Luigi Vendramini (+116) vs. Fares Ziam (-144)

Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)

Two ascending lightweight prospects will be squaring off at UFC 263 in Fares Ziam and Luigi Vendramini.

For Vendramini, UFC 263 will mark his third appearance with the promotion. He last secured a very impressive head-kick knockout over Jessin Ayari and will be looking to build on that. There isn’t much tape on either one of these guys, especially Vendramini. He is only 25, however, and has only fought twice over the last two years. His game is ever improving and there has been plenty to like thus far.

Vendramini certainly has power in his hands, though we’ve yet to see him do anything extended striking wise. He also has some solid submission skills, as evidenced by his debut performance against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. Vendramini was doing very well in that fight against a proven veteran until a flying knee put him out in round two. He almost had the submission in round one, however, so while the sample size is quite small, Vendramini has impressed.

As for Fares Ziam, the 24-year-old will also be making his third UFC appearance. He too has gone 1-1 with the promotion, having picked up a win in his last outing over Jamie Mullarkey. It was a very close fight against Mullarkey, however, and Ziam was held down for quite awhile. If Mullarkey generated really any offense while having control, I think he would have won.

Still, Ziam was able to show off his strengths en-route to the decision victory. He is a very good kickboxer and is quite big for the division. He will have nearly a three inch height advantage in this one.

Ultimately, this is a classic “dog or bust” play for me. Ziam has been taken down in each of his UFC appearances and while he can certainly spring back up, his takedown defense is suspect. Ziam also isn’t a very volume heavy fighter. Vendramini isn’t either, but I do see him being able to work inside and get takedowns. I would also give the power edge to Vendramini, but Ziam is more technical, so it could cancel out.

Ultimately, it’s just tough not to take a shot on Vendramini after his last performance. I’m not making a huge wager, but I like it nonetheless. Luigi Vendramini by submission currently sits at 9-to-1, which could be worth a flier.

Check out the video below for a more detailed analysis.

Prediction and play: Luigi Vendramini moneyline (+116)

More UFC 263 Breakdowns:

Carlos Felipe vs. Jake Collier

Matt Frevola vs. Terrance McKinney

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