For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFC will head back to Brazil for an event featuring some of the country’s biggest stars, live from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main event will be a light heavyweight showdown, with the vacant title on the line, between former champion Glover Teixeira and surging contender Jamahal Hill.
Originally slated to take on Jiří Procházka in a rematch in December, Teixeira decided not to take on Magomed Ankalaev on short notice, and, instead, Ankalaev faced another former champion, Jan Blachowicz, for the belt. That contest ended in a controversial split draw, and the belt therefore remained unclaimed. That night, UFC President Dana White announced this weekend’s main event, removing Hill from his scheduled fight with Anthony Smith, and lining him up to take on the wily veteran with gold on the line.
Teixeira became the division’s champion two days after his 42nd birthday by submitting the aforementioned Błachowicz, but he subsequently lost the belt in an instant classic against Procházka. As the sun begins to set on his career, this may be the last chance he has to, once again, have the belt wrapped around his waist.
Hill has risen to stardom quickly with some jaw-dropping performances. He has won three straight fights, all by knockout, with the most recent coming against former title challenger Thiago Santos. Teixeira provides a unique test for the up-and-comer, and Hill has his work cut out for him, if he is going to go into enemy territory to pick up the championship.
The co-main event also has gold on the line, this time in the flyweight division where Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet for an unprecedented fourth time in the UFC, as they look to unify Moreno’s interim title with Figueiredo’s championship. The series between the two men sits all square with one win a piece and a draw resulting from the pair’s first meeting. Since 2019, the only person to beat either man is the other. The two have shown that they are tremendously equally matched and this fight has the makings for another memorable fight.
Elsewhere on the card, the featured prelim will mark the end of one of the most storied careers in the sport’s history. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will retire after his clash with Ihor Potieria. After a 21-year career, Shogun will hang up the gloves at age 41. Not only is he a former UFC light heavyweight champion, but he also won the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix at a time where that was the premier mixed martial arts promotion. Potieria had a 15-fight winning streak snapped in his UFC debut, after earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. The Ukrainian stalwart will have the crowd, and most MMA fans across the world, rooting against him, as he looks to earn the biggest victory of his career against the retiring legend.
The UFC 283: Teixeria vs. Hill early prelims air live on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET, with the preliminary card following on ABC, ESPN3 and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. The main card airs live on ESPN+ pay-per-view starting at 10 p.m. ET. Combat Press writers Dan Kuhl and Matt Petela preview the action and make their picks this week as they go Toe-to-Toe.
For the second straight pay-per-view, the light heavyweight championship will be on the line; who goes home with the belt?
Kuhl: With Jiří Procházka out with an injury, and Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev failing to earn a decisive win for the vacant title in December, the UFC is now giving Glover Teixeira a chance to earn his title back, when he faces Jamahal Hill.
Teixeira was technically supposed to fight Ankalaev for the title, but he got passed over by Błachowicz, because he wanted more time to prepare for Ankalaev. Teixeira has suffered only one loss in the last four years and six fights, and that was when he lost his strap to the now-sidelined Czech in Jun. 2022. Prior to that, he had steamrolled Anthony Smith, submitted Thiago Santos, and submitted Błachowicz to earn the belt. This has all been quite impressive for the 43-year-old, who has shown no signs of slowing down. He will now take on Hill, in an attempt to earn his title back.
It’s easy to appreciate Hill’s quick rise to the top. He has been in the UFC for only three-and-a-half years, and currently sits at 5-1-1. Technically, he should be 6-1, but his TKO of Klidson Abreu in May 2020 was overturned after he tested positive for marijuana. Unlike Teixeira, who has proven to be dangerous everywhere, Hill has only finished fights by knockout. The 31-year-old Midwesterner has one career loss on record, when he dropped a TKO to Paul Craig in Jun. 2021. Since then, he has strung together three knockouts in a row over Jimmy Crute, Johnny Walker and the aforementioned Santos.
