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UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Preview

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Just like pay-per-view events throughout this year, UFC 263 is set to deliver on all cylinders. A stacked card of rising talent is topped off by a pair of grudge title rematches. The main event will see Israel Adesanya look to defend his middleweight title for the third time against Italian challenger Marvin Vettori. Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno are also set for a rematch of their flyweight title classic, which ended in a draw. If that weren’t enough, #3 ranked welterweight Leon Edwards will welcome Nate Diaz back into the fold in a 5 round feature.

Let’s take a deeper look into this card!

NOTE: all odds are accurate as of the time of writing.

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(c) Israel Adesanya (20-1) vs (#3) Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) 2 – UFC middleweight championship bout

3 years after their competitive throwdown in Arizona, Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori will return to the scene of the crime for a rematch, this time with middleweight gold on the line.

Following an unsuccessful bid at capturing the light-heavyweight belt, Nigeria’s Adesanya is returning to 185lbs. His split decision win over Vettori may have been close in the eyes of many, but he has thoroughly dominated the majority of his opponents since that day. His striking prowess has led him to fan favourite status. Expect a classic ‘Stylebender‘ performance: filled with diverse attacks and flamboyant defense.

Going undefeated in his 5 fights since his loss to the now-champ, Italy’s Vettori is determined to bring the belt home on June 12th. A combination of dominant wrestling and powerful punches have left the likes of Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland with losses on their records. Seemingly ready for war, expect an ultra-aggressive Vettori to chase the finish early.

ODDS: Israel Adesanya (-250), Marvin Vettori (+200)

(c) Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) vs (#1) Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) 2 – UFC flyweight championship bout

Looking to finally to settle the score after a razor thin draw, these two flyweights will duke it out again for 125lb supremacy.

Making his star on the base of lethal power and faultless aggressiveness, Deiveson Figueiredo seemed indestructible. His draw against Brandon Moreno may have halted that slightly, but his performances in his wins are a pleasure for all fans. His 85% finish rate should tell you all you need to know. ‘The God of War’ has promised to end things early and violently this time around.

Despite a string of losses earlier in his tenure, Brandon Moreno has made an incredible UFC run since his 2019 return. Explosive takedowns and creative striking techniques pitted the Mexican in a championship bout with Figueiredo in 2020, to which he gave a spirited effort. Now, he will look to end things decisively and bring the belt back to Tijuana.

ODDS: Deiveson Figueiredo (-250), Brandon Moreno (+200)

(#3) Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) vs Nate Diaz (20-12) – 5 round welterweight featured bout

Making history in the first 5-round non-title main card bout, Leon Edwards will look to make his case for a title shot when he takes on veteran superstar Nate Diaz.

Finally on the cusp of a title shot after 7 years in the UFC, it’s been a long wait for Birmingham’s Edwards. Multiple cancelled fights and unfortunate results have left him in a state of limbo. Now, he will get a chance to showcase his elite striking and dominant wrestling against a high-profile name. A win will firmly set ‘Rocky‘ up for a rematch with champion Kamaru Usman.

Though frustration in fight offers has led to inactivity, Nate Diaz is finally ready to return to competition. His size, unbelievable cardio, crafty boxing and creative BJJ have led him to becoming a household name. Motivated to make a splash in the welterweight title picture, expect the classic “no fucks given” attitude from Stockton’s favourite son.

ODDS: Leon Edwards (-500), Nate Diaz (+380)

(#9) Demian Maia (28-10) vs (#12) Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) – welterweight bout

Surging Belal Muhammad will look to crack the top ten at 170lbs when he takes on prolific submission ace Demian Maia.

At 43 years old, many expected Demian Maia to have left his fighting career behind. However, this Brazilian veteran still has the ability to choke anybody at 170lbs out. His jiu-jitsu prowess has led him to a total of 14 career submissions.

Though a short notice no-contest against Leon Edwards may have stifled his momentum slightly, Belal Muhammad is still on fire at welterweight. A modern mix of boxing and wrestling have led to wins over Randy Brown, Lyman Good and Dhiego Lima. Muhammad steps into the ring with one iintention: to make you ‘Remember The Name‘.

ODDS: Demian Maia (+200), Belal Muhammad (-250)

(#14) Paul Craig (14-4-1) vs (#15) Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC) – light-heavyweight bout

Light-heavyweight hopefuls Paul Craig and Jamahal Hill will square off in the hopes of making a title case for 2021.

Though his UFC run started off mixed, Scottish mainstay Paul Craig has amassed a 3-0-1 record in his last 4. His strong jiu-jitsu game is what he’ll be looking to implement come Saturday night, along with a newly improved striking game. Determined to become world champion within 2 years, expect the very best from ‘Bearjew‘.

