place back in March, which resulted in a No Contest due to an Eryk Anders illegal knee. Stewart looked great for the first minute or so of that fight, but he didn’t do enough to put Anders away. Anders caught a second wind and started pouring it on Stewart until he threw an illegal knee that ended the fight as a no contest. Had he not thrown that knee, it seemed extremely likely he was going to win via knockout. Eryk Anders recently switched camp to Fight Ready, which represents a major upgrade over his time spent training in his home state of Alabama. The first match-up took pace at 185, and this one will be at 205. To me this favors Anders as he was the much bigger fighter of the two at face-offs and weigh ins. If Stewart can slow this down and make things ugly, he’s definitely live for the upset. However, I think it’s more likely we see Anders once again lean on his size and power to put Stewart away. The line is starting to feel a bit too wide, but I’m backing the favorite. Eryk Anders by Round Two KO
  • GB: Darren Stewart by Decision

Drew Dober -150 (DK $8500, FD $18) vs Brad Riddell +125 (DK $7700, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The featured bout is a lightweight scrap between Drew Dober and Brad Riddell. A ranking is on the line for the winner of this one as both look to cement their place in the top 15 of this division. Riddell is largely viewed as a kickboxer, hailing from the same gym as champion Israel Adesanya. He has however stacked quite a few wins as of late, displaying both impressive striking and good defensive grappling. Dober will pose a true test to him in that discipline as he is capable of taking opponents to the mat. He has not had the opportunity to do so in some time against high level competition, but Riddell is certainly a fighter he would prefer to get off his feet. I just believe the technical striking of Riddell is ahead of Dober by quite a bit. Riddell’s 60 percent takedown defense should prove sufficient here and I see him outclassing Dober on the feet. He hits harder and poses a much greater threat. It is certainly a close fight but the low price on Riddell is also appealing for DFS. On FanDuel I expect him to hit value even in a decision loss thanks to takedown defenses. Do not overexpose yourself to a bout as volatile as this, but I do see the underdog getting his hand raised. Brad Riddell by Decision
  • Nick: This is a Fight of the Night candidate and one of the most exciting bouts we have on this card. Both of these guys like to stand and strike. Riddell will throw more volume and he carries a bit more technical ability. However, Dober is the more powerful striker and more likely to end the fight inside the distance. Drew Dober has improved dramatically over his last few fights. He throws extremely powerful and precise strikes; his timing seems better than ever and the power in his counters make him a threat against almost anyone. He is coming off a tough loss to Islam Makachev, but he won’t have to worry about the holes in his wrestling that cost him in that particular match-up. Makachev is one of the best wrestlers on the roster and Riddell is a kickboxer by trade. In spite of this fight taking place where he wants, Riddell poses a difficult test for himas his technical striking ability is more advanced than any of Dober’s recent opponents. This should be an excellent fight to watch for however long it lasts, but I expect Dober to find Riddell’s chin here. He should come out firing and overwhelm Riddell before he’s forced into a chess match. Drew Dober by Round One KO
  • GB: Drew Dober by Round One KO

Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST

Jamahal Hill -290 (DK $9400, FD $21) vs Paul Craig +230 (DK $6800, FD $8)

