This past Saturday, the UFC returned to Brazil for the first time since 2019, as light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill clashed in the UFC 283 main event for the vacant title.
The light heavyweight title picture was left in turmoil late last year, when Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz fought to a draw for the vacant title following the vacation from former champion, Jiri Prochazka.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners of the night.
“Sweet Dreams” Hill was coming into by far the biggest fight of his 12 fight career with a lot to prove.
Due to the situation around this fight being made for the vacant title, a lot of people questioned whether the 31-year-old was deserving of a title shot, and whether he had the skills to get it done.
Coming into the fight, the consensus was that Glover would try and put Hill in uncomfortable positions, primarily on the mat. The former champion attempted 17 takedowns, but only landed two. The performance that Hill put on answered any prior questions, as he showcased an utterly well-rounded side to his game. The Contender Series alum became an enemy to the Rio crowd, as he beat the brakes off the hometown fighter, Glover Teixeira.
By the time Mick Maynard came to wrapping the belt around Hill, unfortunately there were hardly any fans left in the arena.
Of course, Jamahal Hill’s title reign comes after the former champion, Jiri Prochazka, vacated. With this in mind, and considering that Prochazka’s shoulder surgery has gone extremely well, it only makes sense for that fight to come next.
Not only that, but Dana White made it clear that Jiri would be the next in line for whoever became the new champion.
Jamahal Hill’s next fight: Jiri Prochazka
The Mexican became the two-time flyweight champion on Saturday night with an extremely calculated performance over his long time rival, Deiveson Figueiredo.
With that, Moreno is currently the youngest champion still on the right side of 30, at 29-years-old. When you look back at the career of Moreno, you can’t help but feel happy for his success. Despite only being 29-years-old, he has been through everything a fighter could go through in their career. From being cut from the UFC to bouncing back as a champion, not only once, but twice.
What makes his victory over the Brazilian even more impressive, is that just a mere weeks before their blockbuster fight, Moreno found himself without a head coach, as his affiliation with James Krause meant that he couldn’t continue with the Glory MMA man.
Another top coach in the game, Sayif Saud, sought out the Mexican and offered a helping hand to prepare for this quadrilogy. Moreno’s win under the tutelage of Saud marked the first time Sayif has cornered in a UFC title fight.
Moving on to what could be next for Moreno, it is already planned out. The back-up fighter for Saturdays co-main event was none other than Alexandre Pantoja. This will mark the third time in Moreno’s career where he has had to fight someone for a second time, as this will be the third time the pair will share the cage together. The two first met on TUF season 24 where Pantoja came out victorious, but that isn’t labelled as a professional bout. They met again in 2018, where Pantoja picked up the unanimous decision win.
Brandon Moreno’s next fight: Alexandre Pantoja
“Durinho” made easy work of veteran welterweight Neil Magny at UFC 283. The former title challenger came into the bout as a considerable favourite, with it considered that he could control the fight wherever it went.
That became apparent in the initial proceedings, and it didn’t take long until Burns was atop of the cage celebrating in front of the Brazilian crowd. After getting the fight to the ground, Burns began threatening with submissions but couldn’t quite lock anything up. Not long after though, he transitioned into a beautiful arm triangle, securing his fifth UFC win by submission.
Burns finds himself in a tough spot now though. With the welterweight title fight booked for UFC 286, Burns will need to fight again before he can think about getting another shot at Gold. The first name that comes to mind is “Chaos” Colby Covington, but with him missing in action, it half rules him out.
Someone else who is looking for a title elimination bout, is Belal Muhammad.
Gilbert Burns’ next fight: Belal Muhammad
The former women’s strawweight champion put on a performance that showed she was exactly that. Andrade put on a 15 minute beatdown of Lauren Murphy in this flyweight match-up, to the extent that the main talking point of the fight has been how Murphy’s corner should have thrown in the towel.
With Andrade floating between strawweight and flyweight, it is hard to predict what her next move may be. The Brazilian is currently occupying a ranking in both divisions and so campaigning for a title shot in either wouldn’t be far-fetched.
With the UFC reportedly booking Valentina Shevchenko vs Alexa Grasso for UFC 285, it may make more sense for Andrade to campaign for a rematch with the 115lb champion, Zhang Weili. That though, would depend on what the UFC plans to do with Amanda Lemos and Yan Xiaonan, as they both recently scored victories over contenders in the 115lb division.
With Andrade having previously scored a victory over Lemos, I would prefer to see her given a title fight, with the aforementioned two fighting in a title elimination bout.
Jessica Andrade’s next fight: Zhang Weili
Coming into this one, despite Johnny Walker being the fighter from Brazil, all eyes were on Paul Craig. The reason being that Craig holds victories over both Jamahal Hill and Magomed Ankalaev, meaning that if he could’ve gotten past Walker, he would’ve automatically catapulted himself back into the title picture.
Johnny Walker had different ideas though. Taking him only two minutes, Walker made it two wins in a row, stopping the Scotsman via ground-and-pound.
The main event had a back-up fighter ready just in case one of the two light heavyweight’s missed weight. It wasn’t them who missed though, and unfortunately it was the back-up, Anthony Smith, who couldn’t hit the 205lbs mark. With Smith missing his opportunity to be next to fight for the title, a fight with Walker could make sense, considering Walker’s recent form.
Johnny Walker’s next fight: Anthony Smith