We're just hours away from UFC 263.
UFC 263 is just hours away from starting. This is an incredible card from top to bottom, packed with incredibly compelling match-ups all the way. But let's start at the top.
In the main event UFC superstar Israel Adesanya defends his Middleweight title against Marvin Vettori. We've also got a rematch of one of 2020's best fights in Dieveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno. That's for the UFC Flyweight title.
But in terms of mainstream interest, UFC 263 heralds the return of one of the UFC's biggest drawcards: Nate Diaz.
Nate Diaz is fighting Leon Edwards in a fight where the odds are stacked against him. To begin with, the contest is at Welterweight. Diaz is strongest in the Lightweight division where his reach and size often drowns opponents. Previous fights at Welterweight have involved other opponents who normally fight at Lightweight, like Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis. This time he's fighting a true Welterweight in Leon Edwards, a fighter who has dominated in that weight class. He hasn't lost in almost six years.
In short, it could be a rough night for Diaz.
The UFC 263 main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details...
This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you're one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.
In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 263, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site:
You can do all of the above at the link below.
MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 263 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 263 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.
Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.
As always, these cards tend to change and evolve. We'll keep this updated.
Let's do a couple of quick predictions for a change!
Returning from a failed sojourn at Light Heavyweight, you could assume Adesanya is vulnerable. But the fact is he's yet to lose at Middleweight and Marvin Vettori presents nothing new for Adesanya.
In addition: Adesanya and Vettori have already fought once before in 2018, which resulted in a split decision victory for Adesanya. It was close but, score cards aside, Adesanya was the clear victor.
Who has improved most since that contest? Adesanya, clearly. His wrestling defence and jiu-jitsu have improved markedly since that fight. This fight will almost certainly stay standing. Expect a similar contest to Adesanya's last Middleweight defence against Paulo Costa.
Our prediction: Adesanya by TKO.
This fight is another rematch. Figueiredo and Moreno locked horns in a fight that was ruled a draw in December 2020.
That draw was the result of docked points on Figueiredo's part after a brutal low blow. If not for those docked points, Figueiredo would have won the fight, fairly clearly.
It was a close contest, but I expect this one to be far more decisive in Figueiredo's favor. His punching power, his size -- Figueiredo has been an absolute mauler in his UFC career. This could potentially go the distance (Moreno can really take a shot) but I expect Figueiredo to win.
Our prediction: Figueiredo by decision
People have been quick to write off Nate Diaz in this fight, mainly because he's not had much success at Welterweight in the past and Leon Edwards is a strong Welterweight.
I expect Edwards to beat Diaz, by mixing up his wrestling, striking and cage work, but I wouldn't be surprised if Diaz took a round or two, particularly since this is a five round fight.
This should be a fun fight.
Our prediction: Edwards by decision