On June 12, the UFC returns with one of the most exciting fight cards in recent memory. While every event hosted by the organization is sure to produce an unforgettable moment, it is rare that so many big names fight on the same night. Nate Diaz developed a cult following over the years and he’s not even the biggest name on the card. Fans of mixed martial arts should definitely check out the upcoming event to be held in Glendale at the Gila River Arena. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
Paul Craig has won each of his last two fights by submission. However, it should also be noted that it has not been seen inside the Octagon since November of last year. Seven months is a significant layoff for any athletic activity; it will be interesting to see if he still has his timing after a long break. That being said, he is one of the most exciting fighters in the light heavyweight division. He’s won the Performance of the Night award five times, including his UFC debut in December 2016.
Jamahal Hill became the winner of Dana White’s contenders streak in July 2019. He hasn’t lost a single game since then. The only flaw on his record is a non-contest which resulted from a positive marijuana test after a victory in May 202o. Like his opponent, Hill enters the Octagon after a long layoff; he has not competed at all this calendar year. These two fighters are considered contenders in their division. It should be a very entertaining game.
Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad
Demian Maia has had two UFC title shots in his illustrious career. He lost to legendary Anderson Silva in a middleweight championship fight in 2010. It was a long time before he got another shot at a title; he lost his chance at the welterweight championship against future Hall of Fame member Tyron Woodley in 2017. Although he was never a UFC champion, he is a Brazilian legend. His gold medal at the world jiu-jitsu championship in 2000 earned him the respect and admiration of the whole country. Now 43 years old, he is looking for an iconic victory before leaving the sport for good.
The last time fight fans saw Belal Muhammad, it was a cringe-worthy moment for fans of the sport. He suffered an accidental glance at the hands of Leon Edwards which made him unable to continue. Fortunately, he has made a full recovery and is ready to erase the memory of that terrible night. Beating a highly respected opponent like Maia would do wonders to get her career back on track.
Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz
Leon Edwards doesn’t want to be remembered as the guy who stung Belal Muhammad in the eye. He’s one of the best fighters in the welterweight division and he wants a title shot. If he is able to beat Nate Diaz on the 12th, it will be a signing victory and perhaps enough to win a game against reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
The public haven’t seen Nate Diaz in the Octagon since November 2019. Stepping away from the sport for more than a year and a half is a risky decision. However, fight fans can rest assured that a fighter of Diaz’s caliber will enter the fight ready to give no less than one hundred percent. He has always been one of the sport’s most popular artists, but the odds will be stacked against him when he rides a hungry young fighter like Edwards.
Dieveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon moreno
These two men fought for the UFC Flyweight Championship in December 2020. The fight was ruled a draw by the judges, therefore Figueiredo retained the belt. That being said, there’s certainly no love lost between these two and fight fans should brace themselves for some fireworks when they step into the Octagon together.
These two men are black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Figueiredo is from Brazil and Moreno is from Mexico. Whenever two Latin American fighters go head to head, there is always an instant rivalry and bragging rights are on the table. These components, in addition to the fact that their fight will be a rematch, make them a potential fight of the night match.
Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vectors
Make no mistake, these two men don’t like each other. In April 2018, they fought at Gila River Arena, the exact same venue that will host their June 12 fight. The difference is that this time Adesanya is the reigning middleweight champion and the belt is on the line.
The first time they fought, Adesanya claimed a split decision victory. From that day forward, Vettori has been committed to showing the world that the judges made the wrong call the first time around. If he wins, Vettori will become the first Italian champion in UFC history. If Adesanya wins, it will mark the third successful defense of his reign as a middleweight champion.
Most of the time, no matter how much chatter takes place in the pre-fight buildup, contestants shake hands in respect after the event is over. However, these two have so much bad blood between them that it won’t be surprising if they don’t recognize each other once the fight is over.
UFC 263 is a pay-per-view event available on BT Sport in the UK and ESPN Plus in the US. Make sure to log in, fight the fans. You will be glad you did!
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