Minus any extenuating context, UFC 283 was a fairly good time. Followers bought a number of finishes, some large spotlight KOs, upsets, dramatic narrative shifts, and the crowning of a brand new champion together with the altering of the guard (once more) for the flyweight belt. Regardless of all that, although, the vibes have been clearly off. Main into the PPV with Shogun getting put out to pasture set a bitter temper. Then each the co-main and important occasions noticed hometown favorites lose laborious in fights the place they only weren’t terribly aggressive. Followers bought nasty, the constructing seemed solely about 2⁄3 full. An odd night time for the UFC all informed.
So, is there an instantaneous title challenger that Jamahal Hill could be clearly favored to beat? Does Brandon Moreno lastly get to do one thing aside from rehash previous fights? And does the UFC have any choices aside from Jessica Andrade for the strawweight title?
To reply these questions—and some different thigns—I’ll be utilizing the basic Silva/Shelby combat reserving methodology from the UFC of years previous. Meaning pitting winners in opposition to winners, losers in opposition to losers, and equally tenured expertise up in opposition to each other. Hopefully, by following that mannequin, a number of of those bout concepts will really make it off the web page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!
All issues thought-about, this was a hell of a crowning efficiency from Hill. Teixeira had all the one moments of success he might need hoped to have, given 5 rounds to work with. He bought takedowns, he bought again takes, he bought mount; the 43-year-old even landed his share of huge bombs standing, regardless of getting out-struck greater than 2-to-1. For a person who has made his success lately getting back from seemingly combat ending injury to demolish a lot youthful opponents, his efficiency in opposition to Hill wasn’t a exceptional departure. What was exceptional was Hill’s output, his sturdiness, and his means to remain robust within the face of main momentum shifts. The truth that Hill bought taken down and mounted in spherical 5, and nonetheless fought his manner again up and gained the spherical is a good testomony to that.
Because of his win, there are three clear contenders awaiting Hill for his first protection: Magomed Ankalaev, Jan Blachowicz, & Jiri Prochazka. If it weren’t for the unknown size of his damage restoration, Prochazka must be first in line—however I can’t think about the UFC eager to guess on him for a important occasion within the subsequent six months proper now. As a substitute, I’ll say Hill vs. Ankalaev is the combat to make. Each he and Blachowicz deserve it, but it surely feels prefer it makes extra sense to go together with the youthful, brisker challenger.
If there’s a giant winner out of Brandon Moreno lastly slamming the door on his 4 combat sequence in opposition to Deiveson Figueiredo, it’s Alexandre Pantoja. ‘The Cannibal’ has been on ice since July of final yr when he took a fast submission win over Alex Perez. Actually although, from the second that Moreno laid any declare to some piece of the title, Pantoja has been an apparent challenger. He beat that champ as soon as throughout Moreno’s first UFC run, and even manner again earlier than that, when the 2 males have been each on TUF collectively. I’m certain Moreno’s not thrilled on the thought of one more rematch, however he’s bought unfinished enterprise proper there ready for him nonetheless. Hopefully after that, some new challengers can begin to actually separate themselves from the competitors. Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Moreno is the clear subsequent title combat.
Type of a brutally dangerous combat for the now-former champion. He bought caught strolling in frequently with overhands. Whereas he was capable of provoke loads of scrambles and hit some strong sweeps, he had no means in any respect to regulate Moreno on the mat. The knuckle that scratched and closed his eye to finish the combat felt a bit like a mercy, with Figueiredo fairly doubtless down three rounds already (until judges actually have a factor for strikes off a fighter’s again from guard), and seemingly unable to seek out any solution to steer momentum in his favor.
After the bout, ‘Deus da Guerra’ introduced that he was leaving flyweight for bantamweight shifting ahead. So the place does that depart him? Does he stroll into title rivalry? The highest 5? The highest 10? Looks as if it’d be silly to throw him decrease down the road than that. If he’s gonna be prime 10, Dominick Cruz isn’t a lot older than Figueiredo; two former champs appears like an important intro to 135 to me. Cruz vs. Figueiredo looks as if simply the welcome to a brand new division that the previous champ wants.
It’s laborious to think about many worse matchups for Neil Magny within the prime 10 at welterweight than somebody like Gilbert Burns, who can hit laborious sufficient to present pause standing, wrestle effectively sufficient to take Magny off his toes, after which grapple technically sufficient to simply suck all of the life out of him on the mat. That’s just about what Burns did, tapping Magny with an arm triangle with lower than a minute left in spherical 1.
After the bout, Burns known as out Colby Covington. That combat, or a combat in opposition to Jorge Masvidal are precisely the type of bouts he ought to be getting, however he may should accept Muhammad or Rakhmonov as a substitute. If Colby Covington is coming again any time quickly, then Burns vs. Covington is a good combat. If he’s not, then Burns vs. Muhammad could be an important title eliminator.
This was at all times going to be an uphill battle for Lauren Murphy. She’s usually struggled to maintain tempo and confidence in opposition to top-tier athletes. When Andrade stormed out of the gate with a bevvy of low kicks, it appeared she instantly bought deep in Murphy’s head. ‘Fortunate’ by no means did discover a solution to defend the kicks, and having to consider them opened up increasingly more mixtures up prime for ‘Bate Estaca’ because the combat went on. By the point the ultimate bell rang, all anybody appeared to be pondering was “this actually ought to have been stopped an entire lot sooner.” After the bout, Andrade known as out Weili Zhang for a strawweight title combat. Will the UFC actually give her that coming off a flyweight win? Contemplating she’s beat Amanda Lemos and we’ve seen Namajunas in opposition to Zhang lots now, an Andrade rematch makes a number of sense. Unsure if it’s the combat the UFC will e-book, however Andrade vs. Weili 2 is the very best strawweight title combat the UFC could make proper now.