A hot prospect and an alum of DWCS, there’s a lot of hype around Jamahal Hill. The 30 year old is undefeated with 4 finishes by KO (excluding a TKO overturned for marijuana). His long frame and finishing ability has led to comparisons to the likes of Jon Jones, but whether or not those are accurate will be proven this weekend for ‘Sweet Dreams‘ Hill.

ODDS: Paul Craig (+240), Jamahal Hill (-303)

(#13) Drew Dober (23-10, 1 NC) vs Brad Riddell (9-1) – lightweight bout

Two 155lb scrappers in Drew Dober and Brad Riddell will duke it out in the featured prelim of this stacked card.

A professional since 2009, Drew Dober is currently sitting on 3 wins in his last 4 fights. This 34 fight veteran has taken on likes of Beneil Dariush, Islam Makhachev and Alexander Hernandez at both 155lbs and 170lbs. Now ranked at #13, the Nebraskan will be looking to pick up his 11th career knockout.

Hailing from the infamous City Kickboxing camp in New Zealand, Brad Riddell has made shockwaves in the lightweight division. Since his debut in 2019, the former pro kickboxer held a record of 59-10 before compiling 9-1 record in MMA. ‘Quake‘ will be looking to pick up his first ranked win.

ODDS: Drew Dober (-139), Brad Riddell (+110)

(#14) Movsar Evloev (14-0) vs (#15) Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1) – featherweight

Undefeated Russian prospect Movsar Evloev will take on highly-touted KO artist Hakeem Dawodu.

Seemingly on the path to gold, Movsar Evloev has received massive support from his fans during his UFC run. The Russian has picked up 4 wins inside the promotion to extend his undefeated record to 14-0. His strong wrestling game has led him to wins over notable names like Mike Grundy and Lando Vannata.

51-5 across amateur and professional Muay Thai, Hakeem Dawodu came into MMA with buckets of experience. With his only career blemishes being a draw and a loss to Danny Henry, the Canadian has won 5 straight in the UFC. His KO power combined with accuracy and speed has made him a dangerous force at 145lbs.

ODDS: Movsar Evloev (-250), Hakeem Dawodu (+200)

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What do you think the ‘Fight of The Night‘ will be? Who do you have your eye on? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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PFL 4 | Clay Collard and Alexander Martinez look to pick up another 3 points

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‘Cassius’ Clay Collard once again steps into the PFL Cage on June 17th, this time, facing off against Alexander Martinez, who himself, picked up 3 points in his first season outing. The 4th event of the season will take place at the Overtime Elite Arena, in Atlanta, Georgia.

In Collard’s first bout of the 2022 season, he took on PFL newcomer, Jeremy Stephens, and not only picked up the unanimous decision 3 point win, he dominated in what was a fight of the year contender. In round 1 of their bout, Collard weathered the storm, as he was caught with a few of ‘Lil Heathen’s’ big signature strikes.

(Credit: MMAJunkie.usatoday.com): Clay Collard lands a big left hand on Jeremy Stephens

After round 1, the Team Bonafide product started to find his rhythm and began striking in combinations, putting Stephens on the back foot.

Collard managed to bounce back from last seasons semi final loss to Manfio, picking up the 3 points, whereas Stephens fell to a 6 fight losing skid, coming up short in his PFL debut.

Alex Martinez also picked up 3 points in the first Lightweight bouts of the season. He defeated Stevie Ray via unanimous decision, getting himself back into the winning column. Martinez’s 2022 season has already equaled his last in which he only picked up 3 points in his 3 season bouts.

PFL’s 2021 Lightweight season champion, Manfio, is also on the card, facing off against Aubin-Mercier, who himself, picked up 3 points, but is sitting at 5th place. Manfio will hope to get the job done early, and will be keeping a look out for the Collard vs Martinez result, in anticipation of a rematch with ‘Cassius’ Clay Collard.

Another man who will be keeping a close eye is ‘Showtime Pettis’. The human highlight reel is currently sitting top of the Lightweight ladder after scoring a first round triangle choke over Myles Price in early May.

Clay Collard will look to put the pressure on as per usual, adding more points to his tally, securing his place in the post season tournament.

UK fans can catch the action as always on Channel 4 from 2:00am, with the prelims live and available on the Channel 4 YouTube channel. How do you see this one playing out?

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Frans Mlambo Out, Arturo Vergara In For May 29 Combate Global Event

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Frans Mlambo, the number one contender in Combate Global’s bantamweight division, will be replaced by hard-hitting Arturo Vergara (2-0 MMA; 3-1 Kickboxing) of Los Andes, Chile via Miami.  Vergara will challenge Martinez of Mexico City, Mexico in a bantamweight non-title bout.

