75 Minutes of Fun, UFC 263 Predictions
I'm trying to think of a family of fighters in which the MMA world literally bends the knee to like the Diaz bros. Sure, the Gracies are royalty, but the Diaz brothers have become gods of war in a world that is full of self-anointed gods of war. But with the news of Nick's possible return to the ring, and Nate making his long awaited return (which was supposed to happen a month ago), the fans are once again singing the praises of Stockton's favourite sons.
As much as Izzy's return to 185 is noteworthy, it's almost getting overshadowed by Nate's non-title fight against Edwards. It's crazy really, but he's a fighter in a sport full of athletes, and the fans show their appreciation. Speaking of Izzy, after an unsuccessful bid at the 205 belt he returns to take on a familiar foe in Vettori. The build-up has been annoying really. The pair sound like school boys trying their best to one up the other. Sad stuff.
We can't forget the much anticipated rematch between Deveison and Moreno. The two brawled it out in their first encounter, which happened to be an instant classic. It'll be fun to see how they follow up the og matchup. Rounding out the card, Maia looks to make history against Belal Muhammad, and the feisty Scotsman Paul Craig will look to dispatch the up and coming Jamahal Hill. FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!!
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori
The build-up to this fight has been ugly from all viewpoints. The trash talk stinks, the fight itself isn't really all that interesting, and to be quite honest it's been overshadowed by Nate Diaz. Now, you can disagree with that last statement, but I don't think you'll find many people who have enjoyed the D-level trash talk between the two sides. It's always a pleasure to watch Izzy, but listening to Vettori the last few weeks has been unbearable.
Besides all that, the rematch between these two will probably look a lot like the first fight. Izzy will stick and move, throwing his patented precision strikes, while Vettori sets a blazing path to the inside to make this a dog fight. Both men have improved, but their styles remain mostly the same. The question is; can Izzy keep Vettori from taking him down in the later rounds? Or will the Italian have his way with his grappling?
As much as the champ thinks the first fight wasn't all that close, it most definitely has been a spark plug for Vettori's very existence. If Marvin can stay patient and buy his time, he may be able to do what Jan did to Izzy just a few short months ago. That is a big if though, and I don't think Vettori is as good as Jan, so me thinks Izzy will be able to pick the Italian apart from range, possibly ending the fight in the middle rounds.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya, 3RD RD TKO
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
The first fight between these two was an all-time classic. Both guys dished out and ate some punishment, and in a division that has had a hard time gaining traction, this may just be the biggest fight in the division's history. Deiveson had been a wrecking ball before he fought Moreno. Basically walking through all comers on his way to the belt. However, the Mexican warrior showed off that fighting spirit and turned a lot of doubters into believers.
Personally, I think Moreno won the first fight based off of the point deduction, but that doesn't mean shit. The champ said he was sick, and I'm inclined to believe him, so we can wipe the slate clean and start with just how well Figueiredo has taken to the role of villain. The man is just born to be a bad guy, I mean the dude was a part-time hair stylist, how much more evil does it get? A lot a of pent up hatred lies within him from nagging old bitties I'm sure.
I figure this fight plays out a lot like the first one, however with a healthy champ I think the end result is much more violent. Moreno is a likeable enough guy, I just don't think he has the firepower to get the job done without the assistance of the referee. However, after my Garbrandt prediction from a few weeks ago, I can't exactly say I have my finger on the pulse of reality.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo, 2ND RD TKO
Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz
Diaz comes into this fight a massive underdog. In fact, he's the biggest underdog on the card which is probably fair given the amount of success Edwards is riding coming into the fight. Quite honestly, Rocky has been the most snakebitten fighter I've seen in a long time. Simply put, no one wants to fight him, hell only a crazy man truly would...enter Nate Diaz.
Nate has always been a tad overrated. His brother Nick is a legit legend of the sport by weight of his accomplishments, meanwhile Nate has built his entire fame off of the McGregor win. Listen, I love a Diaz scrap as much as the next man, but he is severely out matched here. Edwards is bigger, stronger, faster, and more diverse. Other than surely outlasting him, I don't see a way for Nate to win.
However, the man has defied the odds many times before, and with this being a five round contest anything is possible. I just see this fight playing out much like the Masvidal tilt did. Diaz will eat some big shots, talk some trash, get cut, and the fight will be stopped. Or something similar to that. It will be an insanely entertaining fight, but I think Rocky finally gets his full due come nights end.
Prediction: Leon Edwards, 3RD RD TKO
Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad
Both of these guys are coming off pretty bad stoppages. Maia got completely flatlined by Burns, and Muhammad was on the receiving end of one of the worst eye pokes I've ever seen. It was so bad it still looks as though his eye has yet to fully recover, which is pretty scary. But at the end of the day I feel like this fight just comes down to timing. Maia is old and on the way out, and Belal seems to be hitting his stride despite the recent loss.
Father time catches us all, but if Maia can get this fight to the mat early things could get very interesting. It should also be noted that if Maia wins this fight he'll tie Donald Cerrone for the most wins in UFC history.
Prediction: Belal Muhammad, Decision
Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
Besides the main event, this fight seems to have the most tension for some reason. Hill is flying high and is still undefeated, meanwhile Craig is coming off of the biggest win of his career. I think most believe Hill is going to end this one early, however I think with Scotland in the Euro's, Craig will draw inspiration from his kinfolk. Bearjew will make this one ugly for the rising prospect and ultimately get the finish.
Prediction: Paul Craig, 1ST RD SUB
Rest of the Card
Dober def Riddell
Anders def Stewart
Calderwood def Murphy
Dawodu def Evloev
Kianzad def Davis
McKinney def Frevola
Peterson def Hooper
Vendramini def Ziam
Felipe def Collier
2021 Predictions Record: 82-56-2