As the dust now settles, we take a look back at what went down at UFC 263. Israel Adesanya got back in the win column on Saturday, dominating Marvin Vettori in a unanimous decision victory. Here are my thoughts on what the future may hold for the five fighters who lost on the UFC 263 main card.
One of the hottest prospects at 205 coming into UFC 263, Jamahal Hill, was looking to make a statement against Paul Craig. However, Craig pulled guard and executed a beautiful armbar, leaving Hill’s arm flopping around. While Hill is no longer undefeated, he still has a bright future in the UFC.
The fight that makes the most sense for Jamahal Hill is Jimmy Crute. Both Crute and Hill are young fighters coming off losses in 2021. Crute was one of the hottest prospects in the division before suffering a TKO loss to Anthony Smith at UFC 261. In a matchup between possible contenders, Jamahal Hill and Jimmy Crute should result in a can’t-miss battle.
Coming off a knockout loss to Gilbert Burns, Demian Maia looked terrible against Belal Muhammad at UFC 263, going 1/21 on takedown attempts. At age 43 and with his contract expired, it’s entirely possible that Maia will not fight again in the UFC. However, let’s say that Maia does have at least one more fight left in him.
Since moving down to 170, Demain Maia has fought practically every contending Welterweight at some point. Among that list of names includes Tyron Woodley, Kamaru Usman, Carlos Condit, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Rory MacDonald, among several others. A notable exception from this list? Robbie Lawler. Lawler was a champion from 2014-2016 but is now on a four-fight losing streak at age 39. Have these two fight as a retirement bout for Maia and possibly Lawler as well!
Despite getting bloodied and his leg chewed up, Nate Diaz nearly pulled off what would have been one of the greatest upsets in UFC history, hurting Leon Edwards in the final minute of the fight. Despite Diaz having tendencies to go inactive, he’s made it clear that he wants to fight again in 2021.
If Conor Mcgregor loses in July to Dustin Poirier, then the Nate Diaz trilogy at 170 pounds makes the most sense. Even casual fans are aware that Diaz shocked the world at UFC 196 when McGregor was still the Featherweight champion. Their rematch at 202 was one of the greatest fights of all time, and it would make sense for there to be a trilogy. McGregor losing to Poirier would take him out of the title picture, and a bout with Diaz would be incredibly fun to watch.
After a back-and-forth match in December that resulted in a majority draw, UFC 263 was all Brandon Moreno as he dominated Deiveson Figueiredo, finishing him in round three with a rear-naked choke. Figueiredo has consistently had a ton of trouble making the cut to 125 pounds, and after losing his belt, his next course of action should be to move up a weight class.
If Figueiredo moves up to Bantamweight, the fight to make would be with Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt was expected to move down and contest Figueiredo for the Flyweight belt in November, but No Love had to pull out due to a torn biceps. Now coming off of a loss, Garbrandt likely won’t be getting that title shot at 135. In what would be a fun matchup between knockout artists, Figueiredo and Garbrnadt could result in fireworks.
Outside of a rear-naked choke attempt by Marvin Vettori in round three, Saturday was all Israel Adesanya at UFC 263 as the Last Style Bender defended his Middleweight belt. Vettori’s push to become the first Italian UFC champion has been delayed for now, but there are several options for his next fight.
Among the top nine Middleweights who have never fought Vettori, Paulo Costa is the only guy who does not have a fight booked. If Costa wants to compete, then that’s the obvious fight to make. Both guys will be coming off of a loss to Adesanya, looking to bounce back. In a striker v grappler matchup, Costa and Vettori should headline a fight night.
What did you think of the UFC 263 main card? Let us know in the comments below!
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