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UFC 303 Fight Card Preview, Odds & Predictions: Ortega Vs. To walk

A late-notice featherweight bout serves as the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 303 fight card. The co-headlining match of the pay-per-view card pits former two-time UFC featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega against the fast-rising Diego Lopes.

Ortega enters the list as the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. Meanwhile, Lopes enters the fight card as the No. 14 competitor in the UFC’s 145-pound weight class. Both men enter their matchup coming off injury wins. Ortega defeated Yair Rodriguez with a Performance of the Night bonus-winning submission, and Lopes scored a TKO over Sodiq Yusuff. Ortega last fought in February. Lopes’ most recent appearance took place in April. This matchup was officially added to the June 29 event on June 13.

UFC 303 takes place on Saturday, June 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view will follow prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Below we dive deep into the match between Ortega and Lopes.

Careers

Brian Ortega

Brian Ortega (16-3-0-1) joined the UFC roster in July 2014. At the time, Ortega had an 8-0 record with four submissions and four decision victories. In January of that year, Ortega captured the RFA featherweight title with a split-decision victory over Keoni Koch.

Ortega made his UFC debut in July 2024. He won that fight by submission by Mike De La Torre, but that victory was overturned to a no contest when Ortega’s drug test came back positive for drostanolone. The California State Athletic Commission suspended Ortega for nine months and fined him $2,500 for the failure.

Ortega returned to action in June 2015 and completed a run of six straight victories via stoppage. That streak culminated in a March 2018 knockout of former UFC champion Frankie Edgar and included victories over Cub Swanson, Renato Moicano and Clay Guida.

In December 2018, Ortega faced then-UFC 145-pound champion Max Holloway. Holloway won the ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus-winning scrap via doctor stoppage TKO.

Ortega picked up a win over “The Korean Zombie” in his next fight, which didn’t take place until October 2020. That decision victory earned him a second shot at UFC featherweight gold. Then-champ Alexander Volkanovski defeated Ortega by decision.

Ortega then lost to Yair Rodriguez due to a shoulder injury in 2022. When he healed from that injury, Ortega came back to defeat Rodriguez by submission.

During his UFC career, Ortega has earned five “Fight of the Night” bonuses and three “Performance of the Night” awards.

Diego Lopes

Diego Lopes (24-6) has only been to the UFC four times. He is 3-1 in those games. Lopes lost his first UFC fight, facing Movsar Evloev, on five days’ notice, Lopes lost by decision.

Since that setback, Lopes, who fought most of his pre-UFC career in Mexico and Brazil, is 3-0 with three first-round wins. Lopes has submitted Gavin Tucker and knocked out Pat Sabatini and Yusuff under the UFC banner.

Lopes has three fight night bonuses to his name during his four-fight UFC career.

UFC 303 betting odds: Brian Ortega vs. Diego Lopes

Ortega opened as betting favorite in this match, but those chances did not last long. At the time of writing, Lopes is the -142 favorite over Ortega, who is a +120 betting underdog according to Draft Kings.

Significant statistics

Ortega averages 4.07 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy of 38 percent. The former UFC title challenger absorbs 6.54 significant strikes per minute on a 49 percent defensive strike rate. He averages 1.17 takedowns per 15 minutes and succeeds on 27 percent of his takedown attempts. Ortega’s takedown defense is at 57 percent.

Lopes is a more accurate striker, landing 58 percent of his attempts, but his landing rate is slower: 3.22 per minute. Lopes is hit less than Ortega, with 4.73 significant hits absorbed per minute. His defensive hitting percentage is 37 percent. Lopes hasn’t landed a UFC takedown, but his takedown defense is 42 percent.

UFC 303 prediction and picks: Brian Ortega vs. Diego Lopes

Ortega is one of the most durable fighters in the UFC. He can take a lot of punishment and still keep moving forward. With that and his high-level wrestling skills, it would be a surprise if Lopes picks up another finish. Lopes needs to keep his pace and not get too excited when he hurts Ortega. If he can do that, the fight is his to lose. The bet is that Lopes wins by decision.

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