Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight finishers Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill will go to war TONIGHT (Sat., Jan. 21, 2023) at UFC 283 inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It’s been an unusual road for Teixeira, who won his title about a decade after anyone expected him to. His first title defense against Jiri Prochazka went awry (watch highlights), but it was an outstanding enough fight that a rematch was quickly booked. All hell broke loose when Prochazka was injured, yet Teixeira miraculously finds himself in a title fight anyway. Like several other top prospects, meanwhile, Hill found himself forced to submit to Paul Craig and wondering what even happened. That loss seemed to spur him forward in a major way, however, as he’s since thoroughly brutalized a trio of top opponents to fully rebound and enter the title picture in force.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 267), Thiago Santos (UFC Vegas 13), Anthony Smith (UFC Jacksonville), Ryan Bader (UFC 160), Quinton Jackson (UFC on FOX 6), Misha Cirkunov (UFC on FOX 26), Ion Cutelaba (UFC Fight Night 150), Nikita Krylov (UFC Fight Night 158)
Key Losses: Jiri Prochazka (UFC 275), Jon Jones (UFC 172), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 109), Anthony Johnson (UFC 202), Corey Anderson (UFC Fight Night 134)
Keys to Victory: Teixeira has been around the sport for decades and developed a very well-rounded game as a result. His greatest weapons have long remained his hammer of a right hand and his absolutely crushing top game, both have which have helped him stop 28 opponents before the bell.
Stylistically, this doesn’t read all that different from previous opponents like Thiago Santos or even Ion Cutelaba. Hill doesn’t do anything that complicated, nor is his ground game all that great. He just hits really, really hard, and Teixeira has to avoid getting stopped dead before his experience can take over.
Fortunately, Hill’s aggressive style tends to result in car crashes. It’s not his game to circle off and avoid if Teixeira steps to him — he’s going to throw back. Teixeira has to keep his guard tight, but there should be opportunities even early for him to drop down and transition to his favorite high-crotch shot.
Really, the key will be controlling Hill after the takedown. Ideally, Teixeira could land a takedown in the center of the cage to mitigate Hill’s wall-walking. In his last fight, Teixeira repeatedly found success in elevating Prochazka’s leg up to finish the shot, and that could also be a similarly effective strategy against another lanky striker here.
Record: 11-1 (1)
Key Wins: Thiago Santos (UFC Vegas 59), Jimmy Crute (UFC Vegas 44), Johnny Walker (UFC Vegas 48), Ovince Saint Preux (UFC Vegas 16), Darko Stosic (UFC Fight Night 166)
Key Losses: Paul Craig (UFC 263)
Keys to Victory: Hill fights with a real mean streak to his game. He gets in his opponent’s face, never lets up, and throws pretty deadly punches with both hands. So far, he’s stopped seven opponents via knockout in his young career.
All of Teixeira’s accomplishment and skill mean little in the cage if one Hill left hand lands well. Typically, when we talk puncher’s chance, the fighter is woefully outmatched and has little chance. Though Hill can really only win this fight via knockout, he actually has a damn good shot at doing so.
Speed, youth and aggression win fights as often as form or strategy.
Really, there are two big focuses here for Hill. First and foremost, he has to be very careful kicking. His kicks can be a bit slow at times, and Teixeira will tackle him on one leg if given the opportunity. Snap kicks to the body are a great weapon against the Brazilian, but Hill does have to be mindful all the same.
Secondly, I’d like to see lots of crosses to the body. It’s well-known that Teixeira should wrestle in this fight, and he also admitted that Prochazka’s body work really affected him. Both of those are reason enough to hit the torso, and it should help hide Hill’s power shots upstairs, too.
The 205-pound belt is once again on the line.
This feels like Teixeira’s last title shot. Maybe his history with Prochazka could afford him another if “Czech Samurai” takes the belt again somewhere down the line, but that just all seems unlikely. The man is 43 years old and has already been champion. There’s nothing left to prove, but retaking the belt would be yet another incredible testament to his resilience and grit.
Conversely, this is just Hill’s 14th professional fight. The 31-year-old has plenty of time to continue throwing hands. However, it’s hard to deny that this is an outstanding opportunity for him, a seemingly easier match up than Magomed Ankalaev, Jan Blachowicz or Prochazka. Furthermore, if Hill does put Teixeira down here, he becomes the first Contenders Series product to capture UFC gold.
At UFC 283, Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill will scrap in the main event. Which man leaves the cage strapped with gold?
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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This story originally Appeared on MMAmania