Even though Teixeira has a far superior grappling game to Hill, I wouldn’t exactly call this a striker-versus-grappler affair, because Teixeira has some powerful striking as well. The bigger issue in this one is that Hill has a more basic plan of attack, and Teixeira has a tough code to crack.
I might be over-simplifying this one, but I see Hill trying to control the striking game on the feet, Teixeira clinching him against the cage, Hill ending up on his back, and Teixeira finishing this one with a submission before the midpoint of Round 3.
Petela: I don’t think this fight makes it to the third round. Jamahal Hill’s game plan might very well be basic but he executes it nearly flawlessly. He will knock out Glover Teixeira early in this fight to become the undisputed light heavyweight champion.
The last time we saw Glover Teixeira in action didn’t show any signs of slowing down due to age, but, time and time again, we see fighters just fall off a cliff as they get older. There is no scientific reasoning behind why I think this is going to be that moment for Teixeira. It’s just a gut feeling. When you combine that with Hill reaching his prime and firing on all cylinders, this fight won’t go well for the former champion. I expect Teixeira to be a step or so slower than Hill from the start of this contest, and he will be unable to close the distance effectively. Hill will circle away as Teixeira tries to force the clinch and just pick him apart at distance, frustrating the Brazilian legend. In Round 2, it will be more of the same, until an over-aggressive Teixeira leaves himself exposed, and Hill lands a devastating shot that turns the lights out. Hill leaves Brazil as the new light heavyweight champion.
Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet for the fourth time with the series currently standing at 1-1-1; which flyweight bests his rival and leaves as the undisputed champion?
Petela: Deiveson Figueiredo. And, the blame for Brandon Moreno coming up short this weekend lands squarely on the shoulders of James Krause. There’s no doubt that Krause is one of the best coaches in the sport, and I have always been a fan of his, but the mess that he got himself into over allegedly illegal gambling practices is going to cost his new star pupil the championship.
Moreno wasn’t a lifelong product of Krause’s training, but he looked better than ever in his interim-title-winning performance over Kai Kara-France. It’s not only that Moreno won’t have Krause in his corner this weekend, but it’s the stress and confusion that comes with an unexpected coaching change that will have him ever so slightly off his game. That’s all it will take for Figueiredo to best him and unify the belts.
These two fighters are incredibly well-matched. Two of their three fights have been razor-close, with the first meeting ending in a draw. The middle fight, where Moreno won the belt via submission, certainly wasn’t a fluke, but it was the exception to the rule.
Nine times out of ten, if these two fight, it will end with both men feeling like they have a rightful claim to victory. This weekend won’t be any different. This is going to end up being another back and forth affair where each man has his moments, but, ultimately, it will be Figueiredo who does the better work and gets his hand raised. He won’t be exploiting any technical inefficiencies in Moreno’s game, he will just be the sharper fighter inside the cage and I firmly believe that is because of Moreno being affected by the drama surrounding his former coach.
Deiveson Figueiredo by decision to close out the quadrilogy.
Kuhl: I’m not nearly as bearish on Moreno as my colleague in this one. And, I certainly don’t think the Krause thing is going to affect him that much. Sure, he put his trust and training in Krause’s hands, and, at least according to social media, he seems to support his coach. But, let’s not forget that he made his pro debut almost 12 years ago, every time he fought Figueiredo was under his old camp, Entram Gym in Mexico, and, living in Las Vegas, he has trained at the UFC Performance Institute in the past, which is what he has been doing since the Krause scandal broke. As far as training for this one, I think Moreno has been just fine.
Sure, Moreno bounced back nicely in his fight with Kai Kara-France, but it’s hard to only peg that to his time with Krause. Styles make fights, and Kara-France is a better match-up, stylistically, than Figgy. That being said, Figueiredo has a bit of a disadvantage in this one.