  • Anthony: To open the main card we have Jamahal Hill taking on Paul Craig at light heavyweight. The media has kept a close eye on these two all week as it seems Hill is taking this fight rather personally. Having punched his ticket on Dana White’s Contender Series, the undefeated Hill has looked very sharp in his three UFC bouts thus far. I was impressed by his knockout of Ovince Saint Preux last December and certainly believe he can turn Craig’s lights out too. The size advantage is noticeable, and Hill is the far more technical striker than Craig. While the Scot finished Shogun Rua most recently with strikes, we often see him initiating grappling exchanges with foes in the cage. He is known to pull guard and fish for wins off his back. I see Craig content to stand a bit longer than usually in this grudge match and that ultimately being to his detriment. Hill should pick him apart on the feet and be aware enough defensively to fight out of any compromising positions. Craig has come through as the underdog before but I think Hill gets the job done here today. He is expensive on both sites but has the potential to put up a monster DFS score with a quick finish. Jamahal Hill by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Jamahal Hill comes into this fight undefeated at 8-0. He’s one of the more intriguing prospects we have at light heavyweight. He has outstanding speed for this division and throws meaningful strikes with impressive accuracy. He uses his length well and he does a good job peppering his opponents to keep them at a distance and on the defensive. Hill throws serious volume as a striker, especially for a light heavyweight. He averages nearly eight strikes landed per minute, so if he can pull off a win here there’s a good chance he’s an optimal DFS play. Paul Craig is another one of these guys who is usually aggressive early. He has good enough conditioning to go hard for fifteen full minutes. Hill will outclass Craig as long as this fight stays standing, but Craig will definitely be the better grappler in this matchup. The key to this fight will be whether or not Craig can take Hill down. If he can, he’s very live for the upset via submission. However, I expect Hill to keep this on the feet just long enough to find that knockout. Three of Craig’s four professional losses have come via KO. Since Craig is live for the submission win I’ll hedge a bit in DFS, but Hill is the rightful favorite. Jamahal Hill by Round Two KO
  • GB: Paul Craig by Round One Submission

Belal Muhammad -225 (DK $9000, FD $19) vs Demian Maia +175 (DK $7200, FD $12)

  • Anthony: Next up is a welterweight bout between Belal Muhammad and Demian Maia. A lot of eyes will be on this matchup between two rather recognizable names in this stacked division. Muhammad is being rewarded for his No Contest against Leon Edwards with the veteran grappler here. He was getting picked apart early in that March bout, but stepping in on short notice garnered appreciation from the UFC brass. Maia is largely considered the greatest MMA grappler of all time, boasting 14 submission victories. He most recently lost to Gilbert Burns and fights the final bout of his contract here this evening. Performance has not been the issue when it comes to retaining Maia, it is just the fact he is now pushing 44 years of age. In this matchup I expect Muhammad to test his striking more often than we are accustomed to. He has excellent takedown defense and is usually the fighter deciding whether to stay standing or hit the mat. While I do believe Muhammad could find success against Maia grappling, the safe bet is to keep things upright and trade with a man not known for his power. I expect him to get an easy decision victory here. Maia certainly is live to grab a leg or arm at some point and potentially finish Muhammad, but I expect the Roufusport product to fight with urgency and bounce back in a big way here. Belal Muhammad by Decision
  • Nick: Demian Maia was once a top contender in this division. He has some of the best BJJ the UFC has ever seen. He has 14 professional wins via submission, as well as notable professional victories over the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Neil Magny, Carlos Condit and Chael Sonnen. He’s coming off an ugly loss to a current top contender in Gilbert Burns, but prior to that he had won three consecutive fights. Muhammad is one of these guys that has no real standout skill, but he’s advanced enough everywhere that he should be able to hang with ranked fighters at welterweight. Muhammad is the more technical striker and I expect him to win most exchanges on the feet here. He’s shown a strong wrestling base against inferior grapplers, but I don’t expect him to try to engage that part of his game against a decorated jiu jitsu practitioner like Maia. Instead, I see him doing everything he can to keep this fight on the feet. He should be able to pressure Maia consistently until the cardio starts to fade. At 42-years-old, Maia is unlikely to pose the same threats he once did. As long as Muhammad can keep Maia off his back, he should win convincingly here. Belal Muhammad by Decision
  • GB: Belal Muhammad by Decision

