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.
(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)
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!
COPA COMBATE: Brackets Announced For One-Night Tournament, $100,000 on the line
Combate Global today announced the official brackets and first, or quarterfinal stage, matchups for its coveted “COPA COMBATE” one-night, eight-man, $100,000 grand prize bantamweight (135 pounds) tournament on Sunday, Dec. 12, live on Paramount+ from Miami, Fla.
Paramount+ live coverage of “COPA COMBATE” will begin with a pre-show at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT.
In one bracket, Carlos Briseño (13-2) of Mexico will face off with Cristian “El Scorpio” Barraza (7-3) of Chile, and Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (10-5) of Ireland will battle Jose “The Mercenary” Zarauz (22-8-1) of Peru.
In the opposite bracket, Leo Muniz (6-1) of the U.S. will square off with Pierre “The French Hawaiian” Daguzan (6-5) of France, and Kevin Cordero (12-2) of Spain will collide with Luciano “El Aguila” Ramos (8-6) of Argentina.
The winners of the two quarterfinal bouts in each bracket will square off with each other in the semifinal stage of the tournament, and the two semifinal stage fight winners will face each other in the championship stage of action.
Carlos Briseño vs. Cristian Barraza
The 31-year-old Briseño of Mexico City holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a member of the Bonebreakers fight camp. He enters La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, on a two-fight win streak after earning a unanimous decision over Adam Martinez in what was Briseño’s Combate Global debut on October 1.
The 28-year-old Barraza of Santiago is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who has notched all 7 of his professional career wins by way of submission. He is coming off of a first round (2:01) armbar submission of Mexico’s Diego Silva on October 22.
Frans Mlambo vs. Jose Zarauz
Mlambo, a 30-year-old protégé of famed trainer John Kavanagh and former International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) world championships gold medalist, will become the first fighter in history to represent Ireland in the “COPA COMBATE” tournament. To date, Mlambo has produced 8 of his 10 career wins via (T)KO or submission, and will enter “COPA COMBATE” on a two-fight win streak.
Fighting out of Lima, the 28-year-old Zarauz holds the most professional experience of any of the “COPA COMBATE” tournament entrants, and will enter La Jaula for the second time in 2021 after securing a unanimous decision win over Fernando Noriega in a regional event in Peru on July 17.
Leo Muniz vs. Pierre Daguzan
The 31-year-old Muniz is a resident of Tobyhanna, Pa. and a native of The Bronx, N.Y. He put together back-to-back victories over Team Alpha Male member Hector “El Matador” Fajardo on May 29 and August 13, respectively, to secure an entry to “COPA COMBATE.”
At 35 years of age, Daguzan, a native of Versailles, Yvelines and resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, is the eldest competitor in the tournament field. He holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Carlos Puente, Jr. in Combate Global action on July 16.
Kevin Cordero vs. Luciano Ramos
The 22-year-old Cordero of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, is the number one pound-for-pound rising star out of Spain, and the youngest of the eight tournament entrants. He has claimed 9 of his 12 professional wins via (T)KO or submission, including his last start and Combate Global debut on September 3, when he produced a first round (4:59) submission (triangle choke) of veteran battler Ricky Bandejas.
Ramos is a 25-year-old finisher who hails from Concordia, and who relocated to Stockton, Calif. last year in order to train with the team founded by famed MMA siblings Nick and Nate Diaz. Since making the leap to the Diaz camp, Ramos, who has achieved six of eight career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, has been victorious in both of his MMA bouts in 2021, most recently defeating Keilen Fantroy via first round (1:54) submission (triangle choke) on July 31.
In two previously announced women’s bouts that will be featured on the “COPA COMBATE” card in addition to the tournament, Criszaida Adames (5-1) will throw down with Caroline “Taz” Gallardo (5-4) at strawweight (115 pounds), while Lucero “La Loba” Acosta (2-2) will square off with Rosselyn Chavira (1-0) at flyweight (125 pounds).
The tournament will also be supported with two “reserve” bouts. Should any of the tournament’s quarterfinal stage winners be unable to continue his bid in the semifinal stage due to injury, the winner of one of the tournament reserve bouts will replace the injured winner in the tournament’s semifinal stage.