Combate Global today announced a new main event for its show on Sunday, May 29 in Miami, Fla., due to an abdominal injury sustained by Ireland’s Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (13-5), who had been scheduled to challenge reigning Combate Global World Bantamweight (135 pounds) Champion David “The Black Spartan” Martinez (6-1) for Martinez’s title.

Combate Global will announce television programming details as well as the complete fight card for the event on Tuesday, May 24.

“We wish Frans a full and speedy recovery,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren, “and are excited to debut Chile’s Arturo Vergara, who is coming off an incredible, nine-second knockout!  I have a lot of respect for Arturo stepping up because David Martinez is as tough an opponent as they come.”

Unbeaten to date under MMA rules, Vergara produced a stunning, nine-second knockout via a flying knee strike of Cody Schieve on May 6. The speedy win followed another first round (2:21) TKO (strikes) that Vergara notched in his MMA rules debut against Steven Orozco on February 19.

Prior to his first MMA start, Vergara had competed exclusively under kickboxing rules, amassing over 80 bouts as an amateur, and a 3-1 record as a professional. The 23-year-old Martinez of Mexico City will enter La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, for the first time since he was crowned world champion one year ago, on May 29, 2021.

A member of Team Bonebreakers, Martinez defeated three consecutive opponents – including championship round adversary Francisco “Cisco” Rivera, Jr. via second round (0:17) TKO (head kick and punches) – in one night, to become world champion.

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UFC London | 5 Fighters Who Have To Be On The Card

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Immediately after UFC London earlier in the year, the ball started rolling towards a second UK event in 2022 after Dana White made it clear he wanted to come back soon. Whilst the year’s first event at the O2 Arena delivered one of the best non-PPV events in recent history, there’s still more ground to cover. Aspinall vs Volkov was stacked with home fighters but there are still a handful that missed out on fighting in front of the UK.

Here are five UK fighters that deserve a chance to fight at the O2 Arena after missing out the first time. Not that we’re complaining if the likes of Paddy Pimblett and Jai Herbert show up on this card also.

5. Dom Wooding

Yes it is true, we will never stop banging this drum. After defending his Cage Warriors bantamweight title in December of last year, we had our fingers crossed that London would come around in time for Dom Wooding. The ‘Black Panther’ didn’t get the call up on that occasion but absence has only made the heart grow fonder. This is the time for Dom Wooding to fight in the UFC and if you don’t believe us, maybe ‘The Last Stylebender’ can change your mind.

4. Mason Jones

Mason ‘The Dragon’ Jones has had quite a stop and start UFC career since joining the promotion as a double champion in Cage Warriors. The Welshman is 1-1-1 in the UFC so far and would have picked up some decent momentum if his fight with Alan Patrick hadn’t been stopped due to an accidental eye poke in a fight he was winning comfortably. A win over late notice replacement David Onama, who recently picked up a first UFC win of his own, has got Jones back on the right path after a tough introduction to the UFC against Mike Davis. Jones always delivers great fights due to his high pressure and output style and a win in London could be exactly the kind of moment he needs to really put the past behind him and push on in the UFC.

3. Lerone Murphy

For the vast majority of UK fight fans, Lerone Murphy came out of nowhere when he debuted in the UFC. Now on a 3-fight win streak after his debut resulted in a draw at UFC 242, Murphy has been putting on increasingly impressive performances every time he has stepped foot in the Octagon. Still yet to fight in front of UK fans, ‘The Miracle’ will have a huge fight on his hands in his next outing as he looks to step foot in the rankings of the stacked featherweight division.

2. Davey Grant

Davey Grant has really made a name for himself in recent times as a must watch fighter who will steal a main card. After chaining back-to-back finishes, Grant may have lost two of his last three fights but his stock in the UFC has risen massively. His fights with Marlon Vera and Adrian Yanez put Grant on the map when it comes to value for money fighters. Now back in the win column after his 3rd round finish over Louis Smolka at the weekend, Grant said in his post fight interview about making a quick turn around and potentially fighting in London. We know we are asking for a lot with the card already being incredibly busy but Davey Grant opening the main card with a barnburner is sure to blow the roof off of the O2 just like the last time the UFC came calling.

1. Nathaniel Wood

Luck has not been on Nathaniel Wood’s side as of late. Three cancelled fights in a row meant he missed out on the first London card even after he was found a replacement opponent. An illness forced Vince Morales out of their bout which seemed to be opening the event and setting the tone for the evening with the return of ‘The Prospect’ in front of his people. After going 4-2 as a bantamweight in the UFC but losing to two top fighters in John Dodson and Casey Kenney, Wood has announced he is moving up a weight class since his fight in London fell off. Nathaniel Wood deserves this chance to fight in London after losing out at such short notice last time around and we can’t wait to see how he stacks up amongst the rest of the 145 pound division.

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