UFC 283: 10 Things We Learned (Extended Edition)

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An event this big, this early in the year requires a few extra notes and observations, so we’re blowing out 10 Things to cover the full gamut of insights, takeaways, and talking points that emerge from UFC 283 on Saturday at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jamahal Hill, UFC Champion

Jamahal Hill wanted to know if he was good enough to be UFC champion. Saturday night, “Sweet Dreams” showed he was more than capable, taking the fight to Glover Teixeira over five rounds, in Brazil, to claim gold by unanimous decision.

There were points throughout the fight where it looked like he was going to dispatch the Brazilian, including every time he landed a heavy left kick. Teixeira not only weathered the blows, he never stopped coming forward, fighting hard until the final bell, only to run into more punishment from the talented new champion.

Heading into the fight, the question was whether Hill would be able to rise to the occasion, and he did, turning in an outstanding showing to establish himself as the best in the division for the moment. The first fighter to graduate from Dana White’s Contender Series and win gold, it’s going to be interesting to see how much more he continues to develop and what comes next for the new champ.

Following the bout, Teixeira announced his retirement, explaining he was going to put his focus into training middleweight champion Alex Pereira, who he said would one day move up to the 205-pound weight class. It’s been an amazing career for the former champion, who acknowledged being too tough for his own good and unable to continue competing with these younger, faster, more durable talents.

This was a tremendous performance for Hill and an effort that instantly injects some energy back into the light heavyweight division, where a few intriguing fights await the new champion.

Moreno Earns Stoppage, Flyweight Strap

Brandon Moreno is now the two-time UFC flyweight champion after collecting a stoppage win over Deiveson Figueiredo between the third and fourth rounds.

The Mexican interim champion was the sharper of the two from the outset on Saturday, landing with greater volume and impact early, mixing in shots to the body and timely takedowns that kept Figueiredo off balance. Each time Figueiredo looked to get something started, Moreno responded, and in the third, he continued to distance himself from his rival, stinging him with a left hand to the eye that proved to be the deciding blow of the fight.

When Figueiredo returned to his corner, his right eye was swollen closed, and after the doctor checked on him prior to the start of the fourth, it was determined that he could not continue. Although it was an anticlimactic conclusion to the thrilling series between these two, Moreno was clearly the better man and seemed poised to continue distancing himself from Figueiredo over the final two rounds.

Now that this chapter is officially over, Moreno can move forward as champion, where a bout with Alexandre Pantoja looms large, while Figueiredo indicated his intention to move up to bantamweight, adding another intriguing name to the already loaded 135-pound weight class.

This has been an outstanding rivalry since their first meeting in December 2020, and now it is over.

Burns Dominates (As Predicted)

Fighting backwards in the rankings, Gilbert Burns knew he needed to make a statement in order to secure himself bigger opportunities in the future, and that’s precisely what he did on Saturday, running through Neil Magny in the opening round.

Burns closed the distance, secured a body lock, and put Magny on the deck early in the fight. From there, it was academic, as “Durinho” patiently worked through positions before ultimately arriving in mount and clamping onto an arm-triangle choke that brought about the tap.

This was exactly the kind of performance we anticipated when talking about this fight all week — a one-sided reminder that Burns is on a different level than Magny and all but a select number of fighters in the welterweight division. His grappling is next level and while he hasn’t always shown it during his run at 170 pounds, Burns has promised to use it more frequently, and showed why that’s a wise decision for him — and bad news for everyone else — on Saturday.

Andrade Smashes, Everyone Fails Murphy

Jessica Andrade beat the face off Lauren Murphy on Saturday in a one-way fight that could have been stopped multiple times, by multiple people.

It was clear pretty early on that Andrade was several steps ahead of Murphy, and the longer it went, the more the punishment piled up. As much as the American continued to trudge forward and remain upright, that can’t be the measure of whether a fighter should continue, and both the referee and her corner probably should have saved Murphy from the additional damage she incurred over the second half of the fight.

In the corner following the second round, Murphy’s coaches, which includes her husband Joe, tried giving her instructions on how to turn this fight around and emerge victorious, as if that was something that was actually going to happen. While I understand trying to pump your fighter up and give them tangible instructions between rounds, there was no path to victory here for Murphy, and no reason to send her back out there.

Additionally, referee Osiris Maia could have stepped in at various points throughout the third round as Andrade belted Murphy with big shots. You don’t have to wait for competitors to crash to the canvas or cover up and shrink into themselves in order to halt the action, and more officials need to remember that in these types of situations.

