FightWatch- UFC 283: Teixeira vs. Hill (22/01/2023)
By Mick Robson
Going big on PPV, baby! The UFC returned to our TVs last week, as Sean Strickland kicked off 2023 with a big win, but here we have quite a loaded card to shell out the big bucks for. The PPV main card features two title fights- and every fighter there is ranked in their division. It's my personal opinion that at the very least, every PPV fight should feature a ranked fighter, so for all of them to be? That's a "chef's kiss" moment right there.
The UFC tried to crown a new Light Heavyweight Champion at the end of 2022 after Jiri Prochazka went down to injury. At UFC 282, Jan Blachowicz took on Magomed Ankalaev. The fight ended in a spilt draw, so UFC prez Dana White threw up his hands and gave two other top contenders a shot. One of them being Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira, ranked #2, and #7 Jamahal Hill. Glover is a big draw in his home country, and for this show, the UFC were heading back to Rio. A no-brainer, really.
Also, we finally settle Figueiredo vs. Moreno in their 4th fight. First fight was a draw, second was Moreno, third was Figueirdo. We've gotta setlle this so the flyweight division can move on! One thing's for sure, we're guaranteed non-stop action any time these 125ers share the cage.
Let's do this!
Fight Pass Prelims
Fight 1: (135) Daniel Marcos def. Saimon Oliveira via KO (knee to body and punches) at 2:18 of R2
Thoughts: Oliveira almost seemed desperate in his attacks, first chasing takedowns with no set-up, or throwing wild stuff like flying knees and spinning back fists. The attacks did nothing to faze Marcos, who stayed disciplined and found success attacking the body in the second, forcing Oliveira to crumple in a heap. Exciting way to kick off the prelims!
Fight 2: (W-145) Josiane Nunes def. Zarah Fairn via unanimous decision (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Wild start to this one. Huge size advantage for Fairn... seriously, how did both women weigh 145 on the scales? Fairn looked great in the early going, swarming the smaller fighter, but the gas tank waned as the fight went on. This gave Nunes the opportunity to score with her own blitzing style of strikes, pressing Fairn against the fence and firing away. Fairn had her moments, but it seemed to be Nunes who had the momentum as the fight went on. Entertaining stuff overall, and definitely Fairn's best showing in the UFC after having been finished in the first round in her previous two Octagon appearances.
Fight 3: (170) Nicolas Dalby def. Warlley Alves via split decision (29-28 X 2, 28-29)
Thoughts: This was a high-pace fight. This was the first fight of the card I tuned in for live- gotta love a sleep-in- and the crowd were booing every time they clinched, leading me to believe that they were spoiled in the first two fights. Dalby threw 282 strikes- non-stop output and mixing up the attack. Alves came back strong in the 3rd with aggression and an increased output of his own, but in the end Dalby gets the nod- a slight surprise given that we're in Rio, but I believe it was the right call. Fun fight.
Fight 4: (155) Ismael Bonfim def. Terrance McKinney via KO (flying knee) at 2:17 of R2
Thoughts: Holy shit! Bonfim looked faster and more powerful the whole time, and McKinney looked almost scared and just trying to survive. He got through R1, but R2 saw Bonfim turn up the heat and trap Terrance against the fence. A huge right hand sends the mouthpiece flying out for the second time in the fight, before a huge flying knee makes McKinney faceplant. I honestly think that's KO of the Year sorted, that was an incredible debut!
Fight 5: (135) Cody Stamann def. Luan Lacerda via UD (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Entertaining battle through the first couple of rounds, with more body work than we're using to seeing on both sides- kicks for Lacerda, punches for Stamann. R3 saw the output slow A LOT, Lacerda got Stamann down for a bit with a takedown, but nothing of real significance happened, causing the fight to end on a bit of a flat note.
Fight 6: (265) Jailton Almeida def. Shamil Abdurakhimov via TKO (ground and pound) at 2:56 of R2
Thoughts: Pure domination by Almeida. Took one hard punch from Abdurakhimov, then took him down, worked positions, submission attempts and ground and pound. Twitter scorecards called it a 10-8 for Almeida in R1, and although Abdurakhimov showed heart in answering the ref's call to fight back, Almeida just kept throwing punches until his opponent broke. Extremely impressive.
Fight 1: (170) Gabriel Bonfim def. Mounir Lazzez via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:49 of R1
Thoughts: The commentary team spoke about Gabriel actually being considered the better of the Bonfim brothers, and as good as Ismael was earlier, Gabriel indeed surpassed it. Threw strikes with bad intention, forcing Lazzez to shoot... and the second he did, Bonfim wrapped him in the guillotine, flipping through to mount, and ending the fight in quick and spectacular fashion. Feel like both Bonfim boys deserve bonuses from Dana on this one!
