We could be looking at a new era at light heavyweight. I don’t want to say we definitively are – given I remember Joe Rogan announcing the Machida Era, but Jamahal Hill has reached the pinnacle of the sport… and he’s still improving.
I’m not ignorant to the fact that Jiri Prochazka is waiting in the wings. Same with Magomed Ankalaev. But the manner in which Hill pieced up Glover Teixeira in UFC 283’s Main Event was a sight to behold. It wasn’t quite the worst beatdown of the night, but it certainly would qualify as such on most cards. Teixeira was lucky to survive a brutal onslaught from Hill in the third round, plus another in the fourth that wasn’t quite as severe. Teixeira added some drama in the fifth when he scored a quick takedown when he needed a finish for the win. Hill escaped out the backdoor about halfway through the round, cruising through the rest of the round for a clear decision victory.
Hill isn’t exceptionally young at 31, but he is young in MMA years. As he continues to train and gain experience, he should only improve more and more. That inexperience could cost him against Prochazka and/or Ankalaev, but there’s no doubt we haven’t seen his final form. Following the fight, Teixeira admitted he’s probably too tough for his own good, leaving his gloves in the cage. The fact the 43-year-old Brazilian defied the odds by winning the light heavyweight title at 42. Having now lost two consecutive title fights, it would be a long road for him to get back to a title fight again. It’s safe to say he made the right move. We all wish him well in his future endeavors.
In the co-main event, age seemed to catch up with Deiveson Figueiredo. The home crowd favorite struggled to keep up with Brandon Moreno’s pace from the opening round. Figueiredo threatened Moreno with a heel hook in the first and a guillotine in the second, but those were the only major moments for him. Moreno chipped away with punches and kicks before landing a clean punch that went into the eye of Figueiredo in the third round. Figueiredo’s eye ended up closing, giving the doctor enough justification to stop the fight between rounds. The win allows Moreno to emerge as the ultimate victor in the first quadrilogy in UFC history. FIgueiredo announced he was done with flyweight to the surprise of no one. For the good of the division, it’s probably best Moreno emerged the victor.
As for the rest of the card….
- Given Neil Magny’s history of being routed by skilled grapplers, it wasn’t a surprise when Gilbert Burns ran roughshod over him. Burns dissected Magny once he got him to the mat before nabbing the arm triangle choke. The problem for Burns is the win holds him steady more than advancing him. He needs a win over a top five opponent to get him where he wants to be.
- Lauren Murphy endured one of the most one-sided beatings anyone can remember at the hands of Jessica Andrade. While Andrade’s performance was impressive, all anyone could think was why no one was stopping the fight. Murphy’s face was swollen beyond recognition. Credit to her for her toughness, but the job of both her corner and the referee is to protect a fighter from themselves. That didn’t happen. Instead of talking how Andrade tied the record for most wins in UFC women’s history, it’s all about the error of the sport’s warrior mentality.
- Johnny Walker’s work with SBG Ireland appears to finally be paying dividends. The immediate results from his time with the camp were porous at best, but his last two performances show maturity that had been lacking prior to his move. It would be foolish to say all the kinks have been worked out, but he’s scored a pair of wins after many had written him off. That can’t be ignored.
- Reality is clocking Paul Craig pretty hard. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Craig has upended so many opponents he had no business beating that everyone was forced to begin taking him seriously, despite him almost always being at a talent disadvantage. As a result, Craig’s days of populating the top ten appears to be a thing of the past.
- Ihor Potieria didn’t win over any fans by beating on the shell of Shogun Rua. It doesn’t reveal much about his future either. The Shogun we all knew and loved hasn’t been seen in quite a while. Regardless, few have been more beloved than Shogun over the years. I generally don’t like speaking for others, but I have no doubt it would be agreed that we all wish Shogun nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
- I know he was signed to the roster through DWCS, but everyone who wins on that show gets a contract anymore. Thus, it seems like Brunno Ferreira came out of nowhere to blast Gregory Rodrigues into another dimension. Another welcome Brazilian talent to the roster.
- How the hell is Thiago Moises still just 27? The Brazilian has always fought mature beyond his years, but he really appears to be hitting his stride. Never mind this win came against a debuting Melquizael Costa, Moises picked him apart. He may not be in the rankings any more, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Moises yet.
- I don’t think Gabriel Bonfim had a chance to top what his brother did – I touch on that a bit further down – but he did what he could do to top that by submitting Mounir Lazzez in less than a minute. Look for the Bonfim Brothers to become a thing.
- Jailton Almeida is a freak, but we already knew that. Here’s hoping the UFC gives him a challenge in his next fight as all four of his fights in the UFC have been lopsided. Jairzinho Rozenstruik isn’t scheduled…. Then again, Rozenstruik would have to keep the fight standing to be a threat….
- Was anyone else shocked to see Cody Stamann awarded the decision from the judges over Luan Lacerda? Typically, close decisions in Brazil go to the Brazilian. That said, I thought Lacerda cleanly won rounds one and three. I’m not sure what other round the judges gave him. Regardless, Stamann clearly is no longer at his peak.
- I had picked Ismael Bonfim to upset Terrance McKinney for the upset, but I didn’t expect him to look as good as he did. Paul Felder said it was one of the most impressive UFC debuts he’s ever seen. I can’t disagree. If you didn’t know who he was before, you do now.
- At some point, Nicolas Dalby is going to show signs of his 38 years of age. I thought that was the case in his overturned loss to Jesse Ronson, but it looks like he just got caught in that case given he‘s looked good in the last four fights since. Energetic performance from the Dane.
- With two consecutive wins, Josiane Nunes might have earned a shot at the featherweight title. Never mind there’s a good chance neither of those fighters whom those wins came over will be on the roster by the end of the week. Nunes is fun, but the featherweight division is a joke. The UFC should get rid of it. Outside of the win over Cyborg, it has done nothing to add to Amanda Nunes’ legacy.
- The concern with Daniel Marcos was whether he needed a bit more seasoning, a fair question given the high volume of fighters the UFC has signed before they were ready. Marcos looks ready. The Peruvian put on a mature performance, working over the body of Saimon Oliveira before the veteran crumpled. Marcos looks like he has a bright future.
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