This combat appeared destined for shenanigans. Whether or not it was going to be Johnny Walker diving into Paul Craig’s guard and getting insta-tapped, or Walker touchdown the type of detonating photographs that may put Craig away in a rush, the concept this might make it three full rounds of tidy MMA appeared not possible—which it was. No sooner did Craig catch a kick for a single leg, then he began getting dinged up so badly that he needed to turtle up. A fast TKO for Walker, who’s as soon as once more on some type of roll. I might argue for a reserving in opposition to Azamat Murzakanov, however Walker hasn’t fought Volkan Oezdemir but and that looks as if a tragedy if we by no means get to see it. Walker vs. Oezdemir could be a great time.
Maybe no fighter improved their inventory so dramatically as Brunno Ferreira at UFC 283. The Brazilian got here in as a relative full unknown regardless of his shiny 9-0 file and fast Contender Sequence KO win. Matched up in opposition to a borderline top-15 expertise like Gregory Rodrigues on brief discover, it was fairly safely assumed that he was headed for a tough loss in his Octagon debut—from which he might be taught from shifting ahead. As a substitute (and regardless of getting pieced up for about 4 minutes) he walked away with a spectacular first spherical knockout win, and the potential that the UFC will throw him one other critical problem subsequent outing.
Personally, I’d quite see Ferreira get somebody across the velocity of Denis Tiuliulin or Armen Petrosyan than an Anthony Hernandez or Roman Dolidze, but it surely’s anybody’s guess what the UFC will do with a win like that. I’ll cut up the distinction and say the UFC ought to e-book Brunno Ferreira vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan. One other harmful, large puncher with famous defensive flaws to maintain testing the newcomer’s mettle.
The query with a short-notice opponent like Melquizael Costa wasn’t a lot whether or not this was a combat Moises might win, as a lot because it was, how effectively ready would he be for Costa’s aggression and scrambling. The reply was: very ready. Moises bought in on his takedowns early, and began working over Costa from prime management because the 26 yr previous’s cardio began to fade. a number of heavy GnP, and an aggressive guard passing recreation did effectively to drive Costa to maintain shifting and burn power. The end result was a second spherical submission for the previous LFA champ.
That would result in fights with Drakkar Klose, Nasrat Haqparast, Drew Dober, or Mark O. Madsen. I do know it’s winner-loser, however given Madsen’s hopes to make a cost up the division, and his wrestling credentials, that appears like probably the most fascinating matchup right here. Madsen vs. Moises could be an important likelihood for the previous Olympian to see if he can bounce again into prime competitors.
Jailton Almeida’s introduction to the highest 15 at heavyweight couldn’t have been simpler. He breezed by Shamil Abdourakhimov, who had nothing prepared for Almeida’s wrestling assault. The win ought to set the Brazilian up for an actual, excessive profile heavyweight contest. Fights with the Ivanov/Tybura winner, Alexandr Romanov, or Jairzinho Rozenstruik all appear to be affordable subsequent steps. The plain reply for me of that bunch is Romanov. The fridge-like Moldovan has constructed a powerful popularity for bodily dominance within the cage and looks as if he’d be an enormous problem for a smaller heavyweight like Almeida. Given, as effectively, how a lot Romanov struggled with somebody who might combat off his grappling in Tybura final time round, Almeida might ask questions he must reply. Almeida vs. Romanov is a good step up at heavyweight.
For thus many fighters, the very best factor they will do for his or her long run success is to take their time attending to the UFC. Ismael Bonfim is one other nice instance of what that type of longer journey can do for a fighter, hitting the world’s largest MMA promotion with an 18-3 file, collected over greater than 10 years of preventing on the regionals. Standing a heavy underdog in opposition to Terrance McKinney, Bonfim outclassed ‘T-Wrecks’ just about in every single place from the opening bell all the way in which to an electrical jump-knee second spherical KO. Hopefully that type of win rockets him up into greater combat conversations. On the very least, motion bouts in opposition to Matt Frevola, Mike Davis, or Nasrat Haqparast ought to be on supply. If ‘Beast Boy’ goes to be again in motion anytime quickly, I’d like to see Bonfim vs. Davis asap.
OTHER BOUTS: Lauren Murphy vs. O’Neil/Maia loser, Paul Craig vs. Dominick Reyes, Ihor Potieria vs. Tafon Nchukwi, Gregory Rodrigues vs. Phil Hawes, Melquizael Costa vs. Michal Figlak, Garbriel Bonfim vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov, Mounir Lazzez vs. Gabriel Inexperienced, Shamil Abdourakhimov vs. Tanner Boser, Terrance McKinney vs. Ottman Azaitar, Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Morono, Warlley Alves vs. Jake Matthews, Josiane Nunes vs. Julia Avila, Zarah Fairn vs. Danyelle Wolf, Daniel Marcos vs. Mana Martinez, Saimon Oliveira vs. Liudvik Sholinian
In regards to the writer: Zane Simon is a senior editor, author and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. Host of the MMA Vivisection and sixth Spherical, he has lined MMA and the UFC since 2013. (full bio)