Fight 2: (155) Thiago Moises def. Melquizael Costa via submission (face crank) at 4:05 of R2
Thoughts: Costa was making his UFC debut, and seemed very comfortable, smiling and laughing in there, but eventually the more experienced Moises was able to break him down, scoring on a big double leg takedown and landing crushing punches and elbows until the opening for the submission came. Decent fight, if nothing spectacular, but the drama picked up nicely towards the finishing sequence.
Fight 3: (185) Brunno Ferreira def. Gregory Rodrigues via KO (punch) at 4:13 of R1
Thoughts: Wow! Ferreira was a +260 underdog, a late replacement for Brad Tavares (Rodrigues vs. Tavares would have been fireworks), and he comes up large with the counter punch knockout. Not even a huge amount of power, just placement and timing. Big fan of Robocop, but that's MMA- just wasn't his night. Another excellent debut on this card from Ferreira.
Fight 4: (205) Ihor Potieria def. Shogun Rua via TKO (punches) at 4:05 of R1
Thoughts: Deflating end to the legendary career of Shogun. The Brazilian crowd was right behind him, cheering loud for any bit of offense, but as soon as Rua was clipped, it was the beginning of the end, and the younger, hungrier Potieria pounced on the opening, raining down punches on a turtled up Shogun. Thanks for the memories, Shogun.
Fight 1: (205) Johnny Walker def. Paul Craig via TKO (punches) at 2:16 of R1
Thoughts: Walker destroyed Craig while one of his legs was caught up in the air. And he did The Worm again as his post-fight celebration. I hope his shoulder's okay. Explosive start to the PPV!
Jose Aldo is entering the UFC Hall of Fame as the headliner in 2023. Well deserved for the King of Rio, one of the greatest featherweights of all time.
Fight 2: (W-125) Jessica Andrade def. Lauren Murphy via UD (30-25 X 2, 30-26)
Thoughts: Somehow Lauren Murphy made it to the final horn. Daniel Cormier was yelling for the ref to stop the fight, but Murphy was throwing back and staying in the fight. Nothing Murphy landed seemed to trouble Andrade at all. Andrade landed a combination of leg kick and punches to the head over 15 minutes, turning Murphy's face into hamburger mince. Murphy tried for takedowns but was ineffective. A dominant, one-sided performance.
Fight 3: (170) Gilbert Burns def. Neil Magny via submission (head and arm choke) at 4:15 of R1
Thoughts: Ran through him like a hot knife through butter! Burns scored a huge takedown early, patiently worked his way from side control to mount, then locks in the arm triangle. Flawless performance solidifying Burns' position in the top 5 at welterweight. According to Jon Anik, Burns did not absorb a single significant strike in this fight. Brilliant.
Fight 4: UFC Flyweight Championship- Brandon Moreno def. Deiveson Figueiredo (c) via doctor stoppage at 5:00 of R3
Thoughts: A much more competitive fight than the rest of this main card. Controversy as far as this crowd is concerned, but it was a punch to the eye that rendered Figueiredo unable to see, and we have Moreno as the undisputed flyweight champion, in a performance where he was already comfortably ahead thanks to ground control. Rio doesn't like it, but Moreno closes this chapter of his career in impressive fashion.
In the post-fight interview, Figueiredo has his gloves off, but apparently he's not retiring- he's moving up a division. Probably a good move, as the difficulty of his weight cut to 125lbs is often the story of his fights. Best of luck to the former champ going forward.
Also, the Brazilian fans are absolutely awful. Booing Moreno throughout the post-fight interview is one thing, but the new champ needed a security escort as the people in the stands threw drinks at him. Disgusting behaviour!
Main Event: UFC Light Heavyweight Championship- Jamahal Hill def. Glover Teixeira via UD (50-44 X 3)
Thoughts: This was a war! Glover showed his ever-present toughness, but this was a time where Glover's age started to show. He was game, but a step slower and a step less active than Hill, who showed himself adept in all areas, preventing Glover from imposing too much of his ground game, and bloodying him up with some jabs and strong head kicks. With this, Hill becomes the first fighter from Dana White's Contender Series to become a UFC Champion.
Hill shows a lot of emotion, crying in his post-fight interview. The Brazilian crowd actually give him a little respect and cheer him. I'll be damned.
Glover gets a post-fight interview and says he's too tough for his own good. He says he's going to focus on training with UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. He's hanging up the gloves with this one. Hell of a performance to go out on. I think it was the right time. Thank you, Glover Teixeira.
Also, of note, he calls out the crowd for throwing drinks at the last champion (Moreno), and tells them to show respect to Hill, because they're walking out together. Now that's a class act! How can you not love Glover?
Great showing for UFC's first PPV of 2023. We've cleared up some ambiguity in the UFC flyweight and light heavyweight division. Some high quality fights, but more great individual performances. Lots of highlight reel material to be found on UFC 283. And also the emotional moments of seeing Shogun and Glover retire. Highly recommended show!
Until next time, take care.