UFC 263 Whats Next

UFC 263 was a fun one! I know the main event was a bit anticlimactic but at least it was a slow win for us and not a slow loss.

Those are the worst!

After Brandon Moreno became the first ever Mexican-born UFC World Champion, the night could have ended there but we still had rematch and UFC World Title defense #2 coming up. Israel Adesanya was taken down and controlled early on by The Italian, Marvin Vettori.

Unfortunately for Marv, that was the highlight of his night because the pores opened up and the sweat came. Izzy settled in and we all knew it was a wrap after that. We were fortunate enough to continue our solid performances with main event method of victory plays when Izzy took the decision for a (+165) payday.

The man has over 100 professional fights including his Muay Thai and kickboxing career. He is the most experienced fighter in the entire UFC and it shows. He could also be the best striker in the UFC. He certainly is without a doubt, the best striker and best overall Middleweight on the UFC roster after dispatching another top 5 opponent in style.

He likes to create magic in there. I love that. It reminds me of Anderson Silva during his 7-year GOAT run. The Spider had always said doing something that other people thought was impossible or couldn’t be done was more important to him than winning.

I suppose that is part of the reason he kept fighting mixed martial arts bouts for as long as he did. He may not be done, though. The man is crazy. He is about to box Julio Cezar Chavez Jr this weekend.

To me, that is more weird than Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Brogan Paul. That was to be expected. Silva is a wild one. I don’t think Izzy has that in him thank goodness but who knows.

What is next for The Last Style Bender, though?

He called out Robert Whittaker who has been on a dominant run ever since he was TKO’ed early when he rushed in trying to close the distance on Izzy.

Adesanya’s counter wasn’t beautiful to the traditionalist but at the end of the day, you can’t deny it’s beauty.

He knocked out Robert Whittaker, one of the greatest UFC Middleweights of all time and Izzy did it to win the world title! The fact that it wasn’t textbook speaks to his Bruce Lee spirit and fighting style of “Add what is useful, discard what is useless, and include what is uniquely your own.

Your opponent can know their book and even the book but if there are some pages in your book that only you have seen then your opponent is showing up to a test he didn’t study for. That is the beauty of martial arts in general but mixed martial arts, especially where we are today in its infancy, practitioners have more opportunity than they ever will to truly express themselves. I have always gone out of my way to be unique. It’s just normal for me so my martial arts game naturally went in that direction but for some who are learning technique, they want to be perfect.

That is needed and it should be the focus for the first several years but after that, we need to start blending things and being more of an individual. Guys like the two men who walked out of UFC 263 with belts over their shoulder, Israel Adesanya and Brandon Moreno, are perfect examples of martial artists who are completely unique.

There isn’t another fighter you can really compare either man with unless you want to reach for it.

I am excited for Brandon’s reign as world champ and I know Deiveson Figueredo wants an immediate rematch but Dana White, who wasn’t expecting a Moreno win, is quite delighted that Mexico got their first ever World Champion. First of many, I should say.

So, Deivy might not get in there for a little bit. He might have to make the move to 135 but it doesn’t sound like that’s what he wants to do. You can’t take too much from that, though, as a fighter’s head is a little screwed up for a while after such a devastating loss like that.

Who would be next for Brandon Moreno if Figgy doesn’t get the rematch?

He could fight the winner of Askar Askarov and Alex Prez but Perez hasn’t earned it either. What am I talking about, though?

I think Askar is going to take out Perez. This fight was just announced today so be on the lookout for that betting line. I would take Askar all the way up to (-220) and I think they will open him up at (-155) I want to say so we have a nice edge on the books, at least early on if we want to make a play.

Let’s talk about what is next for each of the winners of UFC 263 hint at some early leans. That way, when the fight is announced, you guys don’t have to wait on me to write about it until probably the week of the fight.

I will give you a range of where I would bet the fight for one or possibly both of the competitors because we have to maintain a commitment to the numbers.

Please Note:

If a betting line moves far enough that the value is now completely on the other fighter and we want to make a move on it, we should.

Carlos Felipe vs Alexander Gustafsson

Yes, I said it. The Swede has talked about making a comeback for a while and now that the world is opening back up, I think the time is now for Alex.

He is such a talent and during the peak of his career, he only fell short to Jon Jones and that first fight was CLOSE!

I think Gus is around a top 30 heavyweight and when he did come back to fight Fabricio Werdum, that is where he was. Honestly, I think that is where he should stay because he has bound to have lost some speed, and now is not the time for such at 205 pounds. Trust me.

  • Why do you think Jon Jones is now fighting in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division?
  • Wait, what?
  • Jon Jones is fighting?

