Last night (Sat., Jan. 21, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ventured forth to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 283. The promotion hasn’t been to Brazil in nearly three years, meaning it’s been quite quite a while since the “UH VAI MORRER” chants have reigned down! UFC responded appropriately, booking a pair of title fights as well as at least one Brazilian athlete on each of the card’s 15 fights.
All those circumstances combined for a raucous night of action, so let’s take a look at UFC Vegas 66’s best performances and techniques:
Hill Steps Up
Jamahal Hill has improved so much in a short time.
A strong athlete with great fundamentals and a bit of grit can go a long way, but rarely is that alone enough to become a champion. There were certainly signs that Hill would fall into the traps of previous Glover Teixeira foes and show his relative inexperience. It’s happened plenty of times before!
Instead, Hill leveled up every aspect of his game. His distance striking has never been sharper: heavier kicks, sharper jabs, more punishing counters. Simultaneously, he allowed far fewer takedowns from Teixeira than Thiago Santos or Darko Stosic. Lastly, when he was grounded, Hill managed to maintain composure and escape in fairly short order.
It all added up to a brutal win. Hill still fought mean as ever, but he did so in a more calculated fashion befitting a champion. He may not have the credentials of someone like Magomed Ankalaev, but Hill earned his throne through rapid improvement.
The Rivalry Ends
Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo 4 did not really live up to any of the first three fights. The first and third were back-and-forth wars with dramatic momentum shifts, whereas the second featured a stellar ass-kicking courtesy of “Assassin Baby.” In short, those previous three fights set a high bar.
That’s why last night doesn’t really stand out. Moreno utilized all his skills and just seemed thoroughly in control. Even as Figueiredo showed off his trickery — especially on the canvas with submission attempts — Moreno knew exactly what to expect. That’s the benefit of a previous hour of shared Octagon time.
Then, Moreno ended the contest with a heavy left hook that connected with the thumb knuckle. That type of landing can often break a hand, but in this case, Figueiredo’s face wore the damage. His eye quickly shut, and the referee called off the contest. The rivalry is finally done, allowing Figueiredo to move up to Bantamweight and the Flyweight division to simply move on.
Burns Remains At The Top
Gilbert Burns was a nasty match up for Neil Magny. The combination of power punching, brutal calf kicks, and a ferocious top game? That’s just unfair for “The Haitian Sensation,” even if Burns was able to dominate pretty much solely on the strength of his jiu-jitsu game.
So, while this was a fairly predictable outcome, it does prove that Burns remains one of the absolute best Welterweights in the world. He’s now won two of his last three, and the sole loss was one of the best fights of 2022 against an elite opponent who may not even be in his division anymore!
“Durinho” called for a fight with Colby Covington, and it makes a whole lot of sense ... if anyone can find “Chaos!”
Light Heavyweight’s Prince Of Weird Violence
Johnny Walker is not a consistent fighter. He frequently produces weird results, suffers weird knockouts, and generally alternates between extreme cautious and aggression without any noticeable rhyme or reason.
One thing that is consistent, however, is Walker’s ability to hurt people in unusual ways. Against Paul Craig — certainly a strange fighter in his own right — Walker was content to play the distance kickboxing game. When Craig latched onto his leg, Walker opted to punch rather than tri to fight the hands or limp leg.
Typically, that’s a bad decision. Instead, Walker got some real torque on his right hand, stunning the Scottish fighter. Craig continued to hold on, so Walker continued to punch, scoring the second mid-takedown-defense knockout win of his UFC career.
PRIDE NEVER DIE!
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is an all-time great Light Heavyweight, as well as one of the most violent fighters in history. He’s an absolute legend of the sport, one who won a world title the better part of a decade after his actual prime. It does not at all matter that he lost to Ihor Potieria last night in his final trip to the UFC Octagon — his legacy is untouchable.
Gregory Rodrigues lives and dies by the sword. Last year, he really established himself as one of the most entertaining men on the roster. The Brazilian Middleweight threw down time and time again, proving his toughness and power in the process while also building up a 4-1 UFC record.
There’s a reason why most athletes don’t fight that way, however. It comes with major risks. “Robocop” served as an unfortunate demonstration of this principle, as relatively unknown “Contenders Series” product Brunno Ferreira absolutely punished him with a vicious counter left hand.
“The Hulk” scores a one punch knockout, and the rise of Rodrigues sputters to a halt.
It’s time for Jailton Almeida to fight Top 10-ranked opposition. He steamrolled Shamil Abdurakhimov last night in similar fashion to his previous three UFC victories. He’s just rolling over opponents on the strength of his wrestling and grappling, resulting in Khamzat-esque statistics of absolute domination.
Give that man a big fight!
The Brothers Bonfim
I don’t know that many fight fans outside of Brazil knew much about Ismael or Gabriel Bonfim. Overnight, they’ve become perhaps the most interesting pair of siblings on the UFC roster (sorry Daukaus bros).
Ismael made the first statement. Against Terrance McKinney, he employed a very effective pressure style, walking the power puncher down. He rarely began his own combinations, however, opting to counter when McKinney tried to fire and keep him away. In fact, McKinney barely connected on a strike, and Ismael Bonfim’s shots were scoring hard. In the second, a spectacular jump knee immediately ended the contest. McKinney is a tough draw for a debut, but Bonfim won in style, proving himself a big deal at 155-pounds.
Gabriel’s fight didn’t last long. Despite being faced with a dangerous counter striker in Mounir Lazzez, Gabriel Bonfim didn’t look bothered. He navigated through tricky counter knees and off-balancing calf kicks to fire powerful combinations. Lazzez is genuinely good from the backfoot, but perhaps Bonfim’s work with another sharp counter puncher in his brother paid off. Bonfim found his range quickly, and when Lazzez tried to duck a punch, the Brazilian snatched up up his neck and finished the fight.
- Thiago Moises defeats Melquizael Costa via second round rear-naked choke: Moises used to be ranked at 155-pounds, and last night, he found himself locked in the cage with a short-notice debuting athlete. That’s a risky proposition, but fortunately for Moises, the Brazilian was very effectively able to implement his jiu-jitsu advantage. He found the back in the second round, and the choke was sunk in soon afterward.
- Daniel Marcos defeats Saimon Oliveira via first round TKO (HIGHLIGHTS): It’s really cool to see body shot stoppages growing more common in MMA. Specifically, it’s really cool to see that happening on undercards! Marcos abused the body of his opponent, countering takedown attempts with gnarly body kicks and knees. Oliveira quickly crumbled, though he did manage to throw a bunch of missed spinning strikes first.
For complete UFC 283: “Hill vs. Teixeira” results and play-by-play, click HERE!