Walker Working Things Out?

The hype surrounding Johnny Walker early in his UFC career was ridiculous, but after a rough stretch that produced one win in five fights, the Dublin-based light heavyweight has put together consecutive first-round stoppage wins.

Walker showed off his frightening power on Saturday night against Paul Craig, hurting the Scotsman with a clean right hand while his right leg was elevated. It prompted Craig to drop down in search of an ankle, but Walker just kept bombing away, landing hammerfists and punches that Craig could not handle, resulting in referee Marc Goddard stopping the fight before the midway point of the opening stanza.

Here’s the thing with Walker: his combination of size, power, and the diversity of his attacks automatically make him a threat, but for a minute, it seemed like his playfulness and lack of focus would be his undoing. These last two fights have been far more patient and measured, and if they’re a harbinger of who Walker is now, who he’s going to be every time he steps into the Octagon, he could be a factor in this division.

We’ll have to see if he can keep it up, but if he can…

Hey Kid — Read the Room

Ihor Potieria was understandably excited about collecting his first UFC victory on Saturday night, but given that he was paired off with the retiring Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, it wasn’t the time to make a show of collecting a first-round stoppage win.

Once Potieria figured out he had a considerable speed advantage on Rua, he settled in and dominated, ultimately felling the veteran with a short shot in close and string of follow up blows. When the bout was stopped, he had himself a little celebration, and while it’s understandable, it wasn’t the time, and he would have done far more for himself if he had taken a quick read of the room and made a point not to revel in sending Rua into retirement the way he did.

It’s a difficult thing to ask a confident, excited 26-year-old, who just stopped a former champion and crossed off a career milestone for himself, but this is where coaches and advisors need to help Potieria rein in his emotions and allow it to be all about Rua.

He’s got many more years in the Octagon ahead of him, provided he keeps winning, and there will likely be more opportunities to celebrate. Saturday night, he needed to keep it real simple, real humble, and clear out for Rua.

One Shot, One Kill

Brunno Ferreira needed one clean shot to send Gregory Rodrigues to The Land of Whispers and Ghosts.

With less than a minute remaining in the first UFC round of his career, the DWCS Class of ’22 grad bobbed and weaved looking for an opening along the fence, and when Rodrigues stood still in front of him, “The Hulk” cracked him with a left hand that sent the veteran crashing to the canvas in a heap.

Ferreira, who took the fight on short notice, made a clear statement with this performance, successfully navigating a significant step up in competition to run his record to 10-0 and collect his first UFC win. While Rodrigues is stationed outside the rankings, he entered with a 4-1 mark inside the Octagon, his lone loss coming by split decision, and Ferreira showed he belonged. It not just the finish either — he handled himself well in the grappling exchanges, and outside of a couple errant spinning attacks, he looked extremely comfortable in there.

Middleweight is always, always, always looking for fresh talent and a win like this should catapult Ferreira into the thick of things in the 185-pound weight class going forward. Rather than dial him back and slow play him, I say get him in there with someone in the same range as Rodrigues was coming in and see if he can really make something of this right out of the gate.

There Are Levels to This

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been saying that Thiago Moises felt like a potential dark horse in the lightweight division after sharing the cage with a number of talented contenders and showing flashes of upside throughout his UFC run. Saturday night, the 27-year-old Brazilian handled business in Rio, collecting a second-round submission win over promotional newcomer Melquizael Costa.

This is the kind of performance you want to see from a fighter like Moises in this position — a patient, but ultimately dominate effort against an Octagon rookie. Costa was tougher than Moises anticipated in the first, but the divisional holdover wasn’t bothered, and got after him immediately to start the second, methodically working to the finish.

Moises is now 6-4 in the UFC, but his losses all came against stellar competition, including Beneil Dariush and current champ Islam Makhachav. He trains with an elite camp at American Top Team, seems to be growing in confidence and patience with each appearance, and should continue working forward in the talent-rich 155-pound weight class throughout the year.

Little Brother Shows Out Too!

Gabriel Bonfim watched his big brother Ismael collect a walk-off knockout win earlier in the evening, and when he got his chance, the 25-year-old welterweight made the absolute most of it.

He came out of the chute hyped up and over-extended as he traded with Mounir Lazzez. But after touching up the Tunisian on the feet and forcing him to shoot, the Brazilian clamped onto a guillotine choke, rolling into mount and collecting the tap, and he did it all in 49 seconds.

