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.
Paul Craig (16-5) vs Johnny Walker (19-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
An absolutely crazy fight at 205-pounds opens up the main card here. Craig is a submission specialist who was on a four-fight winning streak of finishes, before Volkan Oezdemir managed to halt that with a decision win at UFC London in July. Walker is a crazy knockout artist who lost three in a row before stepping into the cage with Ion Cutelaba last time out, where he claimed a first-round submission win.
Craig is a powerhouse of a grappler and one of the best submissions artists in the entire UFC. He is an okay striker, but he’s one of the few fighters who is happy to pull guard and give up position to start working his active guard. Walker is a one-punch killer with his striking, but he also has good grappling skills as shown in his last outing.
This is going to be absolutely wild for as long as it lasts. If it hits the ground for an extended period of time then you can’t rule Craig out of getting the finish. Walker will fancy his chances on the feet and even on the ground if he stays alert. Craig has shown me up plenty of times in the past, but I just expect Walker to be able to stay safe to avoid grappling exchanges and land heavy enough shots to claim the win.
PICK – Johnny Walker via Decision
Lauren Murphy (16-5) vs Jessica Andrade (23-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
An interesting flyweight scrap at the top of the division. Murphy was dominated in her title fight against Valentina Shevchenko, but bounced back with a dominant win of her own against Miesha Tate last time out. Andrade has won her last two since her own title fight defeat to Shevchenko, KO’ing Cynthia Calvillo and then submitting Amanda Lemos with a standing arm-triangle choke.
Murphy is a solid wrestler who looks to chain her takedown attempts together and grind her opponents out against the cage, while Andrade is a powerhouse of a striker who is also a really good grappler. There is an argument that Andrade is the most complete women’s fighter after the three champions, and this looks like another fight where she should win more often than not.
Andrade is the better grappler, by far the better striker and her cardio has never let her down. There is a big size discrepancy again, which Murphy will almost certainly try to take advantage of, but it’ll be hard. If she gets the fight down she’ll struggle to keep it there, and on the feet she risks being KO’d. Back the Brazilian to get it done.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 2
Gilbert Burns (20-5) vs Neil Magny (27-10) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A big welterweight scrap up next in the final bout before we get to the titles. Burns has lost two of his last three, losing in a title fight against Kamaru Usman before dropping a razor close decision to Khamzat Chimaev last time out. He beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson between those. Magny on the other hand has won three of his last four, bouncing back from defeat to Shavkat Rakhmonov to submit Daniel Rodriguez in his last outing.
Burns is a complete fighter. He has got scary knockout power on the feet and super heavy kicks, while he’s one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC and excellent wrestling too. Magny on the other hand is a wrestling specialist who looks to overwhelm his opponents, while also using his range to strike when necessary. This is a very intriguing bout, but one that Burns should be able to win without too much trouble.
“Durinho” is by far the better fighter on the feet, with a great finishing instinct and the cardio to be able to push hard for the full fight as shown against Chimaev. There is also an argument that he is a better and more effective wrestler, but even if he isn’t he’s still incredibly dangerous on the ground when on his back because of his active guard. Burns should control this wherever it goes, and I think he could work his ground game to get a choke after a dominant display.
PICK – Gilbert Burns via Submission, Round 2
Deiveson Figueiredo (21-2-1) vs Brandon Moreno (20-6-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
The greatest flyweight rivalry in MMA history, never mind UFC history. Figueiredo and Moreno have gone 1-1-1 in their trilogy, which makes up each of Figueiredo’s last three fights. Moreno claimed a KO win over Kai Kara France most recently to become interim champion and set up this quadrilogy bout.
Figueiredo is the scariest puncher in the 125-pound division, with otherworldly power to go along with his excellent jiu-jitsu skills that saw him submit Joseph Benavidez to win the belt initially. Moreno is also incredibly well-rounded with excellent striking to go with his own submission game as well as his fantastic scrambles to get up on his feet.
This fight is impossible to pick. I picked Figueiredo the first time when he won three of five rounds but had a point deducted for a low blow, and then picked incorrectly in the second and third fights, so bear that in mind. But I think it’s Moreno’s time. He got the finish in the second bout, and the third was extremely close, plus he’s fought more recently and doesn’t struggle with the weight cut nearly as much. Expect another 25 minute war, and the Mexican to claim victory on enemy territory.
PICK – Brandon Moreno via Decision
Glover Teixeira (33-8) vs Jamahal Hill (11-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
A super strange light heavyweight title fight up next as the main event of this card. Teixeira won the title by submitting Jan Blachowicz, but then lost it in his first defence against Jiri Prochazka. He was supposed to fight Prochazka again at UFC 282, before the Czech figher got injured and withdrew. Hill has won his last three in a row, all by knockout, but was preparing for Anthony Smith in March until that night in December where he got the call.
Teixeira is a fantastic boxer with brilliant power and combinations, while he is also among the best grapplers in the division with his brilliant submission game. Hill is a knockout artist with incredible one-punch power, but he is also a jiu-jitsu black belt although he tends to very rarely use that. If this is on the feet, that is where Hill has his best chance to win. He’s so powerful that one punch can alter the fight, and Teixeira is now 43 yers old.
But the Brazilian took all of Prochazka’s best shots, and I believe Prochazka would dominate Hill. He also controlled Blachowicz with ease, and I believe Blachowicz is better than Hill too. So it would be a huge surprise if Teixeira didn’t step forward with pressure, land an early takedown and put a beating on Hill to become a two-time UFC champion in his home country.
PICK – Glover Teixeira via Submission, Round 2