1. #1
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    Best bets for UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2 👊

    Best bets for UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2


    Two titles plus a first-ever five-round, non-title fight, all on one card. If you're on the East Coast, bring coffee.

    Both incumbent champs are granting rematches and will enter the cage as roughly 2-1 favorites. The prior history of close fights has nudged Deiveson Figueiredo's challenger, Brandon Moreno, to be less of an underdog in the rematch, while Marvin Vettori will challenge Israel Adesanya as a similarly-sized 'dog. Does either have a chance? We think so.

    Early prelims start at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, prelims are at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, and the main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on PPV.
    Odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

    Middleweight title fight: Israel Adesanya (-260) vs. Marvin Vettori (+210)

    Tale Of The Tape

    Last fight weight class Light heavyweight Middleweight
    Age 31 27
    Height 76 72
    Reach 80 74
    Stance Switch Southpaw
    Analyzed minutes 161 124
    Stand-up striking offense
    Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 11:0 1:0
    Distance knockdown rate 5.8% 0.4%
    Head jab accuracy 33% 34%
    Head power accuracy 34% 38%
    Total stand-up strike ratio 1.1 1.0
    Striking defense
    Total head strike defense 74% 77%
    Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 100% 100%
    Wrestling and grappling
    TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.02 0.24
    Takedown accuracy 0% 46%
    Advances per takedown/top control NA 1.2
    Opponent takedown attempts 57 33
    Takedown defense 82% 79%
    Share of total ground time in control 22% 72%
    Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.30 0.39
    The dynamics of the rematch are much the same, with Adesanya displaying superior strike and fade sniper tactics and a tendency to drop opponents with seeming ease. Meanwhile, Vettori presses the pace with an iron chin, willing to take a little damage while pouring on his own.

    The first fight resulted in a split decision, and both young fighters have only gotten better in the three years since. But the key to the matchup will be whether Vettori has improved his wrestling enough to do to Adesanya what Jan Blachowicz was able to do in his recent light heavyweight title super fight against Adesanya. And that means changing levels.

    Vettori is already the more likely grappler on paper, but that's not saying much for anyone facing Adesanya. The champ prefers to stand and trade at all costs, and he has historically shown strong takedown defense. But Vettori may have improved his standup since last facing Adesanya, which could better open up opportunities to land takedowns. And in his last fight, Vettori landed 11 takedowns against rangy striker Kevin Holland, spending the majority of five rounds dominating on the ground. That experience could build the confidence Vettori needs to stifle Adesanya for enough time to win rounds on the cards.

    The matchup is closer than the odds suggest, and the public market could back Adesanya to push his price further. The value play is on Vettori and the overs.

    E+ recommends: Money-line lean on Vettori +200 or more.

    Flyweight title fight: Deiveson Figueiredo (-230) vs. Brandon Moreno (+190)

    Tale Of The Tape

    Last fight weight class Flyweight Flyweight
    Age 33 27
    Height 65 67
    Reach 68 70
    Stance Orthodox Orthodox
    Analyzed minutes 114 141
    Stand-up striking offense
    Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 8:0 2:1
    Distance knockdown rate 6.5% 0.9%
    Head jab accuracy 42% 30%
    Head power accuracy 45% 33%
    Total stand-up strike ratio 0.8 1.0
    Striking defense
    Total head strike defense 58% 68%
    Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 100% 99%
    Wrestling and grappling
    TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.31 0.41
    Takedown accuracy 50% 45%
    Advances per takedown/top control 1.2 0.5
    Opponent takedown attempts 44 37
    Takedown defense 61% 68%
    Share of total ground time in control 54% 75%
    Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.62 0.19
    Second verse, same as the first? On one hand, Moreno fought to a draw as a huge underdog in their first match. On the other hand, the champ took the fight on three weeks' notice and was deducted a point in the third round for an illegal groin strike, which ultimately cost him a victory on the cards. Figueiredo had the slightest edge in overall strikes landed, but Moreno landed more takedowns and had periods of positional control. However, aside from stats, Figueiredo looked to land the harder strikes and only once (allegedly) looked to be on the retreat during Moreno's late rebound.