Haha, no. He has made the indefinite, according to him, move to the 265 pound limit and recent photos and videos show that “Bones” is turning into an oxymoron.

Enough about that guy. I would like to see Carlos Felipe get a solid opponent here. If you give him a Juan Espino or Alexander Romanov then he could be fodder.

The takedown defense would really be tested and I don’t think he is ready for it.

He is ready, though, and the fans are always ready for a boxer vs boxer matchup at heavyweight. This goes back to the Rumble in the Jungle.

Where would we handicap this thing?

I want to say Carlos should be the favorite. We just don’t know what to expect from Gus. Felipe has really good hands and when you’re out of competition for as long as Gus has been, your timing takes a while to come back.

So, cool.

You got it back but did you get it better than your previous baseline? No. You might be able to do so in the next camp or possibly the one after that but by then, most comebacks have already concluded.

That is why it is so hard to stop and start again, especially in your mid 30s. Gus is just 34, though, so he has some time to make the move and age means less at heavyweight than another other weight class in the UFC.

This one is still close, though, because of all the unknowns.

(-130) Carlos Felipe and (+110) for the underdog Alexander Gustafsson.

Fares Ziam vs Terrance McKinney

Why not, right?

Fares is now 12-3 while Terrance had a smashing UFC debut in the next fight when he KO’ed Matt Frevola just 7 seconds into the contest!

The two men are obviously on the same schedule:

They have nearly the same record and they are in the same division so let’s do this! They are both long fighters that like to strike. Fares will mix it up but I don’t think he will be able to get Terrance down, at least not more than once.

McKinney is the much more explosive fighter in this matchup and I think that athleticism is the difference for me here. What do we know about Terrance outside of the first round, though? Every win except for one that was a third round heel hook has been a first round stoppage.

His three losses?

You guessed it. All first round stoppages. Two of them were to current UFC fighters so Terrance is a nice prospect still but what the heck do we know about his cardio? Nada.

Believe it or not, Terrance’s 7 second win this past Saturday at UFC 263 was the second 7 second win of his career. 7 of his wins have been inside the first minute of the fight!

This guy is a problem. I like Fares. He is very composed to be so young but I think the fire is going to simply be too hot for his slight frame. Something is likely going to catch him and put him away.

McKinney is a problem. I am still mad at myself for not taking a stab at his (+750) first round TKO prop. He only does it 85% of the time.

Terrance should certainly be the favorite here and I would play him hard anywhere up to (-170) but there is still the unknown about how he fares after the first round.

Had Matt Frevola hung in there for round one, maybe we would be singing a completely different tune about Mr McKinney.

Pannie Kianzad vs Raquel Pennington

Hey, she called her out after the fight during her interview with Joe Rogan. Most of the top ten of the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight Division already has fights scheduled and Raquey is really the only contender outside of the top 5 who isn’t already in camp.

There is Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie but they are top 3 and after just getting by Alexis Davis, I don’t think Pannie has earned that opportunity. I hope she gets there one day because she has a lot of skill and determination but she still has to level up again before she will be there, in my opinion.

You might think that Raquel Pennington is getting up there in age but not so fast.

She has been fighting inside of the Octagon since 2013 but Raquey is still only 32 years old. She hasn’t been the most active fighter on the roster with just 13 official UFC contests over those 8 years but she has been in there with some of the best female UFC fighters ever including Holly Holm and the GOAT, Amanda Nunes.

She has some really nice hands just like Pannie so we already know we will see a good boxing match if they were to make this fight. Pennington is a monster in the clinch, though, and I think I would have to make her the betting favorite because of that.

Please Note:

She could bully Pannie but I give the speed advantage to Kianzad but hey, she barely made that enough to beat Alexis Davis so someone more crisp and crafty like Pennington would likely be able to hang even better.

Pannie does have a decent shot here, though. They are the same height and Pennington only has a 1 inch advantage in the reach department over her Iranian born foe.

Movsar Evloev vs Bryce Mitchell

Somebody’s 0 has to go! Yes, both of these fighters remain undefeated. Bryce Thug Nasty Mitchell is 14-0 while Movsar Evoloev improved to 15 fights without a loss in his professional mixed martial arts career this past Saturday night at UFC 263.

This one is very interesting but I already know where my money is going. They are each grapplers and Bryce is the submission artist while Movsar has seemingly perfected the control game.

At the end of the day, it is harder to submit a high level grappler than it is to control them.

You see it all the time in competition. If two high level guys are going and there is only a 5 minute time limit to each round then we likely aren’t going to see a submission.

We will, however, in all likelihood see one or both fighters controlled for at least a couple of minutes at a time. In an MMA fight, a couple of minutes of control is enough to sway the judges assuming the clinch and striking aspects were closely contested in that stanza.