Leon Edwards -550 (DK $9500, FD $22) vs Nate Diaz +380 (DK $6700, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The featured bout will take place over five rounds at welterweight with Leon Edwards taking on one of the sport’s greatest stars, Nate Diaz. It is just over eighteen months since Nate’s last bout but it has felt like an eternity for fans. The fight week has been extremely fun with him in attendance and he seems ready as always to go into battle. He draws Leon Edwards who is coming off a no contest due to eye poke. He looked extremely sharp in the first round against Belal Muhammad but this is a much more difficult fight for Leon. Edwards dwarfed Muhammad inside the cage but Nate matches him physically, even having a two inch reach advantage. Hopefully this fight remains on the feet, where two very talented southpaws could trade either at range or in the pocket. I imagine the pace is much higher for Edwards in the opening rounds and much higher for Nate as this fight goes late. If Edwards elects to utilize offensive grappling, I seriously doubt he racks up control time on Nate or stays busy in the guard of a 2nd degree jiu jitsu black belt. It is an extremely winnable fight for Nate and he is an attractive bet at the current odds. He was a +120 against Masvidal but surfaces as an enormous underdog this week. I am backing him not as a delusional stan, but as somebody that can really picture him winning. This is the first time we will see Edwards in the championship rounds and I know I can trust Nate’s cardio more than his. Nate hand picked this fight for a reason and he has yet to be bested by any fighter in a matchup like this. I do not see Edwards finding a finish but he remains viable on either site due to this fight taking place over five. Nate won’t find his way into many of my builds just because I would rather bet him straight, but he can certainly pay off that price tag. Nate Diaz by Round Five Submission
  • Nick: I’ll start this off by letting you know that Nate Diaz is one of my favorite fighters of all time. He personifies the sport. He’s extremely tough and relentless in his style and he’s more than willing to eat shots to throw them. He’s extremely talented on the mat as a decorated BJJ black belt. He has legendary cardio and notable wins over Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. He hasn’t fought since 2019, but he finds himself in a brutal spot here against one of the top contenders in the world at 170. Nate is more of a natural 155’er. As a fan, I can’t say I’m overly excited by the likely outcome of this match-up. Nate’s cardio and toughness always makes him a live dog, but Edwards is truly one of the best in the world at 170. Unlike Diaz, Edwards is a true welterweight. I expect his size and strength to play a key role here. Edwards has not lost a fight since he fell to current champion Kamaru Usman. He is extremely well-rounded, he has a powerful wrestling base, sneaky power and is excellent in the clinch. At this point in their respective careers, Edwards should outclass Diaz almost everywhere. Diaz will have the better BJJ, but it’s going to be difficult for him to get this fight to the mat. It seems far more likely that he’s content to stand and trade. If this holds true, Edwards should be able to pick him apart standing. It pains me not to take Diaz here. I’ll definitely be cheering for him and I could see myself placing a straight bet on him just for fun. That being said, Edwards is the biggest favorite on the card for a reason. As great as Nate Diaz may have once been, Edwards is great today. I really hope I’m wrong, but I’m siding with the favorite. Leon Edwards by Decision
  • GB: Leon Edwards by Round Four KO

Deiveson Figueiredo -220 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Brandon Moreno +175 (DK $7100, FD $17)

  • Anthony: In the co-main event we have a highly anticipated rematch for the flyweight championship between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. Their first fight took place last December and won my Fight of the Year vote. It was an incredible display of heart for both fighters as they traded shots for a full twenty-five minutes. Figueiredo clearly won at least three rounds in my eyes, but the fight was scored a draw due to a point deduction from the champion due to a low blow. Figueiredo revealed that he was dealing with health issues prior to that bout and claims that this one will be finished much earlier. I side with the champion in this spot not for that reason, but for the fact he already dominated their prior bout. Moreno was the more technical fighter and had several impressive grappling exchanges but lacked the power of Figueiredo quite clearly. The champ has superior boxing and lands much harder than Moreno. That discrepancy leads me to believe that Figueiredo successfully powers his way to another title defense. He should feel more comfortable closing the distance this time around and I see him pouring on more than the challenger can handle. The media tour for Moreno has made me into a fan during these bouts, but ultimately Figueredo is the better fighter. He was last to the scales during yesterday’s weigh ins but tends to rehydrate well and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I trust him here. And still. Deiveson Figueiredo by Round Three KO
  • Nick: We have a rematch here for the flyweight title. Their last match-up resulted in a draw, a Fight of the Year candidate in which Figueiredo likely would have won had he not been docked points for a groin strike. Brandon Moreno showed extreme toughness in that spot, but there were rumors surrounding that matchup suggesting Figueiredo was sick in the hospital the night before. Figueiredo made weight just on time for this match-up, with only 40 seconds to spare. He’s finally paying a nutritionist and at weigh-ins for this fight he looked better than he ever has before. It was a bit concerning that it took him so long to weigh-in, but he showed no visible struggle and in spite of the delay he weighed in perfectly at 125 pounds. The last time these two fought it was an outstanding fight and extremely close. However, I’m buying into this narrative that Figueiredo was fighting sick. While Moreno will likely have the better technical boxing here, Figueiredo has a serious chin on. Additionally, he is far more powerful and I expect he remains able to slice right through the majority of Moreno’s guard. The champ is so aggressive that opponents struggle to get into a rhythm against him. He pushes a ridiculous pace and does a good job circling away on the defensive. Moreno is one of the better wrestlers at flyweight and he does have an excellent gas tank. If he can lean on his grappling to stay out of trouble, he might be able to take over late – similarly to how he did the first time these two faced. It wouldn’t shock me to see Moreno pull off the upset if Figueiredo gasses himself out early. However, I think it’s far more likely that he finds that finish. And Still. Deiveson Figueiredo by Round Three KO
  • GB: Brandon Moreno by Round Three KO

