The UFC returns to Brazil for the first time since the first event without a crowd pre-Covid, for a double-title fight card at UFC 283.
In the main event is the short-notice light heavyweight title fight between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill, after the UFC 282 main event between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev ended in a draw.
The co-main event will see Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno compete in a fourth bout against each other for the flyweight title, having gone 1-1-1 in their previous trilogy.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 67 we had a great night, going 9/11 with two perfect picks moving us to 813/1262 (64.42%) with 333 perfect picks (40.96%). You can see our full pick history here.
We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims fights, we round up the prelims section of the card here.
Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-7) vs Jailton Almeida (17-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)
Big heavyweight scrap up next between a veteran and one of the hottest prospects in the division. Abdurakhimov has lost three in a row and is winless since 2019, being KO’d by Curtis Blaydes, Chris Daukaus and Sergei Pavlovich. Almeida is on a 12-fight win streak, finishing all three of his UFC bouts in the first round.
Abdurakhimov is a decent grappler with decent power in his hands too, but at 41-years-old he is into the twilight of his career. Almeida is one of the most devastating jiu-jitsu practitioners among the big men in the world, who also has good power in his hands. His wrestling is sensational and his cardio is very good too, meaning he can be relentless with his pressure for as long as the fight lasts.
A win for Almeida here gets him ranked, and it’s likely to be the most one-sided fight on the card. Almeida will shoot to take down Abdurakhimov almost immediately, wrap the legs up and force him to give up his back. From there he will either choke him or pound him until the referee steps in, so expect a quick finish in this one.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Submission, Round 1
Gabriel Bonfim (13-0) vs Mounir Lazzez (11-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A very interesting 170-pound bout up next. Bonfim is the younger brother on the card and comes into this fight as an undefeated fighter, with 10 submissions on his record professionally. Lazzez has won four of his last five, with his only loss coming to Warlley Alves in January 2021. He earned a decision win over Ange Loosa most recently in April 2022.
Bonfim is a terrific boxer, with fantastic power, speed and a lightning jab to go along with his excellent jiu-jitsu and submission skills. Lazzez is a really well-rounded fighter with good volume and cardio, although his power isn’t the best in the division. Bonfim is great offensively, but defensively he leaves a lot of holes that “Sniper” can take advantage of if given the opportunity.
Lazzez is probably a less rounded package than Bonfim, but he has got a great heart and resilience to keep pushing forward as the fight goes on. With that said, having the home crowd in his favour and having an edge in offensive striking and wrestling should be enough for Bonfim to get the win on the night.
PICK – Gabriel Bonfim via Decision
Thiago Moises (16-6) vs Melquizael Costa (19-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A short-notice lightweight bout up next. Moises snapped a two-fight losing streak when he earned a first-round submission for Christos Giagos last time out, while Costa has won his last two in a row via knockout, with the most recent coming in November 2022 in the LFA.
Moises is an excellent wrestler and grappler, with fantastic jiu-jitsu skills allowing him the chance to secure seven submission wins in his career to date. Costa is a powerful striker with great speed and technique, and he has an excellent ability to get back to his feet in grappling exchanges. It’s clear as day though, that he has never faced a grappler the level of Moises.
This is a lucky break for Moises, because he likely would have lost the initial match-up against Guram Kutateladze. But in this one he has the skillset to be able to hold Costa down regularly and for long periods while doing damage, using his experience and quality to get the win in an all-Brazilian affair.
PICK – Thiago Moises via Submission, Round 2
Gregory Rodrigues (13-4) vs Brunno Ferreira (9-0) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
Robocop returns in this middleweight scrap against a UFC newcomer on short notice. Rodrigues has won his last two in a row, knocking out both Julian Marquez and Chidi Njokuani in his most recent bout. Ferreira earned a UFC contract with a 95-second KO over Leon Aliu on the Contender Series back in September.
Rodrigues is a really interesting fighter, who has a strange habit of fighting to the level of his opponent and just trying to cause as much damage as possible. Ferreira has a similar style who looks to cause chaos, but he’s never fought at this level before. Rodrigues’ jiu-jitsu pedigree is something that you’d expect him to lean on more often than not, but he just never does.
With Ferreira having an incredible ability to explode and put people out, that makes this a really interesting fight. He has the speed advantage and Rodrigues has been wobbled and hit clean on several occasions in the UFC. With that said, his chin has held up so far to this point and this seems like a big jump for Ferreira, especially on short-notice. Great fight, but Rodrigues gets it done in one.
PICK – Gregory Rodrigues via Knockout, Round 1
Mauricio Rua (21-13-1) vs Ihor Potieria (19-3) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
Legendary Brazilian gets back into the cage at home in this one. “Shogun” has lost his last two, tapping to strikes against Paul Craig before a split decision loss to Ovince St-Preux last time out. Potieria suffered a KO defeat in his last out, his UFC debut, against Nicolae Negumereanu, and is looking for his first win in the company.
Rua is a great grappler, but he has been outside of his prime for the best part of five years now and has trouble getting the bout anywhere near where his strengths lie. Potieria isn’t the greatest fighter in the world, but 15 years younger than Rua and far stronger physically to go with his nasty knockout power and this looks like a nasty send off for “Shogun” in his final bout.
Potieria has got some nasty boxing combinations and is physically strong enough to keep Rua off him and avoid any extended grappling exchanges. Expect a fast start from the Ukrainian and a couple of big shots get this done early on.
PICK – Ihor Potieria via Knockout, Round 1