Movsar was caught in a pretty tight guillotine against Nik Lentz, though, and nothing against Nik’s submission skills but he has always been more of a wrestler and Bryce has shown to have a very high level submission grappling game on the mat.

I don’t think Movsar will run away with this one but he certainly could.

Even if he doesn’t, I still give him, the better wrestler, the advantage in a close fight. His strength is easier to pull off in a fight than Bryce’s.

It is also easier to defend a submission than it is to pull one off at the top ten level of any UFC division, much less the most talented one, in my opinion, the Bantamweights.

Please Note:

If Movsar wanted to win this one on the feet, I think he could not because he is that much better of a striker but because of the constant takedown threat. Even though Bryce is comfortable on the mat, he still has to keep the seemingly inevitable Movsar takedown attempt near the front of his mind.

That will get him to start guessing and while that strategy does work out at times, it usually ends in you waiting and waiting and that is never a good thing when trying to win a decision on the judges’ scorecards against a fighter as active offensively as Movsar Evloev.

Lauren Murphy vs Valentina Shevchenko

I know Lauren Murphy isn’t going to beat Valentina Shevchenko. We all know that but Tina has been at the top long enough to where she has to fight someone who isn’t even top five caliber because she has already beaten the rest.

I won’t waste too much of your time but Lauren is a very strong woman and in the clinch, she may actually hold an advantage over Valentina but in the striking realm at range, the Ukrainian star is just too good.

She will style and profile like she was the Nature Boy rolling into Charlotte on a Saturday night in ‘88.

Eryk Anders vs Edmen Shahbazyan

Hey, Eazy E vs Easy E. I’m with it and the strength of Eryk Anders in the clinch could prove to be a problem for the twitchy muscles of the striker, Edmen Shahbazyan.

Please Note:

Edmen looked better than I thought he would, though, against The Joker Jack Hermansson so I think he would be able to get past Eryk. Anders isn’t going to be a superstar for the company but the jury is still out on Edmen.

  • He can really throw with the best of them, hands and feet, and I think a fight against Eryk Anders would be the perfect opportunity for him to shine. He would still get tested as Eryk is such a bull and wants nothing more than to hold his opponents up against the side of the Octagon until the referee separates them.
  • He doesn’t really have a great takedown game so I think Edmen will be free to let them fly. What will be most important for the young man is to not take more than 1 step backward at a time. It is a general rule in boxing or striking.

I know there are some guys who can walk their opponents onto  some sick shots but generally speaking, you want to turn after one step back because the cage is only so big and it will catch up with you sooner than later.

I feel like Edmen has the sauce here to get the win against Anders and I would line this one (-220) for Edmen Shahbazyan and (+180) for the comeback on the underdog and winner of 2 straight fights, Eryk Anders.

Brad Riddell vs Grant Dawson

This is a juicy one! Oh man, it looks like a tomahawk steak from this angle. Brad Riddell is 10-1 and undefeated in the UFC while Grant Dawson is 17-1 and also has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon walls.

The fight is certainly a clash of styles but Brad has shown us that he can also wrestle. I don’t think he will be using it in an offensive fashion opposite Grant Dawson but defensively, Riddell looks to have some of the best takedown defense in the UFC’s Lightweight Division.

Brad certainly has the advantage on the feet but will he be able to keep the fight standing against such a dominant takedown artist like Grant Dawson? That is a very difficult question to answer and I am going to have to use a lifeline.

Let me phone my boy Biff in the future and, wait what? That’s already happened? Wow, COVID-19 will make you forget about a lot of things, mainly, ehem, freedom, but I digress.

I think Brad is going to win this fight. I really do but I can’t make him the favorite. I know that sounds idiotic but wrestling over striking. We have to dumb it down because we can’t intellectual this thing.

Maybe if they make the fight, then we can pull out the microscope but I think this one is pretty even and I will make Grant Dawson the slight favorite at (-145) and Brad Riddel the dog at (+125).

Paul Craig vs Magomed Ankalaev

I know Magomed is ranked a bit higher than Paul and may be on an entirely different level but Craig is so freaking dangerous that every fighter on the UFC’s Light Heavyweight roster better be well aware of what is standing in front of them.

The man has a filthy filthy disgusting guard. Maybe the key is to pull guard against Craig…Nah, I don’t recommend that at all. Magomed Ankalaev, I think, has the base and center of gravity to keep this one standing and in the striking realm where he has a massive advantage over the Scot.

Jamahal Hill, I thought, was intelligent enough to stay away from Craig on the mat but turns out, undefeated fighters think they know more than they do. They also usually think they are better than they really are and in the case of Jamahal Hill and his badly dislocated elbow, he was wrong.

