UFC 263 goes down this weekend in Glendale, Arizona. The main card features two cracking rematches, between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori in the main event, and flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno in the co-main event. The card also features a five round fight between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz. Here are the keys to victory for each athlete at UFC 263.
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori 2
Israel Adesanya won his first meeting with Marvin Vettori by split-decision in 2018, also in Glendale, Arizona. The two have come a long way since then. Vettori is a tough test for the champion, and the UFC 263 main event should be a great one.
Keys To Victory For Israel Adesanya
Keep His Distance: Adesanya’s a master when it comes to managing distance with his long frame to keep his head away and safe from his opponents, firing mean shots at them at the same time. Against a guy as aggressive as Vettori, who would surely be looking to close the distance quickly and shoot for takedowns, Adesanya’s management of range would be the key for him to keep the fight standing.
Counter Attack: The kickboxer from New Zealand is also one of the best counter attackers in the game. He’s a “you miss, I hit” sort of a fighter, who loves to draw his opponents in with his feints, and land shots at their exposed chins. Vettori’s definitely not on the same level as Adesanya when it comes to striking, and ‘The Last Stylebender’ has the skills to draw him in, and land his killer blows. Vettori has never been finished in his career, and has a solid chin, but he’s still human, after all.
Keys To Victory For Marvin Vettori
Close The Distance: While Adesanya would look to maintain distance, Vettori would look to close in quickly to shoot for takedowns. Even if he doesn’t get his takedowns, he should still pressure Adesanya and try to put him on the back foot. Vettori can’t afford to allow Adesanya any sort of space inside the cage. He needs to put relentless pressure on his opponent, and keep him confused with his level changes. Adesanya thrives when he’s settled, which the Italian surely doesn’t want.
Keep Going For The Takedowns: Vettori’s obvious path to victory at UFC 263 is getting the fight to the ground. Does he have the skill to do so? Definitely. ‘The Italian Dream’ might struggle to land takedowns early on, but he should persistently look to grab a hold of his opponent. He should try and take Adesanya down in the center of the cage, where he won’t have a fence to lean on.
They will be fighting in a 30 foot cage, so it does favour Vettori as much as it favours Adesanya. The Kings MMA representative isn’t as big as Jan Blachowicz, who is the only man to beat Adesanya in MMA, but he’s built like a tank, and should use his strength to his advantage.
"Be careful what you ask for…" 🏆
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2021
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno 2
The first fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno ended in a majority draw, with one judge siding with the champion, who would have won the fight if it wasn’t for a point deduction due to a groin kick.
However, Figueiredo says he doesn’t want to leave any doubt this time around that he’s the best flyweight on the planet, and that he’s levels above Moreno, who has a lot to prove too.
Keys To Victory For Deiveson Figueiredo
Be Aggressive: Figueiredo is probably the hardest hitting 125 pounder in the UFC, and he fights hard and finishes the job in no time. He’s rarely ever on his back foot. Moreno is a very durable guy, and he showed his granite chin in their first fight, but Figueiredo should put pressure on him right from the word go, and look to win the first couple of rounds, because Moreno starts slow but tends to improve as the fight progresses.
Look For Submissions: Moreno is primarily a grappler, and he’d surely look to take the fight to the ground. However, Figueiredo isn’t a slouch on the ground either, and should look to catch his opponent in a quick leg lock or a guillotine. Figueiredo has 8 submission wins to his name, and he surely has the skills to add one more.
Keys To Victory For Brandon Moreno
Use His Reach: For Moreno to win this fight, he needs to exercise his reach. He’s a long range fighter, who should maintain distance, tag Figueiredo with a left hook and keep moving. He should constantly move to frustrate Figueiredo and make him miss his shots, which would empty his gas tank quickly like the last time around. The Brazilian has only gone all five rounds once in his career, against Moreno, and he looked exhausted by the end of the fight. The key for Moreno is to not stand and trade with ‘Daico’.
Look to Grapple: While he might struggle with taking the fight to the mat with Figueiredo, it’s a strategy he should apply to break the Brazilian’s rhythm on the feet. Figueiredo has got an excellent submission game, but Moreno can handle it. ‘Deus Da Guerra’ feels very comfortable when he’s in range and swinging his venomous right hand. Moreno should look to mix it up to try and break his rhythm.
A flyweight showcase just days away 💢
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2021
Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz
Leon Edwards is a tough comeback fight for Nate Diaz, but the Stockton native doesn’t like freebies anyway. He’s returning to the Octagon after two years, against the number three ranked welterweight, with championship-level capabilities. Though a hard one for Diaz, it still makes a lot of sense.
Keys To Victory For Leon Edwards
Leg Kicks: Edwards is one of the best strikers in the welterweight division. He’s fast, agile, smart and very compact, and shouldn’t have a problem hurting Diaz with his punches. However, with a five-inch leg reach advantage, Edwards should maintain his distance and chop up Diaz’s legs with his kicks, before finding his openings in the boxing range at UFC 263.
Grapple: Diaz has better grappling credentials, but Edwards is an excellent grappler in his own right, with nasty elbows from the top. Should he somehow find himself in trouble on the feet, Edwards should go for the takedown and use his strength and youth to his advantage against his foe at UFC 263.
Keys To Victory For Nate Diaz
Volume striking: Diaz consistently overwhelms his opponents with his relentless pressure and boxing. He needs to control the range and pressure Edwards into vulnerable spots and making mistakes. It won’t be easy, but it’s also not impossible.
Use His BJJ: Diaz isn’t a great wrestler, but he’s an excellent submission grappler. Edwards doesn’t have the same amount of BJJ experience or skills, so if Diaz ends up on his back, he should stay active and work for submissions. He shouldn’t allow Edwards any kind of space.
Leon Edwards v Nate Diaz is just 7 days away 🔥
Five-rounds coming your way at #UFC263.
Bring it on!pic.twitter.com/ph9IIWp3w5
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) June 5, 2021
What are your predictions for UFC 263?