Well, I was not disappointed in UFC 263. We had many fighters step up and prove themselves, we gained a new UFC Flyweight champion, and had a title defended as well! Read below for a recap of Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz, Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno 2, and Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2.
UFC Welterweight: Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz – Main Card
I wanted to reminisce about this fight mainly because of all the hype on Nate Diaz leading up to fight night. We had not seen the veteran inside the octagon since 2019 where he lost to Jorge Masvidal via TKO. On this past fight night, the roar from the fans went from cheers to end in boos, and this is why.
Right off the bat in the first round, Edwards applied a lot of pressure on Diaz. Diaz would try to explode on Edwards, but Rocky was able to control him with his leg kicks. The leg kicks seemed to have kept Diaz at bay, which was a good tactic to use. In the first round, you could see the patience in Edwards compared to Diaz. But, towards the end of the round, you could see Diaz finally getting comfortable until Edwards brought Diaz down to the mat. They scrambled until Diaz found his opening to get back up, and the round soon ended. Leon Edwards won the first round.
In the second, Edwards continued to utilize his leg kicks as they clearly affected Diaz in the first. Every strike Leon threw, Nate ate it – which was quite impressive. This second round was more of a brawl than the first round, and it was great to see. Diaz and Edwards made heavy exchanges back and forth until Edwards got Diaz on the ground again. They scramble again until they get back on their feet. The brawl picks up more towards the end of the round until Diaz forces a clinch until the round ends. Edwards won the second round.
Moving on to the third and fourth, let’s just say Edwards really proved a point. Edwards became more and more confident as the fight went on; he landed a spinning back elbow to end the third and wobbled Diaz in the forth.
However, towards the end of the fifth, it appeared something had awoken inside of Diaz. Diaz went on a brawl, hitting Edwards with so much power. Edwards had to hang on and survive till the end of the fifth by holding the clinch. But Diaz was doing the most he could to get a finish; Edwards was simply tough enough to survive until the bell rang.
It sucks to see a veteran in Nate Diaz lose another fight after such a long layoff. Hopefully we get to see him in the octagon again soon. But let’s not forget about the performance of Leon Edwards. He did make a statement on Saturday night – it is time to see him get a title shot against Kamaru Usman. He has not lost a fight since his last fight against Usman in 2015 – besides a No Contest against Belal Muhammad earlier this year. I should also say, it was sad to hear the boo’s towards Edwards on Saturday; he should have cheers. The UFC Odds on Saturday night for this fight were: Leon Edwards -525 and Nate Diaz +365.
UFC Flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno 2 – Co-Main Event
We earned a NEW UFC Flyweight Champion on Saturday night in Brandon Moreno! The Assassin Baby had such a superb and heart-warming performance in his rematch against the now former champ Deiveson Figueiredo, and this is how he did it.
Moreno seemed hungry while Figueiredo was very calm. He had a high output of strikes, while Figgy would block and wait for the perfect opening. Figueiredo had a few powerful shots as well, but Moreno stayed confident. Towards the end of the first round, Moreno landed a heavy jab that dropped Figueiredo and allowed Moreno to get on top. Figgy managed to escape, but had to suffer from body kicks until the end of the round. Moreno was sharp; he won the first round.
Figueiredo knew he had to step it up in this round because he started it off with a couple big shots of his own. He brought the fight to the ground and held a half-guard over Moreno. But Moreno managed to switch it up and get control; they scrambled and got back to their feet, to then be brought back down by Figueiredo. They finished this round on the ground, scrambling back and forth and exchanged brutal elbows as well. It was a split, but Moreno won the second round.
The third round is where the magic happened. Figueiredo really stepped up his game. Moreno gained control and was able to get his hooks in. Moreno got his arm under Figgy’s chin and, bam, there’s the tap!
Brandon Moreno defeated Deiveson Figueiredo for the UFC Flyweight title via submission in the third round. Now, since the two are now 1-1, we need a trilogy. I am so happy for Moreno and can’t wait for what’s next. The UFC Odds for this fight were: Deiveson Figueiredo -230 and Brandon Moreno +185.
UFC Middleweight: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2 – Main Event
The main event went exactly how I envisioned; Adesanya successfully defended his UFC Middleweight Title in his rematch against Marvin Vettori. The UFC Odds entering this fight were: Israel Adesanya -265 and Marvin Vettori +210. To get more value on this match, I took the BetOnline MMA Prop: Israel Adesanya to win by points +150 (Visit our BetOnline Review).
The Champion started off the fight very patient and applied pressure. He utilized his leg kicks many times to Vettori’s leg. However, after Vettori caught onto his pattern of leg kicks, he caught one of Adesanya’s kicks and brought the fight to the ground. Adesanya was able to scramble and escape. Vettori knows Adesanya’s weakness is on the ground, so he repeatedly tried holding the clinch and bringing it down to the ground, but Adesanya’s defense was good enough to escape and exchange strikes; mainly utilizing those brutal leg kicks. He overall had more volume in his strikes between his hands and feet than Vettori. Adesanya easily won round one.
I could say Vettori knew how to read Adesanya as he always picked up on his patterns. In this case, I’m talking about how Adesanya would escape his takedown attempts. You could see his efforts for the takedowns, but Adesanya was sharp enough to escape. Towards the end of the second, Adesanya started throwing head kicks but could not connect – if they were to have connected, then that would have been a fight finisher.
The entire fight went on the same; Vettori tried to bring the fight to the mat, Adesanya defended and landed heavy counters. Overall, Adesanya landed a total of 122 strikes and 96 significant strikes, while Vettori landed 91 total and 58 significant strikes along with 4 out of 14 takedown attempts. 14 takedown attempts! Congrats to the Last Stylebender for defending his title, who’s next?
Closing Remarks and What’s Next?
UFC 263 was a wonderful event. Israel Adesanya was able to defend his title and the UFC Flyweight division gained a new champion in Brandon Moreno. There were 4 upsets overall on the card, so let’s go ahead and recognize those dogs: Lauren Murphy (+125), Brad Riddell (+115), Paul Craig (+250), and Brandon Moreno (+185).
Next up on the UFC schedule, we have UFC Vegas 29: the Korean Zombie vs. Ige on Saturday, June 19th at the UFC Apex. I feel as if I say this for almost every card, but this is going to be a great event! It may not be considered ‘the best’ card, but there are still many great fights to look forward to: Casey O’Neil vs. Lara Procopio, Matt Brown vs. Dhiego Lima, Marlon Vera vs. Davey Grant, Aleksei Oleinik vs. Sergey Spivak as the Co-main, Chan Sung Jung vs. Dan Ige as the main event, and many more!