Whenever it happens, Jamahal Hill’s first run as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion will be exciting.
Hill connects with a type of intense power, rare even by UFC standards, and his fights are always worth watching. With only 13 fights in his career, he continues to put in an enormous amount of work, which has manifested itself in one remarkable way: Hill gets better with every fight.
But for all the positives, there is a negative. He’s fighting Glover Teixeira at UFC 283, and Teixeira has a lot more ways to win this fight.
There is a path for Hill on Saturday. That’s winning this fight by knockout. I’m by no means implying that’s not an option, but Teixeira also has a pretty strong chin, one that will no doubt be put to the test. However, there are several ways that Teixeira can end this fight. If Teixeira grabs Hill’s back, he will apply the choke and win the fight. If Teixeira goes up the hill, or takes the guard position, he can throw a flurry of punches and punches and win the fight. Unless Hill stays on his feet, it will be an extraordinarily difficult fight for him to win.
Hill’s time should come, but the present is Teixeira’s. Now 44 years old, it’s remarkable that Teixeira continues to be such a force. His greatness will reach a whole new level if he can become a two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Figueiredo and Moreno finally settle scores
As Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno prepare to fight for the fourth time, it will be extremely interesting to see who can make the best adjustments from their previous three encounters.
Two out of three of his fights have been extremely close. Figueiredo was slightly better in the first, but a costly penalty proved devastating in the tie. Moreno was superior in the rematch, forcing a submission, and they were nearly even in the trilogy. What will separate them now?
I still think this comes down to power. Figueiredo is going to connect more than Moreno. He is also a better defender, protecting himself from heavy blows. Both Figueiredo and Moreno enjoy putting pressure on their opponents. Moreno’s jab is a very effective weapon, but he has a hard time connecting when Figueiredo is drilling him with leg kicks. Figueiredo needs to relentlessly stick to his game plan, which was his recipe for success when they fought last January. But a valid concern is Figueiredo’s cardio. If either of them runs out of gas, he will go to Figueiredo. If that happens, it opens up a whole new list of possibilities for Moreno to win.
This has all the ingredients to be an outstanding fight. A part of me still feels that we will eventually see these two face off for the fifth time, but that won’t be for some time. It will be close, but I am giving Figueiredo a slight advantage.
When it’s time to remove the gloves, a fighter is often the last to know.
But at the age of 41, when he approaches the fight no. 42, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is ready to say goodbye. This is his last fight, and he walks away with some legendary memories. His fight against Rampage Jackson in 2005 will live on well beyond his fighting career, as will his conquest of Alistair Overeem in 2007. Although he is no longer the fighter he once was, Rua (27-13-1) has remained competitive enough to split his last four decisions. His longevity is incredibly impressive, and he looks to avoid going backwards against Ihor Potieria.
Potieria (18-3) must be salivating at the thought of ending Rua’s career with a knockout punch. He already has nine KO wins and works fast; all but five of his victories ended in the first round. But it won’t be easy.
Throughout his career, Rua made sure his fights were violent collisions. It wouldn’t be right if this was any different. As I watch Potieria take the win, let’s hope we get glimpses of the great Rua one last time.
The Pick ‘Em Section
UFC 283 Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Glover Teixeira vs. jamahal hill
To choose: Glover Teixeira
UFC 283 Flyweight Title Unification Fight: Deiveson Figueiredo (c) vs. Brandon Moreno (ic)
To choose: Deiveson Figueiredo
UFC 283 welterweight fight: Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny
To choose: Gilbert Burns
UFC 283 Light Heavyweight Fight: Johnny Walker vs. Paul Craig
To choose: Paul Craig
UFC 283 Light Heavyweight Fight: Shogun Rua vs. Ihor Poteria
To choose: Ihor Poteria
Last week: 1-4
Record 2023: 1-4