UFC 283 Review

Jamahal Hill walked out of the Octagon as the new UFC light heavyweight champion — and with his head held high, thanks to his opponent in Saturday’s main event of UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro.

It was an entirely different scene from what had unfolded minutes earlier. In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno had reclaimed the flyweight belt but had to then cover his head on his way to the dressing room, as the Mexican fighter was pelted by debris showered down upon him by “fans” at Jeunesse Arena. Moreno’s offense? He had dethroned Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo by third-round TKO following a doctor’s stoppage.

That classless display was unacceptable to the Brazilian fighter who was defeated in the main event. After taking a beating from American fighter Hill for five rounds, a bruised-up Glover Teixeira had two things to say to the crowd.

First, he announced his retirement at age 43, a little over a year after becoming the oldest first-time champion in UFC history. “It’s an honor to retire on the same night as ‘Shogun’ Rua,” he said.

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Teixeira’s second message for the crowd was delivered in Portuguese: He said he was going to walk out of the cage with the new champ.

“You guys, I saw you were throwing popcorn and drinks at the last champion,” Teixeira said, his arm slung around Hill’s shoulders. “I want you to respect him. He’s going to walk back with me. He’s the champion.”

Pure class in a sport that desperately needs it. MMA will miss Teixeira.

But this was Hill’s night. He is now at the top of the heap among 205-pounders, and while his performance was masterful on this night, it’s fair to wonder whether he is the king or a placeholder. The title belt has been a hot potato of late.

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Jiří Procházka vacated the championship in December because of a shoulder injury that forced him out of a scheduled defense against Teixeira. Then Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev tussled for the belt — and fought to a draw, leaving the top of the mountain unoccupied.

Now the 31-year-old Hill resides there. Will he settle in as a homeowner or is it a short-term rental? If he fights as he did on Saturday, Hill has a chance to stick around. But there’s a long line of qualified challengers waiting to move in on him. — Wagenheim

The flyweight rivalry is finally over

After four fights, Moreno has proved himself the best flyweight fighter in the world. Some could argue there’s still a bit of unfinished business between him and Figueiredo, but Figueiredo said in his postfight interview that he is moving up to bantamweight. So this four-fight series is over, and it was a damn good tetralogy, the first of its kind in UFC history. The initial fight in 2020, a draw, was one of the best of that year. In the second bout, Moreno became the first-ever Mexican-born UFC champion. The trilogy, almost exactly one year ago, was razor close, but Figueiredo edged it out to get revenge. And now, Moreno has gone up 2-1-1 over his rival, someone Moreno will always be tied to as his career wears on.


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