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UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 predictions

Can 'Stylebender' return to form?

Marvin Vettori has a chance to make history as the first ever Italian UFC champion at UFC 263 tonight in Glendale, Arizona.

Just over three years ago, Vettori lost a razor-thin split-decision to current champion Israel Adesanya. Since then, “The Italian Dream” has cranked out five consecutive victories to land at No. 3 in the middleweight rankings.

Meanwhile, Adesanya suffered his first professional loss at UFC 259 in a light-heavyweight title bout with champion Jan Blachowicz. Tonight is his opportunity to return to form and make a statement as the middleweight king.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card, joined by successful writer, producer, and director Shaun Paul Piccinino, who shares his exclusive thoughts on the main event.

 

Piccinino is a huge MMA fan that has been studying and practicing martial arts since he was 11 years old. He was at the helm of the MMA drama movie American Fighter, which was recently released to DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital on May 21. He also directed A California Christmas, which was the No. 1 movie on Netflix in December 2020.

We will have a special feature story on Shaun next week, right here at The Crossfire.

UFC 263 FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (6:00PM ET/3:00PM PT)

CARLOS FELIPE (10-1-0) VS. JAKE COLLIER (12-5-0)

Andrews: Felipe can go the distance for a young big little man, but Collier, 32, has been fighting in the octagon since 2014. Jake has struggled with consistency, but f he can avoid the big shot, I think he wins.

Andrews Prediction: Jake Collier via TKO

FARES ZIAM (11-3-0) VS. LUIGI VENDRAMINI (9-1-0)

Andrews: Both guys are up-and-coming talents who can win on the feet or ground. Luigi is a bit more dynamic and I think he pressures Ziam and lands the TKO stoppage.

Andrews Prediction: Luigi Vendramini via TKO

CHASE HOOPER (10-1-1) VS. STEVEN PETERSON (18-9-0)

Andrews: Peterson missed weight. Hooper made a miraculous comeback in his last fight but here he faces a guy who likes to go to the ground too. This could end up a stalemate on the feet. Slight edge to Hooper, who I think figures out a way like last time to get it done.

Andrews Prediction: Chase Hooper via UD

MATT FREVOLA (8-2-1) VS. TERRENCE MCKINNEY (10-3-0)

Andrews: McKinney is making his debut, replacing injured Frank Camacho and is a finisher. I like his aggressiveness, but can he pull it off against a seasoned vet in Frevola? I am going for the upset here.

Andrews Prediction: Terrence McKinney via TKO

#11 PANNIE KIANZAD (14-5-0) VS. ALEXIS DAVIS (20-10-0)

Andrews: Kianzad is not a danger to finish Davis but she does score points to get the decision. Davis fought for the title back in 2014 when Ronda was the champ. She needs to make this fight dirty and get to the ground. But Pannie knows this and grinds out another one.

Andrews Prediction: Pannie Kianzad via UD

UFC PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)

#14 MOVSAR EVLOEV (14-0-0) VS. #15 HAKEEM DAWODU (12-1-1)

Andrews: This should be a good one. Can Hakeem outstrike Movsar and keep the fight standing? It’s a tall order but I think he gets it done.

Andrews Prediction: Hakeem Dowodu via SD 

 #3 LAUREN MURPHY (14-4-0) VS. #6 JOANNE CALDERWOOD (15-5-0)

Andrews: Jojo had a great win over striker Jessica Eye in her last bout but I think the power of Murphy will overcome her. She cannot let the fight go the ground either. The only question mark is that Murphy is older at 37.

Andrews Prediction: Lauren Murphy via UD 

ERYK ANDERS (13-5-0) VS. DARREN STEWART (12-6-0, 2NC)

Andrews: Both guys need a win in this rematch. Anders was doing well in the first one and is the bigger guy.

Andrews Prediction: Eryk Anders via UD

#13 DREW DOBER (23-10-0, 1NC) VS. BRAD RIDDELL (9-1-0)

Andrews: Dober is a consistent veteran who is taking on a New Zealand up-and-comer in Riddell. I have to lean slightly towards the experience of Dober.

Andrews Prediction: Drew Dober via UD

MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)

PAUL CRAIG (14-4-1) VS. JAMAHAL HILL (8-0-0, 1NC)

Andrews: Craig needs to get the fight to the ground while Hill need to use his striking. A tossup but I am leaning on Hill for the early finish.

Andrews Prediction: Jamahal Hill via TKO

DEMIAN MAIA (28-10-0) VS. BELAL MUHAMMAD (18-3-0, 1NC)

Andrews: Maia is too old and unless Muhammad gifts him the ground, Belal will keep it standing and grind out a decision with is wrestling.

Andrews Prediction: Belal Muhammad via UD 

#3 LEON EDWARDS (18-3-1) VS. NATE DIAZ (20-12-0)

Andrews: Diaz is still crafty but should be rusty here. if Edwards is sharp and keep it standing, he wins.

Andrews Prediction: Leon Edwards via UD

DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO (20-1-1) VS. BRANDON MORENO (18-5-0)

Andrews: The champion needs to fight smarter this time with more defence. Moreno can do it.

Andrews Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo via UD

ISRAEL ADESANYA (20-1-0) VS. MARVIN VETTORI (17-4-1)

Andrews: Earlier this week, I was leaning towards Vettori because of his recent performances and Adesanya’s failure at 205. Vettori did put away Kevin Holland, but Holland was coming in on short notice. And this is a middleweight contest, and Adesanya has been dominant at 185. Can Vettori get the fight to the ground? If he can, he wins. But I think Stylebender has some tricks up his sleeve this time. This will probably not be a pretty  win for Stylebender, kind of like the Romero fight.

Andrews Prediction: Israel Adesanya via UD 

Director Shaun Paul Piccinino: I like Vettori a lot, but I think it’s really hard to bet against Adesanya right now. Obviously, anything can happen. I think Stylebender is just flowing really well right now. If he’s too cocky, Vettori will take any opportunity that’s presented, like Chris Weidman did with Anderson Silva. I never rule anyone out in the MMA game. I even thought Logan Paul had a chance with Floyd Mayweather last week (laughs).

There are ways Vettori can win (like going to the ground), without a doubt. I think Stylebender is smart and he’s learned from his last fight. As long as his ego hasn’t gotten too big. He is a cerebral fighter. He might do the keep him on the outside and rack up the points thing.

Piccinino Prediction: Israel Adesanya via UD

Enjoy the fights, everyone.

@kenaiandrews

KenaiAndrewshttps://www.mmacrossfire.com
Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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