UFC 263 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Ziam vs. Vendramini, Craig vs. Hill & More (Saturday, June 12)
Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC opponents Paul Craig of Scotland and Jamahal Hill.
- Saturday night's UFC slate is loaded with 14 fights, but our analysts are eyeing three fights -- two prelim bouts and one main card matchup -- for their best bets.
- Read below for more on today's UFC 263 card, including our bets on Fares Ziam vs. Luigi Vendramini, Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill and more.
Is there any better way to spend a Saturday than watching 14 awesome fights at UFC 263? The promotion heads to Glendale, Ariz. for what should be the best sporting event of the weekend.
This weekend’s card features two title fights (both rematches) with Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori going head-to-head for the middleweight belt and Brandon Moreno getting a rematch with Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight belt.
The card begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN with nine bouts on the prelim card and a five-fight main card starting at 10 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View.
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s massive card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
Sean Zerillo: Fares Ziam vs. Luigi Vendramini
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
For a more in-depth breakdown on this fight and the entire UFC 263 card, you can find my full breakdown, including my projections for all 14 fights here.
Vendramini is the stronger man in this matchup. He should have a big grappling edge against Ziam, who struggled to defend takedowns against inferior grapplers in Jamie Mullarkey (allowed 5-of-11 takedowns attempts) and Don Madge (3-of-12).
Ziam is the better technician at range, and he’s the much taller man (+5 inches). Still, there’s a strong possibility that he gets completely exposed on the mat by Vendramini, who is very aggressive and forced a 100% finish rate in his professional fights.
I projected Vendramini at 54%, and I would play his moneyline up to about -110. Furthermore, I projected his odds to win inside the distance at +165, and I would play that prop down to about +186.
The Pick: Luigi Vendramini (+105)
Erich Richter: Movsar Evloev vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Contributor at The Action Network
Dawodu and Evloev are each on win streaks. Evloev fancies himself as a striker with strong takedowns while Dawodu is a very good defensive fighter and counter puncher.
Dawodu is quick on his feet and does a great job at the defensive aspect of striking. He also keeps his head off of the centerline pretty well. His takedown defense is also excellent at 85% — third-best in the featherweight division.
Evloev fought Nik Lentz in his last fight. That was a split decision win but it wasn’t as close as the judges made it out to be. I think Evloev is a good striker but I want to see how he does if he can’t land takedowns.
I think that Dawodu has top-tier takedown defense that he has showcased on plenty of occasions. Moreover, if Dawodu is able to stop the takedown, which he has up to this point, I think he has a chance to take control of the fight. He is a pretty sizable underdog (+195), but I think this should be closer to a pick ‘em.
Dawodu has only finished one opponent in almost four years. I wouldn’t expect a finish here either. Dawodu by decision is +460 on FanDuel, and we hit a big prop like that last week.
I think we haven’t seen the best of Dawodu yet and that Tukhugov was a legitimate victory in his young career. I would bet his decision prop down to +350
The Pick: Hakeem Dawodu via decision +460
Billy Ward: Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
Contributor at The Action Network
With his previous wins coming against Darko Stosic (1-3 UFC, now cut), Klidson Abreu (1-3 UFC, counting the no contest against Hill as a loss) and 38-year-old Ovince Saint Preux, the fight against Paul Craig is a major step up in competition for rising star Jamahal Hill.
Craig, who sits 14th in the light heavyweight rankings (one spot ahead of Hill at No. 15), is riding his own four-fight undefeated streak.
Hill brings to the cage some of the smoothest boxing I’ve seen in a long time. Throwing an absurd 64-plus significant strikes per round (the light heavyweight average is 38.5) and landing over 30 of them; he makes up for a lack of explosive power with volume.
Craig, on the other hand, is the archetypical grappler — 12 of his 14 wins have come by submission.
I love watching Hill (and as a side note, I’m friends with his head coach and have trained with some of his teammates), but I think this is a bad matchup for him. He was taken down six times by Darko Stosic, (neither Abreu or OSP attempted to take him down) who is a lesser grappler than Craig.
Anecdotally, the path to the top of the UFC mountain is rarely a direct one, and as we’ve seen a few times lately, up-and-coming prospects often need to take a loss before they realize their full potential.
BetMGM has given us a bit of a gift with their pricing on this one. I think Craig’s most likely method of victory given his record and the styles at play here is a submission. For some reason, BetMGM has Craig by submission at +340, while Craig by KO/TKO, DQ, or submission (meaning any of the three) is +400.
Craig by decision is +900, so by betting 0.7 units on the stoppage bet and 0.3 on the decision bet, you now are guaranteed a 2.7 unit profit (with chance at 2.8) if he wins, compared to betting Craig straight up at +250 and only profiting 2.5 units.
The Pick: Paul Craig by KO/TKO or submission (+400) 0.7 units | Craig by decision (+900) 0.3 units