Combat Sports

UFC 283 Preview

Photo Courtesy of UFC

The UFC is back this weekend with its first PPV event of the year. Two world titles will be on the line this Saturday from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. In the Main Event, former champion Glover Teixeira will face rising knockout artist Jamahal Hill for the vacant Light Heavyweight title. The Co-Main Event will be a historic matchup for the Flyweight Championship between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno who will be fighting for the fourth time. Also, on the UFC 283 card veterans Neil Magny and Gilbert Burns are set to face off in a ranked welterweight matchup.

#2 Glover Teixeira (33-8) vs #7 Jamahal Hill (11-1)

The vacant Light Heavyweight Championship will be up for grabs this weekend when former champion Glover Teixeira takes on the supremely talented Jamahal Hill. The title is currently vacant due to a significant shoulder injury to the champion Jiri Prochazka that was sustained in training. Prochazka’s injury required surgery and he will miss at least six-seven months. Teixeira is coming off the fight of the year with Prochazka and is looking to regain his belt. Hill has knocked out four of his last five opponents and is coming into this matchup with a massive amount of confidence. Teixeira is a 22-fight veteran of the promotion and is as battle tested as they come. At 43 years old it will be interesting to see what version of Teixeira shows up on Saturday night. Jamahal Hill is 31 years old and will have a three-inch reach advantage over his opponent.

Hill will look to keep this fight standing where he has tremendous power in his hands. Teixeira is a very well-rounded fighter (18 Ko, 10 Sub), but may lack the speed to strike with Hill at this stage in his career. Texeira however, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and will hold a significant advantage on the ground. In Jamahal Hill’s only professional loss, he got caught in a triangle submission by Paul Craig and received multiple devastating elbows until the referee stopped the fight. Texeira could win this fight by submission, but he will have to take Hill down first. Hill sports a 65% takedown defense rate which is above average for the division.

Division Clarity and Prediction

This is an important fight for the division due to the draw that occurred between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev in December’s Light Heavyweight Championship match. Both fighters put on lackluster performances according to Dana White, so he scheduled Hill vs Texiera for the belt immediately following that contest. With the belt being vacant for over four months this fight will at least bring clarity to the division. This is an extremely hard fight to predict, online sportsbooks have Hill as a slight (-132) favorite. Hill will be the younger and faster fighter in this matchup but must avoid the ground with the experienced Texiera. I think Hill will win, but the longer the fight goes it favors Texiera who has been scheduled for five-round main events nine times. Hill has never been the five-round distance and starts his fights at an extremely fast pace.

(C) Deiveson Figueiredo (21-2) vs (IC) Brandon Moreno (20-6)

The Co-Main event will be the first time a pair of fighters have competed against each other four times in UFC history. Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno each hold victories over one another with a third fight ending in a draw. Figueiredo took time off due to injury and while he was gone Moreno became the Interim Champion after knocking out Kai Kara-France. In the most recent matchup, Figueiredo was able to come out on top in a unanimous decision victory. Before that fight, Moreno Submitted Figueredo to win the belt at UFC 263. Both fighters have separated themselves from the rest of the division and have similar skill sets.

Figueiredo is a powerful puncher for the 125-pound weight class and also has eight submission victories on his record. Moreno has an aggressive style that puts pressure on his opponents to open up his boxing on the inside. Moreno has tremendous kicks he utilizes at range and his takedown defense has improved as well. This will be a highly competitive fight much like the last three and could very well go the distance. Figueiredo has not competed since his previous contest with Moreno in January of last year. Currently, Moreno is a (-130 Fanduel) favorite.

#5 Gilbert Burns (20-5) vs #12 Neil Magny (27-9)

UFC veterans and ranked Welterweight contenders collide this Saturday as #5 Gilbert Burns faces #12 Neil Magny. Burns is coming off a decision loss to undefeated Chechnyan phenom Khamzat Chimaev. Many thought Burns looked fantastic in that fight, being the only man to take Chimaev to a decision. Burns’s last victory was a dominant decision over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in July of 2021. Magny submitted Daniel Rodriguez in his last fight and at 35 years old is looking to make one last run at the Welterweight title.

Burns is a three-time Jiu-Jitsu World Champion and is one of the best submission specialists in the sport. To go along with his impressive submissions Burns has proven to be dangerous with his striking as well (6 Ko). Magny is a tall fighter for the weight class at 6’3 and has a five-inch height advantage and a nine-inch reach advantage in this contest. Magny will look to utilize his jab and kicks to keep Burns at distance. Burns will need to get past the reach of Magny and take the fight to the ground. Burns can strike effectively on the inside but will not want to stay at distance with Magny. Online Sportsbooks currently have Burns as a (-500) favorite.

#9 Paul Craig (16-5) vs #12 Johnny Walker (19-7)

A fan-friendly contest between ranked Light Heavyweights is set to open up the UFC 283 Main Card as #9 Paul Craig will fight #12, Johnny Walker. Craig was on a four-fight win streak before losing his last fight in a disappointing decision to Volkan Oezdemir. Craig holds impressive submission victories over title challengers Jamahal Hill and Magomed Ankalaev. At one time Walker was one of the hottest prospects in the sport but has fallen on hard times recently. Walker submitted Ion Cutelaba in September but dropped two in a row to Hill and Thiago Santos before that.

At his best Walker is a devastating and creative striker who can end the fight in a second. Walker seems to struggle figuring out where he should take the fight at times. Against Jamahal Hill he played his opponent’s game and exchanged punches at boxing range resulting in a loss. Walker under no circumstances can go to the ground with Craig. Craig is the best grappler in the UFC at 205 pounds and will be more than happy if the fight ends up on the floor. Craig has struggled on the feet and has lacked confidence in his striking at times. This is a classic striker vs grappler matchup and should be an entertaining start to the PPV. Walker is currently a (-190) favorite.

UFC 283 Prelims

The UFC 283 Prelims are on ESPN+ and contain a few intriguing matchups. Former PRIDE and UFC champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his final walk to the octagon on Saturday against UFC newcomer Ihor Potieria. Rua is one of the most well-respected fighters in the sport’s history and will find himself in the UFC Hall of Fame very soon. A superstar in Japan and The United States, Rua has captivated fans with his knockout wins over the years (Rampage Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Lyoto Machida, Ricardo Arona, and Chuck Lidell). Rua will be fighting in his native country of Brazil and will look to finish his career on a positive note. Also, on the UFC 283 prelims Gregory “RoboCop” Rodrigues will be taking on undefeated prospect Brunno Ferreira who will be making his promotional debut.

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