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Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya faces perhaps the toughest defense of his title reign on Saturday when takes on surging contender Marvin Vettori in the main event of UFC 263.

Their rematch tops the MMA showcase from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The main UFC 263 fight card is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET. Adesanya remains undefeated at middleweight, but his biggest challenge came from Vettori, who fought him to a split decision three years ago. Vettori hasn't lost since and earned a title bid on the strength of five consecutive victories.

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Adesanya is making his third title defense and first since he stepped up to light heavyweight and lost to Jan Blachowicz in an effort to become a two-division champion. Adesanya is a -240 favorite (risk $240 to win $100), while Vettori is a +200 underdog in the latest Adesanya vs. Vettori odds from William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event, flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (-240) faces Brandon Moreno (+200) in a rematch of their December fight that ended in a draw. Before you make any UFC 263 picks of your own, make sure you see the MMA predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Ian Parker.

A former fighter who's been in the industry for 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.

Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.

Parker has already proven his mettle to SportsLine members. Last week at UFC Fight Night, he encouraged SportsLine members to back veteran Marcin Tybura (-165) against Walt Harris (+145) in the heavyweight co-main event. Tybura scored a first-round stoppage to give Parker's followers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed Parker has seen massive returns.

Now, with UFC 263 in sight, Parker has studied the MMA odds and UFC 263 card from every angle and released his top selections. A parlay of those MMA picks would pay nearly 7-1. Those picks are available at SportsLine.  

UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 preview

Parker knows Adesanya (20-1) is still widely considered one of the most skilled fighters in the division, though his growing cloak of invincibility was cracked amid the loss to Blachowicz.

Even so, the brash former kickboxer has mostly dominated the middleweight division since joining the UFC more than three years ago. He stopped former champion Robert Whittaker to win the unified belt in November 2019 and has gone unchallenged in two subsequent title defenses against previously unbeaten Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero, who has since been cut by the promotion.

However, the one stern test the champion has faced came in his second UFC fight against the rage-driven Vettori, whose nonstop pressure nullified Adesanya's precision striking game.

Adesanya got his hand raised by split decision amid a protest from Vettori (17-4-1), who insisted he won and vowed to exact revenge. Now, the Italian brawler will get his chance on the merit of five consecutive victories since that controversial defeat. He took a lopsided decision over rising prospect Kevin Holland in their April fight. You can see Parker's coveted Vettori vs. Adesanya picks here.

Top UFC 263 predictions

We'll share one of Parker's UFC 263 predictions here: He is siding with Drew Dober (-140) to get his hand raised against Brad Riddell (+120) in a lightweight matchup.

Parker anticipates this battle could receive Fight of the Night honors because it presents a clash of motivated contenders who have shown similar skill sets with equal competence in their striking and ground games.

Video: Claressa Shields talks shift to MMA, training with UFC's Jon Jones (Yahoo! Sports)


The rugged Dober (23-10-1), ranked No. 13, started his UFC career with a 1-3-1 mark, but has gone 8-3 since with several victories over upper-tier competition. The 32-year-old Nebraska native prefers to down his opponents behind his lethal power, but he also has a solid wrestling game. Five of his last seven wins have come by knockout.

Riddell (9-1) saw his first five wins come by stoppage and earned a UFC contract on the merit of dominant performances in a variety of smaller promotions. The 29-year-old New Zealander won a Fight of the Night bonus in his UFC debut, but his three wins have come by relatively close decisions.

"Riddell is as tough as they come. However, he tends to struggle avoiding takedowns against above-average wrestlers, and Dober is way above average," Parker told SportsLine.

How to make UFC 263 picks

Parker also has strong picks for Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 and other fights on the UFC 263 card. He's also backing a "better and faster striker" to get a convincing win. Those selections are only available here.

Who wins Adesanya vs. Vettori 2? And which fighter is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.

UFC 263 odds, fight card

Israel Adesanya (-240) vs. Marvin Vettori (+200)

Deiveson Figueiredo (-240) vs. Brandon Moreno (+200)

Leon Edwards (-500) vs. Nate Diaz (+400)

Belal Muhammad (-230) vs. Demian Maia (+195)

Jamahal Hill (-320) vs. Paul Craig (+260)

Drew Dober (-140) vs. Brad Riddell (+120)

Eryk Anders (-140) vs. Darren Stewart (+120)

Joanne Calderwood (-145) vs. Lauren Murphy (+120)

Movsar Evloev (-255) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (+215)

Pannie Kianzad (-210) vs. Alexis Davis (+180)

Matt Frevola (-200) vs. Frank Camacho (+175)

Chase Hooper (-110) vs. Steven Peterson (-110)

Fares Ziam (-135) vs. Luigi Vendaramini (+115)

Carlos Felipe (-170) vs. Jake Collier (+150)

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Tags: deiveson figueiredo fight of the night ufc fight night three years ago split decision marvin vettori brandon moreno above average co main event title defense and earned adesanya vs adesanya

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“Whatever you want. I’ll take off my clothes if you want to see me.”

No “full body cavity” but the Nats’ Max Scherzer was searched three times for schticky substances Tuesday in Philly. Round 3 was at the request of manager Joe Girardi who remained suspicious even after the first two “stop and frisks” came up empty. Max reached for his belt, threatened to lower his pants but the umpires had no interest in examining Scherzer any further.

Royals visit The Bronx. K.C.’s Brad Keller (6-7, ERA 6.34) and the Yanks’ Jameson Taillon (1-4, ERA 5.59) will start. Keller has allowed 25 runs over his last 38 innings but is 3-3 during the span. Taillon had Yankees fans reaching for the Jameson when he recorded one out in Philly, surrendering four runs. Rebounded, kind of, limiting the A’s to two runs over 4 ²/₃. Play 10 units on the Royals.

Down 5-0, 9-5 then 12-11 in the ninth inning, the Nats outlasted Philly 13-12. After five home runs, two grand salamis and several inspections we are down -1,347 schiraldis.

Filed under brad keller ,  jameson taillon ,  kansas city royals ,  new york yankees ,  Sports Picks ,  stitches ,  6/24/21

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