Best bets for UFC 283: Teixeira vs. Hill
This week’s UFC 283 is an epic card not only because of the many competitively matched fights but also because the organization makes its return to the birthplace of BJJ, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Highly motivated world-class fighting talent arriving from every corner of the globe to compete against locals in Brazil sets the scene for Saturday night. Save for two fights where an opponent had to be located on ultra-short notice, each bout on this slate features a Brazilian athlete against a ship in from elsewhere in the world.
The 15-bout card begins at 6 p.m. ET with the main card beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Last week Dan Ige -120 finished Damon Jackson to put Insight the Octagon on the board for 2023.
Glover Teixeira (+110) vs. Jamahal Hill (-130)
Light heavyweight (205 lbs.) Championship Main Event
Finocchiaro: Seventh-ranked Hill is in a fortunate position to be able to vie for the title after the recent Ankalaev/Blachowicz draw opened the gateway for a guy with great momentum but only seven UFC bouts.
Hill, 31, will hold dynamic physical advantages in this bout for he’ll be the younger fighter by 12 years, the taller athlete by two inches, and his arm/leg reach advantages are substantial.
Hill’s an aggressive, violent, damaging striker with a blue belt in BJJ. Size/length, youth, aggression and bludgeoning power are his weapons whereas main event experience, level of competition faced and a well-rounded fight arsenal are areas he has yet to develop fully.
Teixeira, a 2nd-degree black belt in BJJ and a 5th-degree black belt in Kajukenbo (a Hawaiian martial arts specialty) offers a much more advanced and developed mixed martial arts repertoire now at 43 years old than any man in the division, let alone his opponent Saturday. He’s not as fast or explosive, but he overcomes that by being crafty, cagey, beguiling, and calculated in his approach. Teixeira is a high-fight-IQ former champion who competes Saturday in front of his home countrymen for a chance to regain his belt.
No doubt he’s motivated, and training with Alex Pereira indicates to me that he’s capable of navigating large, long explosive bangers.
Teixeira has competed against the elite of the division; his striking is effective enough to allow him to earn inside position and then work opponents into the fence and onto the floor, where he holds the dominant advantage.
So, it’s the singularly versed, long, tall, aggressive, younger striker who will attempt to force Teixeira to compete at distance and on the feet, hoping to eventually catch the old man with a straight power right or a follow-up left hook.
Teixeira meanwhile will need to clutch, clasp and lock onto the younger less experienced Hill which will squelch his distance/power and tax his cardio as he attempts to free himself. From the inside, Teixeira must do everything he can to manage this fight to the mat where he’ll hold a significant advantage.
Where this fight takes place will dictate who is winning this title.
Total in this fight: 1.5 Rds. Over -135
It’s rare to see a larger weight five-round main event get totaled 1.5. I’ll look diligently at this all week.
Kuhn: First, the stylistic mismatch. Hill, over a decade younger than his opponent, will absolutely be the bigger threat as long as it’s standing. He’s a rangy southpaw, with superior power and accuracy, despite also using a much higher strike output.
But the outcome will hinge on Hill’s ability to keep distance by defending takedowns and staying off the fence. At 61%, his takedown defense is about average, but he’s a little better at stuffing shooting takedowns from a distance rather than from the clinch, and the vast majority of Teixeira’s takedowns come from a distance.
If Glover can get the fight down early, he could drain Hill’s tank, or even get a submission. But if not, Hill should be able to easily touch the chin of a 43-year-old who has eaten more punches in his career than any other fighter on the card. There’s plenty of finishing potential on both sides of the cage, I just think it will be Hill getting a stoppage after stuffing the first few takedowns.
Kuhn’s picks: Slight lean Hill, and Fight Does Not Go the Distance
Deiveson Figueiredo (-105) vs. Brandon Moreno (-115)
Flyweight (115 pounds) Championship
Finocchiaro: This is the fourth fight for these flyweights! In the first, Figgy was an overwhelming favorite, and these two warriors fought to a draw. In the second, Moreno choked out a fighter in Figueiredo who struggled mightily with the weight coming into the fight as well was unprepared for the overwhelming support Moreno received from the heavily Hispanic population in Phoenix where the bout was held.