Israel Adesanya -275 (DK $9300, FD $23) vs Marvin Vettori +220 (DK $6900, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The main event sees Israel Adesanya make his return to middleweight in a defense against the challenger Marvin Vettori. This rematch is three years removed from their original meeting, one that saw an errant scorecard gifted to Vettori. That fight was quite clearly won by Adesanya and now with a belt on the line he will certainly set the record straight. Drawing inspiration from Usman’s defense of Masvidal, Adesanya seems locked in this fight week and ready to get back on track. He suffered his first career loss to Jan Blachowicz in his one-off at light heavyweight but now looks to complete his third defense of undisputed gold. He is miles ahead of Vettori on the feet with the Italian posing little to no threat while standing. We saw Vettori catch Hermansson early in their tilt, but Adesanya will not be there to get hit. We should see the champ masterfully chop apart Vettori from range here. The sudden pressure Vettori often employs will likely get him countered hard in this bout. More than likely we see Vettori fishing for takedowns often but I trust the takedown defense of Adesanya now fighting an opponent smaller than him again. I do not see any grapplers threatening Adesanya while still taking fights at middleweight. This performance will look similar to that of Adesanya against Costa, and I once again am all over him in this spot. Vettori’s power does not compare to that of Costa and we saw the champion neutralize him with ease. He is miles ahead of these guys. And still. Israel Adesanya by Round Two KO
  • Nick: We have another rematch here in the main event, this time for the middleweight title. The challenger Marvin Vettori has been training at Kings MMA under Rafael Cordero. He’s still only 27 years-old and seems to get better every time we see him fight. He’s coming off impressive wins over Kevin Holland and Jack Hermansson, but he still seems hung up on his loss the current Champion Israel Adesanya. Adesanya clearly won the first two rounds on the feet the last time they met, and Vetorri won the third by scoring a timely takedown. Since that win, Adesanya has established himself as a star in the sport and a great champion at 185 pounds. Vettori is a well-rounded grappler with a strong wrestling base and decent ground and pound ability. As impressive as he may be on the mat, Adesanya is one of the best defensive strikers in the history of the sport. He was taken down multiple times his last time out against Jan Blachowicz, but that fight took place at light heavyweight and there’s a good chance Adesanya was outsized by more than 25 pounds there. In most of his fights, we see Adesanya pick his opponents apart at range on the feet. He’s a gifted kickboxer with outstanding accuracy. Adesanya doesn’t carry massive power, but he relies on timely combinations to overwhelm his opponents and when he does he’s capable of finishing a fight inside the distance. Vettori’s clearest path to potential victory would be to take Adesanya down and control position. However, Adesanya sports an excellent 82 percent takedown defense. I expect him to utilize excellent kickboxing to keep Vettori from shooting on him here. As long as he can manage distance, he should win this fight striking at range. If Vettori is scoring frequent takedowns he has a chance to pull off the upset. However, it seems far more likely Adesanya’s outstanding striking ability keeps this in his world. And Still. Israel Adesanya by Round Two KO
  • GB: Marvin Vettori by Round Three Submission

*Anthony, Nick and GB play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and although they express their opinions, they may also implement other plays and strategies without notice