In one tournament reserve bout, Felipe “Pipe” Vargas (7-2) of San Jose, Calif. via Bogota, Colombia will take on unbeaten Diego “El Niño” Gomez Manzur (4-0) of Santiago, Chile and, in the second tournament reserve contest, Ricky Bandejas (14-6) of Brick, N.J. via Coconut Creek, Fla. will face Alan “Beche” Cantu (9-7) of Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.
Jose “Froggy” Estrada headlines Combate Global Dec. 3 show against Martin Bravo
Combate Global today announced a six-fight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, live on Paramount+ on Friday, Dec. 3 from Miami, Fla. In the featherweight (145 pounds) main event, hard-hitting American star Jose “Froggy” Estrada (7-2) will square off with The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 reality television series winner, Martin “El Toro” Bravo (12-3).
The 30-year-old Estrada of Oxnard, Calif. secured his career-best victory to date on July 2, defeating seasoned Nicaraguan star Leonardo “Chimmy” Morales by way of majority decision.
The result marked Estrada’s only victory to date that has gone to the judges’ scorecards. All six of his other wins have come via (T)KO or submission within two rounds of action.
Hailing from Rosarito, B.C., Mexico and fighting out of Newton, N.J. the 28-year-old Bravo made his Combate Global debut in 2021, scoring a first round (1:09) TKO (punches) on veteran Andrew “The Beast” Whitney on September 17.
In a featured strawweight (115 pounds) contest, Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (8-8) of Dublin, Calif. will face Camila Rivarola (3-3-1) of Montevideo, Uruguay via Stockholm, Sweden.
The other featured main card bout will pit Tommy “The Spaniard” Aaron (9-5) of Los Angeles, Calif. against Ivan “Choko” Castillo (21-13) of Ensenada, B.C., Mexico at welterweight (170 pounds).
In preliminary card action, Jonathan Sepulveda (9-3) of Isabela, Puerto Rico will throw down with Adrian Garcia (6-1) of Miami, Fla. at a catchweight of 130 pounds.
“Slick” Rick Zelada (1-0) of Los Angeles will meet Gustavo “Volcan” Navarrete (0-1) of Chandler, Ariz. at bantamweight (135 pounds).
Elizabeth Avila (0-2) of Mexico City, Mexico will look for her first professional victory in an atomweight (105 pounds) fight against Tamika Jones (0-0) of Las Vegas, Nev.
Paramount+ live coverage will begin with a Combate Global pre-show at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. CT.
Sergio Pettis looking to follow in his brother Anthony’s footsteps and earn two belts
Sergio Pettis won the Bellator Bantamweight World Championship belt opposite Juan Archuleta back in May. He will defend his belt for the first time against Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 on December 3rd.
The younger Pettis has big plans and wants to match his brother’s legacy. Anthony Pettis captured WEC and UFC in his long and storied career, but Sergio feels there is space on the mantel place for a belt from an Asian promotion (he spoke to MMA Fighting about the defense and his dreams).
“I think it would be a great opportunity for me to cross-promote,” Sergio Pettis said of an overseas move. “Anthony has a WEC belt and a UFC belt, and it would be awesome to have a Bellator belt and Rizin belt as well, to have all the belts in all the organizations – it would feel like a completion.”
Horiguchi has done some cross promotion with Bellator and actually took the belt from Darrion Caldwell before vacating and going back to Rizin. In Sergio’s eyes he holds the true belt because The Gooch injured his knee and could not defend the Bellator belt and by the time he healed up he was back in Rizin again. This is a welcome fight for Pettis who feels this fight will be the capturing of the true belt.
“I feel like the title in general is on the line. I think this is a fight where it’s really going to show who has the real championship in my division.”
The Rizin belt isn’t on the line, but Pettis does not rule some cross promotion at Flyweight or Bantamweight.
“It would be an honor to go overseas and get that opportunity,” he said. “But as of right now, my main focus is next week. I’m not looking ahead of Horiguchi at all. This is one of my toughest fights.”
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