Ortega vs Lopes Predictions: Evenly-matched featherweights battle

 | Friday 28th June 2024, 15:04pm

Friday 28th June 2024, 15:04pm

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Brian Ortega takes on Diego Lopes in a real pick ‘em of a featherweight fight at UFC 303 this Saturday, June 29. The fight will emanate from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. TNT Sports 1 will be televising the show, which is headlined by UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Pereira vs. Jiri Prochazka.

Here are my Ortega vs Lopes predictions ahead of a well-matched scrap.

Ortega vs Lopes Tips

  • Ortega to win @ 4/6
  • Fight to go the distance - No @ 4/7

Ortega doesn’t tend to do bad fights. ‘T-City’ has five Fight of the Night bonuses to his name along with a further three Performance of the Night nods. Ortega is second on the all-time list for featherweight knockouts (seven) and submissions (four). The LA-born star just doesn’t do boring fights.

The one area in which the 33-year-old has fallen short has been championship level. Ortega had title shots against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, but lost on both occasions. The fact both outings were deemed Fight of the Night proved that he can compete at that level. But the next step is to win with a belt on the line.

Lopes is yet to ascend into the championship picture. But, after losing his debut via decision to Movsar Evloev via decision, he has racked up three early wins. A submission over Gavin Tucker and knockouts of Pat Sabatini and Sodiq Yusuff were all wrapped up in an incredible 4:42 of cage time.

Lopes has effectively climbed to 14th in the UFC rankings in less than a round’s worth of action. Truly incredible stuff. Now he gets a chance to take a giant leap forward against one of the featherweight division’s leading lights.

The Mexican looks well-set to take his chance. Lopes started his UFC career with a fight against Evloev, who has never lost in professional MMA. Since then he has looked flawless. Ortega is coming off a February win over Yair Rodriguez, avenging a 2022 defeat to the same foe.

That victory was Ortega’s first since 2020. As his level of activity slows, you wonder about his direction of travel. Having tried and failed in two title fights, is there a genuine desire to go for a third? Assuming there is, does Ortega still have enough left at 33 and with several hard fights on his ledger? A career where he has defeated Octagon legends like Frankie Edgar, Clay Guida and Cub Swanson might be catching up to him.

Lopes looks unencumbered by such concerns. Despite being four years younger, he has had 30 fights to Ortega’s 20. But he looks fresher, particularly judging by the way he has hit the ground running in the UFC. 

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Ortega vs Lopes Fight Odds

Ortega is narrowly the underdog here at 6/5 while Lopes is a good-value favourite at 4/6. A distance fight is priced at 11/8 while the fight is 4/7 to finish early.

Full UFC 303 Card

Main Card

Alex Pereira vs. Jiri Prochazka 

Brian Ortega vs. Diego Lopes 

Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Macy Chiasson 

Anthony Smith vs. Roman Dolidze 

Ian Machado Garry vs. Michael Page

Prelims

Joe Pyfer vs. Marc-Andre Barriault 

Charles Jourdain vs. Jean Silva 

Cub Swanson vs. Andre Fili 

Payton Talbott vs. Yanis Ghemmouri

Early Prelims

Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs. Gillian Robertson 

Andrei Arlovski vs. Martin Buday 

Rei Tsuruya vs. Carlos Hernandez 

Ricky Simon vs. Vinicius Oliveira

Ortega vs Lopes Predictions

This is a close one to call. Does one lean on the UFC experienced of company mainstay Ortega? Or am I to be swept away by the new kid on the block?

Ultimately there is something irresistible in the momentum of Lopes. Ortega is far from the scrapheap, but you do get the impression he might be coming out of the other side of his prime. Meanwhile, Lopes feels smack-bang in the middle of his own peak. I’m taking the Lopes win at 4/6.

You can find all our latest UFC betting tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights UFC page

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