The Brazilian has not gone this long between fights – 364 days – in over four years. Moreno, however, just fought last summer, when he secured the interim strap. While that may not be an issue, it’s certainly something to consider. Also, Figgy, basically, won two of their fights by decision – one was a draw due to a point deduction – but Moreno has finished him once, which means he can do it again.
If anything, I feel like the Krause thing might actually be extra motivation for Moreno. He trained with him before and after his last fight, up until just a couple months ago, and Krause has been imparting his knowledge along the way. Taking that fresh approach, and practicing it with a tough crew at the P.I. – in addition to other local gyms – he has been training hard for redemption, and I think he will get it on Saturday night.
I also believe this one goes the distance, but I see Moreno as the fresher fighter, since Figueiredo has been focused on just getting back in the saddle. I think Moreno will show some flashes of brilliance, will control the pace, and will wear down his opponent until the final bell. If he’s not able to secure a late-fight finish, he will take this one by points.
Who’s the biggest winner at UFC 283?
Kuhl: Glover Teixeira. When it seemed like he got shafted out of his chance to earn back his title, Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev failed to deliver a convincing win. Hill is not quite at the point yet to beat the Brazilian, so if Teixeira can secure the strap one more time, that will tee up a potential rematch when Jiří Procházka hopefully makes his return from injury later this year. Teixeira might be well into his 40’s at this point, but he still seems to have something left in the tank. Finishing Jamahal Hill will send another breath of life into a career that seemingly has nine of them.
Petela: Deiveson Figueiredo. There is no way the UFC books a fifth fight between Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, so this fourth clash will be the last in their rivalry. That is good news for Figueiredo, since there is probably no other flyweight on the UFC roster who is on the level of these two champions. A win this weekend will ensure that Figueiredo’s title run lasts for quite some time after vanquishing his rival, and he will run through the next several contenders before moving up to the bantamweight division and looking to earn double-champ status.
Who’s the biggest loser at UFC 283?
Petela: Glover Teixeira. This could likely be his last professional fight and exiting with a loss will leave a sour taste in his mouth. Add to that, it is happening in his home country of Brazil, and this will be a rough night for the former champion. Things haven’t gone Teixeira’s way since, losing his title to Jiří Procházka. First, Procházka got injured, and the rematch was scrapped. Then Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Błachowicz fought to a draw for the vacant belt, leaving him to face rising star Hill for the still vacant title. Hill is a bad matchup for the veteran Teixeira, and it will be an unfortunate series of events that mark the close of a storied career.
Kuhl: I need to qualify his one right out of the gate. I do not think Shogun Rua is a loser by any means. However, for a legend, with such a long and storied career, it would have been a lot cooler if he went out against someone other than Ihor Potieria, who is a 26-year-old promotional sophomore who lost his UFC debut, which was his only fight in the last 16 months. Frankly, it’s kind of a bunch of bullshit. I mean, his last fight was a split-decision loss to Ovince St. Preux only eight months ago. Now, he’s fighting a guy who is winless in the UFC?
Shogun is fighting his retirement fight in his home country, and they could have at least given him a legit opponent. EVen if he asked for a lower level guy, they could have done him better. If he loses, that’s a shitty way to go out. If he wins, it’s against a lackluster opponent who is still in the developmental stage. No matter what happens, I feel like Shogun’s team and the UFC could have done a lot better for his final fight.
What one fighter’s UFC career is on the ropes at this event?
Kuhl: I mean, it probably doesn’t make sense to go with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on this one, as he is set to retire after his fight with Ihor Potieria in his home country of Brazil. A younger fighter who should definitely be concerned is Cody Stamann. The Michigan native had a rough skid, dropping three in a row, before coming back and beating an aging Eddie Wineland, who had only won one fight in the last five years. Stamann will be facing a 12-1 promotional newcomer in LFA standout and former Shooto Brasil champ Luan Lacerda. The Brazilian is a submission artist, and another loss could put Stamann on the chopping block.
