UFC tips: Our knockout 3 best bets for UFC 263 this weekend

The UFC is off to Arizona this week and our MMA maestro Simon Head has 3 top tips for all the action.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The UFC will once again play to a full house as the octagon heads to Glendale, Arizona with an absolutely stacked fight card set to produce plenty of thrills and spills on Saturday night.

Here are our three best value bets for the big fights this weekend…

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5.15am: ISRAEL ADESANYA VS. MARVIN VETTORI

Reigning UFC middleweight champion Adesanya may have suffered his first career defeat last time out when he unsuccessfully tried to claim the light-heavyweight title, but as a middleweight he’s been untouchable, and the smart money is on the Kiwi striking sensation continuing that trend this weekend.

Adesanya faces familiar opposition in the form of Italian Marvin Vettori, whose form has seen him elevated to top contender status with former champion Robert Whittaker not ready to return and British contender Darren Till recovering from injury.

Vettori has wanted a rematch with Adesanya ever since their first meeting went to a split decision in 2018. Now, in a happy coincidence, the pair are set to return to the same city for the rematch, with Vettori looking for revenge and Adesanya looking to stamp his authority on the division once again.

Vettori is big, strong and aggressive, but his overall game hasn’t changed all that much since their first meeting. A few rough edges may have been refined in his game, perhaps, but he’s basically the same fighter Adesanya faced three years ago.

Adesanya, however, is a different beast altogether. His takedown defence has improved markedly, and his striking seems even sharper. In short, he’s a more highly-evolved mixed martial artist and a far more dangerous fighter than he was when he faced the Italian in only his second UFC fight.

Adesanya earned the decision win in the first fight, but the gap in class is likely to be significantly larger in the rematch, and a stoppage victory in the later rounds looks like the value pick here.

BET: Adesanya to win by KO/TKO was originally set at 15/8, but has now been boosted to a Power Price. That’s too good to ignore.

4.45am: DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO VS. BRANDON MORENO

The flyweight title battle between Figueiredo and Moreno at UFC 256 wasn’t just one of the best fights of 2020, it was one of the greatest flyweight fights in UFC history. The pair went back and forth through five breathless rounds in a fight that ended in a majority draw, thanks to a point deduction for champion Figueiredo for a low blow.

It means there’s plenty of unfinished business to attend to, and, after their first bout was almost too close to call, this is one of those fights where a glance at the underdog might not be the worst idea.

Defending champ Figueiredo is the betting favourite, but Moreno showed in the first fight that he has everything in the locker to take Brazilian’s best and keep firing back, and should return more confident and even better prepared than he was for their first encounter.

It’s such a close fight I’d usually suggest giving the markets a miss and just sitting back to enjoy it, but Paddy’s Power Prices have served up a superb value pick to make the bout even more interesting.

BET: Moreno was originally priced a generous 10/3 to win the fight on the scorecards, but has now been boosted. That’s superb value in a virtual coin-flip matchup.

4.15am: LEON EDWARDS VS. NATE DIAZ

The event will also feature a third five-round fight, with welterweight contender Leon Edwards taking on UFC fan-favourite Nate Diaz in a huge matchup at 170 pounds. For Edwards, it’s the chance to build some star power by defeating one of the most popular fighters in the UFC while, for Diaz, it’s an opportunity to gatecrash the welterweight title picture.

But, despite Diaz’s popularity, it’s Edwards who is the massive favourite heading into this fight, and rightly so.

He hasn’t lost since 2015 (to current champ Kamaru Usman) and he’s been on the cusp of a title shot for the last two years, only for the COVID-19 pandemic to halt his momentum.

Victory over Diaz should build up some steam once again, and there’s a solid chance of a late-rounds stoppage for the Brit here.

BET: The odds get very interesting from Round 3 onwards, with a stoppage in Rounds 4 and 5 looking like outstanding value bets. Half-stake on each would offer a nice spread, and give you superb value.

VALUE PICKS: LEON EDWARDS TO WIN IN ROUND 4 (12/1) AND ROUND 5 (16/1)

UFC 263 tips

5.15am: Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori – ADESANYA to win by KO/TKO
4.45am: Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno – MORENO to win on points
4.15am: Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz – EDWARDS to win in Round Four & Round Five

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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