Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to Rio de Janeiro for its 2nd fight show of the year this weekend on January 22nd.
Brazil is a logical destination as the country has been producing some of the best athletes this sport has ever seen. The UFC 283 event, packed with potentially exciting fights, will see skillful Brazilian fighters representing their country in every single duel.
Let’s take a look at some of the most anticipated fights and what led up to them.
Glover Teixeira vs Jamahal Hill
Teixeira already owned the Light Heavyweight champion belt not so long ago. At age 42 and after nearly 20 years in the business, the Brazilian finally got his hands on it in 2021, becoming the oldest first-time champion in UFC history.
However, the euphoria didn’t last too long, as just a little over seven months later, his attempt to defend the belt failed in an epic war with Jiří Procházka from the Czech Republic. After plenty of anticipation about a rematch, the champ decided to vacate his title due to a devastating shoulder injury. Brazilian’s desire for a rematch and refusal to fight Magomed Ankalaev for the belt led to the Russian facing off with former titleholder Jan Błachowicz from Poland. After a 25-minute battle, it looked like a loss for the Pole. However, the judges had other opinions, and the bout concluded in a contentious split draw, which left the belt without an owner heading into 2023.
Unknown when and if the coveted rematch against Procházka will take place, Teixeira (33-8-0) will now attempt to reclaim his champion title in a fight against the division’s No. 7 Jamal Hill. The 11-1-0 American, currently enjoying a three-fight win streak, could top his opponent purely because of his speed and energy. He enters the fight as a slight favorite, with OlyBet offering odds of 1.73 in his favor.
Despite being 43, Teixeira doesn’t seem to be slowing down and can still be hugely dangerous in all areas, especially on the ground. Not to mention the amount of experience the veteran boasts. He will enter the bout with the odds of 2.15.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
We’ve seen rematches. We’ve seen trilogies. How about a quadrilogy? So far, no fighters in the UFC have faced each other four times, but that is about to change. “The Assassin Baby” Moreno (20-6-2) from Mexico and current Flyweight titleholder Figueiredo (21-2-1) from Brazil are set to settle one of the most captivating UFC rivalries.
It all started on December 2020 when “Deus Da Guerra” (The God of War) faced Moreno for the first time in an attempt to defend his title for the second time in just three weeks. After epic five rounds of action, an illegal low blow in the groin by Figueiredo in the third round proved to be costly. It resulted in a point deduction for the champ, which ultimately led to a majority draw. The Brazilian retained his title.
After such a thrilling encounter, there was no doubt that the organization and fighters would want to run it back. Six months later, they did just that. This time around, the Mexican proved to be better prepared and thirsty for a win. The rematch was rather one-sided, with Moreno gaining control from the start and maintaining it for the entire fight. After dropping his opponent in the first round and performing a takedown in the second, he finished the fight in the third via a rear-naked choke to become the first Mexico native to win a UFC title.
The trilogy fight took place another six months later and looked much more like their first encounter. After close and competitive 25 minutes, it was down to the judges to determine the winner. Ultimately, Figueiredo won by a unanimous decision, earning a trio of 48-47 scores, and regained his Flyweight champion belt.
After the third fight, Figueiredo was forced to take some time off due to injuries. During his absence, Moreno was given a shot at the title once more in a rematch against Kai Kara-France. He succeeded – and in style! A brutal body kick in the closing seconds of the 3rd round stunned the Kiwi, crumpling him to the ground. A flurry of strikes immediately followed to force the stoppage and win the interim UFC Flyweight title.
After almost a year away from the Octagon, Figueredo is back, with Moreno ready for their next meeting. Now, with one win each and a draw between them, both fighters will enter the fight as champions. Coming off wins in their last bouts, both of them surely have some momentum. It’s hard to predict the winner after seeing every possible outcome in their first three fights. However, our bookmakers have Figueredo as the underdog for the upcoming bout, with the odds of 2.02. Meanwhile, fan-favorite Moreno is rated at 1.83. Either way, we’ll surely witness another great showdown, backed by humbleness and mutual respect by both fighters.
Other noteworthy fights
A handful of other exciting encounters will accompany the mouthwatering main and co-main fights.
Brazilian Gilbert Burns vs Neil Magny. Full nine months after his last fight, the 36-year-old former title challenger Burns (20-5-0) will face Neil Magny (27-10-0) from the USA. The Brazilian has proved to be able to push even the top-rated fighters to their limit. Best examples are his latest fights with Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight title, which ended in a final-round loss by a TKO, and the bout against still undefeated Khamzat Chimaev, who proved to be superior after a decision of judges by a trio of 29-28 scores. However, his opponent has also shown to be a tough one to crack. Magny holds the record for most wins in the UFC welterweight division at 20, surpassing even the legendary Georges St-Pierre. Both fighters have experience, and both are eager to prove themselves in the later stages of their career. However, Burns is rated as a heavy favorite with the odds of 1.22, while Magny sits at 4.50.
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker. Although not a title fight, this one is bound to bring plenty of excitement. Brazilian Walker (19-7-0) is well known for his bizarre, unique style and personality. A potent striker, he has won 15 of his fights by KO. Meanwhile, his Scottish opponent Craig (16-5-1) is the exact opposite – a submission specialist with 13 wins in his account coming by this method. However, bookmakers have Walker winning this fight at the odds of 1.54 and Craig being the underdog at 2.55.
Besides the aforementioned, Mauricio Rua (27-13-1) from Brazil will fight for the final time in his legendary career that has spanned over two decades. He will face Ihor Potieria (19-3-0) from Ukraine before entering a well-deserved retirement. For the Brazilian, OlyBet offers the odds of 2.70, while Potieria stands as the favorite at 1.48.
Believe it or not, this is not even half of the fights scheduled for UFC 283. The fight show in Brazil truly promises to be packed with eye-pleasing encounters, led by the two title fights. All that’s left for us is to wait for a little until being able to feast our eyes on world-class fighters in their element.