    Regardless, the fight was as close on paper as the result, and again we're left with a question as to which fighter will do more to adjust from the first fight. The prior outing may have taught Moreno that he can hang with a feared striker like Figueiredo on the feet, but smart coaches would hopefully recognize that Moreno could have a wrestling advantage, as long as his submission defense holds up.

    That dynamic says that Moreno has a real chance, but only if we see the same Figueiredo as last time. And who is to say that the champ hasn't also made adjustments? As with the main event, the data-driven matchup is closer than the odds would imply, but the confidence in the challenger is slightly less. However, also like the main event, we could see price inflation behind the champ making a small stab on the 'dog a viable value play.

    E+ recommends: Money-line lean on Moreno near +200 or more.

    Best bets elsewhere on the card

    The odds for Drew Dober (-140) and Brad Riddell (+120) opened a near pick 'em, but the market seems to be siding with Dober. We'd have to agree there, as Dober has done better against stronger opposition and amassed greater UFC experience without looking spent.

    Riddell has breezed through three wins against relative newcomers but will now face a well-rounded veteran with more power. Dober's biggest deficiency appears to be submissions, but Riddell hasn't shown he's a submission threat at this level. It's a big step up for Riddell, but the market is still respecting his potential and keeping prices reasonable enough to back the more proven fighter. Bonus that Dober also lives and trains at elevation, as every small edge matters in what is historically the UFC's most competitive division.

    E+ recommends: Money-line lean on Dober.

    Deep on the undercard, a women's bantamweight matchup features Pannie Kianzad (-210) and Alexis Davis (+175). Davis, who once fought for the title and owns a win over current champion Amanda Nunes from a decade ago, is one of the "OG" UFC female fighters. And while her resume certainly contains more impressive highlights, she has been on a skid of late. But so far, most betting action is on Davis as the more proven fighter, while the rankings favor Kianzad as the better future talent.

    The fight will boil down to takedowns. Davis has the grappling credentials and performance metrics to believe she'll dominate on the mat if she can get the fight there. She attempts frequent takedowns and maintains control well after landing them. But she'll be up against a younger opponent with strong takedown defense to date.

    Kianzad spends as little time on the mat as she can and has faced opponents eager to get it there. Should Kianzad stuff the early takedowns, her superior striking should take over whenever the fight is on the feet.

    E+ recommends: Money-line play on Kianzad.

    If you're looking to back a strong grappler, consider underdog Demian Maia (+200) against Belal Muhammad (-240). Maia's grappling is elite among active fighters, and only Khabib Nurmagomedov was as capable of backpacking opponents like Maia. While his takedown success rate is low, Maia strings together attempts at a rate of more than one per minute while standing. And once on the ground, he spends over a minute and half in control per takedown landed, often adding submission attempts. Only title-caliber opponents have been able to stay on their feet against Maia, namely strong wrestlers like Covington, Woodley, and Usman. While Muhammad offers much less of a striking threat than those former champs, the real question is whether his grappling is enough to negate Maia's takedowns.

    Despite the age, and despite the paltry stand-up striking metrics, Maia should still have the ground edge in this matchup and also a decent chance to leverage that advantage against Muhammad. That's if his age hasn't finally become too much of a factor.

    E+ recommends: Money-line play on Maia at clear plus money.
    175 pts

    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 06/17/2021

  2. #2
    Brandt Moat
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    Belal will be ready for this one. After taking a pretty serious poke in the eye last time out, he knows this is probably his last run at the top. I think Maia will have problems with Belals strength. He is a very determined fighter. Last time out against Edwards, I felt Muhammad might get caught with a power shot. Don't have that concern with Maia. I enjoyed Demian's career, he will be one of the many that have been put out to pasture here in the last couple years. Love your write ups. Keep up the good work. GL