The bow was popped back into place, though, if you hadn’t heard shortly after the fight and Jamahal Hill should have a full recovery. There wasn’t any ligament or tendon damage and those are the important ones because they don’t grow back.

Craig is good but I think he needs to be sacrificed here.

He made some fans getting the gnarly win in such a gross way. Instagram was popping from it also so Craig isn’t the worst name to build up Ankalaev who not a lot of casual fans know about.

He is good enough to contend for the world title one day but before then, we need to build his name. Give him the Scot with the BJJ that he won’t get to use.

Belal Muhammad vs Neil Magny

These two, minus the height and length difference, are virtually the same fighter. They each like to be on their front foot pressuring their opponents with strikes and a takedown game.

Neither are big finishers of a fight and the likelihood that this one goes to a decision is very high. I can see the over 2.5 rounds now…(-330).

I think you have to make this fight.

Yes, Magny is coming off of a loss but Muhammad was more or less on his way to losing to Leon Edwards before the eye poke that had him wailing in pain. I don’t think either man will ever contend for a world title but they will be fighting for the #10 spot, essentially.

The keep of the gate of the top ten.

Stylistically, I love it and am pretty intrigued because Magny could keep him on the end of his shot but he doesn’t really have the power to keep a game aggressive guy like Belal out of his face. And who wins in the wrestling, the clinch? Great matchup, make it UFC!

Leon Edwards vs The Champ

You know…they say this man has paid his dues and yes, he has a very long 10 fight win streak but who has he beat?

Vicente Luque is a big win. Byran Barberena is a solid one too, and a split decision over a scary grappler in Gunnar Nelson is cool and all but that’s it, really.

I know he just beat Nate Diaz but Nate is a natural lightweight who is at the tail end of a long career.

I don’t think this makes him the undeniable #1 contender.

Well, the boss says Colby is going to get his rematch. You have to give it to Covington. He waited it out and watched Kamaru win not one, not two, but three more fights since then.

Now that the rest of the top five is out of the way, though, I guess Rocky Edwards is the next guy in line for a world title shot with Kamaru Usman. That is who we will use for our handicap today because I do give him the edge in his rematch with Colby Covington.

Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards have fought before and it was in the UFC. It was early in both of their tenures with the promotion and it is the last time Leon has lost a fight. While he has improved his game dramatically since then, so has Kamaru and I think Usman wins this fight anywhere it takes place.

I think he outstrikes Leon and, of course, I think he out wrestles him if he chooses to do so.

Brandon Moreno vs Askar Askarov

The only blemish on the professional mixed martial arts record of deaf star Askar Askarov of Dagestan is a draw and that came against the now UFC Flyweight World Champion, Brandon Moreno.

These two are very evenly matched, obvio, but who takes the rematch?

And how do we line the fight? Well, I did take the time to go back and watch the first fight and I have to side with Askar. I know Brandon Moreno continues to defy the odds and he has an x-factor that almost body else has.

Maybe it’s the legos. I don’t know but Askar is the better wrestler here and I think that will be the difference. The two will probably fight in a large Octagon which, of course, favors the Mexican fighter who moves so well but I think Askar gets the takedowns and is able to control Brandon on the mat for the majority of the fight.

It will be close, though, just like the first contest so we will line it at (-127) for the favorite, Askarov, and (+107) for the world champion underdog, Brandon Moreno.

Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker

These two fought not that long ago and it was a clean sweep for Izzy. I do expect a better performance out of Bobby Knuckles here but I don’t think it will be enough to help him get his hand raised in the end.

Adesanya is levels above the entire division on the feet and only the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, a weight class 20 pounds up, was able to take him down and control him for longer than a couple of minutes. Yet, when in the same weight class that control doesn’t seem to last.

That is all there is to it. I don’t think we need to get that technical. Izzy does it for us.

In Conclusion

We had some really good fights at UFC 263 and I wanted to ride that momentum into a handicapping sesh and I think we did a good job.

Several of these fights will never be made but the time wasn’t wasted.

It is just like math homework.

The more you do, the more proficient and efficient we become. Add those two together with some hard work and time and what do you get?


If we are effective, we are winning and that is all I want for us. It is my goal in life every week for us to succeed and I really hate myself for some bets we made this past weekend at UFC 263 but we still came out ahead and had a 34% return on our investment if you count the Bellator card.

We are now ahead of everyone else so when Izzy fights Whittaker again and when some of these other fights are made, you guys will already be equipped with the knowledge you need to make that play right away.

This is much better and more effective at getting the most valuable betting odds!

You don’t have to wait on me to write about it until the week of the fight. Sometimes, it is better to wait but it is always better to be prepared.