Unbeaten in 13 fights heading into this one, Bonfim establishes himself as a welterweight newcomer to track in 2023 with this victory. Lazzez isn’t a world-beater by any stretch, but this was a big step up in competition, on a big card, in front of a partisan crowd, and he absolutely crushed it.

What a night for the Battlin’ Bonfim Brothers!

Now Comes the Hard Part

Jailton Almeida thoroughly dominated Shamil Abdurakhimov on Saturday, taking him down less than 30 seconds into each of the first two rounds, smothering him and controlling throughout the first before pounding out the finish midway through the second. This was one-way traffic from the jump and the kind of dominant effort everyone expected from the surging Brazilian talent.

And now comes the hard part.

Almeida is going to be ranked next week and the competition is going to get significantly more difficult from here on out. He’s rolled everyone that has shared the Octagon with him thus far, but it will be a more established, more successful fighter standing across from him whenever he makes his return, and it will be interesting to see how the somewhat undersized heavyweight handles himself.

While I think there are a couple more plodding veterans Almeida can have his way with — and that’s likely whom he’ll be matched up with next, in my opinion — it starts getting tougher when we’re talking about guys like Marcin Tybura and everyone above him in the heavyweight ranks. I said on the Preview Show that if Almeida won, I’d like to see him thrown in with someone like Alexander Volkov or Jairzinho Rozenstruik next just to find out here and now whether he’s able to hang with that caliber of fighter, and I stand by it after this one.

He’s handled every assignment thus far with aplomb; now let’s see how Almeida does against better competition.

Introducing Ismael Bonfim

If you want to know how to make a massive splash in your promotional debut, look no further than how Ismael Bonfim wrapped up his maiden voyage into the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 283.

The elder of the fighting Bonfim brothers knocked out Terrance McKinney with a brilliant flying switch knee two minutes and change into the second round of their preliminary card battle. Moments earlier, he dislodged McKinney’s mouthpiece with a clean right hand, and after taking a few steps back to reset, the Brazilian newcomer elevated and landed flush on the side of McKinney’s jaw, sending him crashing to the canvas.

McKinney came in with a ton of hype and a 3-1 record in four UFC appearances, and Bonfim handled him with ease. He looked far more comfortable from the outset and took the fight to McKinney from the jump before closing it out in highlight reel fashion. We’re only two events into the year, but this one is going to be difficult to top when it comes to determining the best debut efforts of the 2023.

We Can Just Pack Up the Featherweight Division

Heading into Saturday’s event, I had a little excitement that maybe — maybe — the UFC was going to build out the women’s featherweight division, as UFC 283 featured a bout between Josiane Nunes and Zarah Fairn, and a bout between Norma Dumont and Karol Rosa had recently been announced.

Now, I think we can just pack it up.

Nunes edged out Fairn in a fun, competitive fight that showed her significant limitations her diminutive stature presents. While she’s 3-0 in the UFC, Nunes is an undersized brawler who struggled with Fairn, who had previously been bounced in the first round of each of her first two bouts and hadn’t fought in three years.

While the Dumont-Rosa winner can certainly have a title shot if there is a desire to have Amanda Nunes defend the belt once more, but unless there is going to be a genuine, concerted effort to build this division out with legitimate featherweights and real talents, it’s time to close up shop.

Impressive Way to Start

Daniel Marcos delivered an impressive performance to kick off UFC 283, marching into the Octagon and dispatching Saimon Oliveira with a series of body shots and punishing blows two minutes and change into the second round.

A DWCS grad from last season, the undefeated Marcos took the fight to Oliveira early and never let off the gas, constantly working the body and easily denying every naked takedown attempt made by the Brazilian. Oliveira didn’t look comfortable in the cage, backing away awkwardly and almost turning away as Marcos chased him down. The Peruvian prospect recognized that and stayed after him, felling Oliveira with a torrent of punishment along the fence to extend his record to 14-0 overall.

This is the kind of showing you want to see from newcomers and recent DWCS grads. Last weekend’s competitors didn’t quite deliver, but Marcos made sure to make a statement in the opener, and becomes someone to keep tabs on in the 135-pound weight class whenever his sophomore outing arrives.

E. Spencer Kyte is a veteran MMA content creator based in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He's written for numerous outlets, including FOX Sports and The Province, British Columbia's leading newspaper, and has been a freelance contributor to the UFC website for more than a decade. Follow him on Twitter: @spencerkyte.