Petela: Zarah Fairn. She has dropped both of her fights inside the promotion and got finished in each bout. If she comes up short against Josiane Nunes, it is hard to think of a good reason the UFC keeps her around. The women’s featherweight division barely exists as it is and will probably cease to exist once champion Amanda Nunes no longer holds the title, however that happens. Nunes is in quite the opposite position, she is on a hot streak right now. She has won eight in a row and a victory over Fairn might earn her a title shot in the shallow division.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
Petela: Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Jailton Almeida. Impressive isn’t a strong enough word to describe how Almeida has looked since joining the UFC. He has won both of his last two fights with rear-naked chokes inside the first round and won via first round TKO in his debut. This fight is intriguing because not only is Abdurakhimov a step up in competition, but he’s a bigger heavyweight and Almeida has fought much of his career down at light heavyweight. If Almeida can impose his will on someone with the size and ability of Abdurakhimov it will definitely open eyes and could be the springboard he needs to insert his name into the list of future contenders in the heavyweight division.
Kuhl: I’m looking forward to Warlley Alves vs. Nicolas Dalby.Both of these guys carry a kill-or-be-killed mentality into every fight, and it is bound to be entertaining. Dalby has only really lost one fight since 2018, and Alves hasn’t been to a decision in over five years. If there is a fight fans don’t want to miss, it’s this one.
Who takes home the “Performance of the Night” honors?
Kuhl: For the second week in a row, I’m going with two fighters, instead of one. If history repeats itself, the co-main event between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno could easily earn a third “Fight of the Night” bonus in four fights. These two are so well matched, and they put on such a great show, that it is hard to imagine a different outcome from a bonus perspective.
Petela: Gilbert Burns. I must admit that I couldn’t have been more wrong about how Neil Magny would fare against Daniel Rodriguez, but I am even more confident that Burns will finish Magny than I was about Rodriguez. This fight won’t make it out of the first round. Burns will submit Magny in less time (3:43) than it took Rafael Dos Anjos to finish “The Haitian Sensation,” and it will be more than enough to earn him some extra cash. The difference in grappling abilities is stark in this matchup and Burns has above average ability to secure takedowns. This will not go well for Magny.
Pair this card with…
Petela: With 15 scheduled fights, this is going to be a long night so don’t tire yourself out with any booze this weekend. Instead, celebrate the UFC’s return to Brazil visiting your local Brazilian BBQ place for a hearty lunch, grab a quick power nap and then settle in for a big night of fights.
Kuhl: Sticking with the Brazilian theme, I’m leaning toward feijoada. It’s a traditional stew of black beans, pork shoulder, and some kind of beef, such as short rib. It is stewed with onion, garlic, and chicken or beef broth, then served over rice with garnishes like oranges and sausage. It is deep in flavor with a ton of Brazilian flair, just like this card. Top-to-bottom, there is a Brazilian in every bout, and a couple of them will feature two. And, even with those statistics, nine other countries will be represented on the 15-fight card, so not only does the dish itself fit that card, but it is very filling, and a couple bowls will get you through the whole evening, without spending a bunch of time in the kitchen.
Main Card (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
LHW Championship: Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill
FlyW Championship: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
WW: Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny
Women’s FlyW: Lauren Murphy vs. Jessica Andrade
LHW: Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker
Preliminary Card (ABC/ESPN/ESPN3, 8 p.m. ET)
LHW: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Ihor Potieria
MW: Gregory Rodrigues vs. Bruno Ferreira
LW: Thiago Moises vs. Melquizael Costa
HW: Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Jailton Almeida
WW: Gabriel Bonfim vs. Mounir Lazzez
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)
BW: Luan Lacerda vs. Cody Stamann
LW: Ismael Bonfim vs. Terrance McKinney
WW: Warlley Alves vs. Nicolas Dalby
Women’s FW: Josiane Nunes vs. Zarah Fairn
BW: Salmon Oliveira vs. Daniel Marcos
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