The third fight saw Figueiredo spend his whole training camp away from Brazil, family and comfort in Phoenix at Henry Cejudo’s ‘Fight Ready’ facility preparing to regain his title. Figueiredo won the title back in a razor-close decision that could have gone either way. Now these two, who will forever be locked together in history, get to complete their story with a fourth and most likely final fight.
Figueiredo is sizable for the division and, when properly prepared like he was when these two last fought in January of 2022, he is a formidable challenge for his Mexican opponent or any opponent for that matter. Figueiredo’s speed, athleticism, explosion and mean disposition make him the authentic bully of the division—a division that he is very close to being unable to compete in because of his weight struggles.
Moreno’s had some challenges during this camp. He had moved to Glory MMA to work with James Krause just about a year ago, and recent happenings with Krause forced Moreno, who was in the middle of this camp in Missouri, to return to the Performance Institute in Las Vegas where Moreno spends much of his time anyway. From there, Fortis MMA’s Sayif Saud shipped in to Las Vegas to work with Moreno and help him refine the work that had mostly been completed for this bout.
Moreno will hold the height, reach and age advantage in this bout, and where Figueiredo is aggressive and forceful in the delivery of power shots, Moreno is more precise, calculated and diverse. He throws in bunches and utilizes movement to create angles for his arm, elbow and kicking attack.
As I handicap this bout, I know the conditioning Moreno has done. He enters the more active fighter having just earned the interim belt in a war against Kai Kara-France last year. I know how it burns him to have had to wait to complete this final chapter, and I know he has no fear of traveling to Rio to take back the Flyweight strap in front of a crowd that will not be very fond of any foreigner, let alone one from Mexico.
As for Figueiredo, I know he did not spend any time with ‘Fight Ready’ for this camp, instead choosing to train in Brazil where he’s revered and honored everywhere he goes. I also know how difficult it is for him to make the 125 lb. weight.
I find it difficult to believe that Figueredo will be able to execute the same training regime, discipline or fight day execution that he was able to in the last fight. I say that in large part because he’s not holed up in Phoenix away from family with one singular focus, he’s been training in Brazil where everyone wants a photo with ‘o campeão’ (the champion).
Physically these two warriors will both arrive believing they are prepared. Though their fighting styles vary, it’s my judgment that this fourth competition is less about the physicality of these men and their fight game and more about the mentality of each entering and competing in this bout. There, I give a strong edge to Moreno. Moreno’s mentality, his focus, desire and who he believes he is manifested through this training camp and into this fight will be the difference in this final episode of Moreno and Figueiredo.
Moreno 115 was released on the ‘Bout Business Podcast just after the James Krause news. I believed then, as I do now, that Moreno would overcome that or any distraction because of his focus/commitment. The mental advantage I feel Moreno holds in this fourth bout, coupled with his fighting acumen, make this an easy choice for my best bet this week.
Moreno -115 as released on VSiN’s First Look Tuesday 1-17.
Total in this fight: 4.5 Rds. Over -155
I’ll have much more to say about this fight later this week on VSiN’s First Strike program.
Kuhn: They’ve already spent 13 rounds in the cage together, and while we have a good feel for what each fighter offers, we’re no closer to predicting how a fourth fight will turn out.
We know Moreno is capable of a superior pace and is also dangerous with his hands. But Figueiredo proved in the last fight that he simply hits harder. On paper, we can confirm that. Figueiredo has recorded 11 career knockdowns, with a per-strike knockdown rate higher even than many heavyweights. At flyweight, he’s arguably the biggest knockout threat in the division.
Moreno could score well on cards with his pace, and he’s more likely to initiate takedowns to mix up a round. But after getting dropped three times in their last fight, surviving another 25 minutes trading leather with Figueiredo is an uphill climb.
Kuhn’s pick: Lean Figueiredo
Paul Craig (+160) vs. Johnny Walker (-190)
Light Heavyweight (205 pounds)
Kuhn: Paul Craig is one of my favorite fighters to bet as a dog, because his submissions are relentless, nullifying threats from superior strikers. His game plan against Johnny Walker should involve takedowns early and often. If it doesn’t, Walker’s wild striking style is plenty to finish the fight quickly.
We again have tons of finishing potential, but I think Craig has an even chance to be the one ending the fight, which returns clear plus money. Getting past Walker’s below-average takedown defense hopefully happens quickly. Given the fight location, we might even see the return on Craig rise closer to Saturday.
Kuhn’s picks: Craig to win (+160), Fight Does Not Go the Distance