In 2023, the first UFC pay-per-view has already taken place. This past weekend, UFC 283, which featured two championship matches, was taking place at the Jeunesse Arena in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, two fresh undisputed champions were announced to cap off a thrilling evening of MMA action.
At the just finished pay-per-view, a number of up-and-coming competitors won crucial matches aside from the two title battles. The MMA environment is constantly shifting, so the winners of UFC 283 will be hoping to build on their success and advance to larger battles in the future.
Following that, here are the top five matches at UFC 283, including Teixeira vs. Hill.
#5. Jessica Andrade vs. Manon Fiorot
The non-champion with the most awards in women’s MMA is possibly Jessica Andrade. She is now tied with double champion Amanda Nunes for the most victories by a female fighter in promotional history. The hard-hitting Brazilian is a force to be reckoned with in the strawweight and flyweight weight classes.
With her three-round masterclass against Lauren Murphy on Saturday, Andrade equaled Nunes’ record. She completely outclassed Murphy, drowning the American with her enormous volume and output to win the unanimous decision by a wide margin.
After defeating Murphy, the former strawweight champion demanded a rematch with the current 115-pound champion Zhang Weili, but she is also just one or two victories away from challenging Valentina Shevchenko for the 125-pound championship. Given that her most recent victory was over a flyweight, Manon Fiorot of France would be Andrade’s ideal next opponent.
The ideal matchup between Fiorot and Andrade would take place in March, when Shevchenko will defend her title against Alexa Grasso. Because both Fiorot and Andrade are primarily strikers, the championship eliminator should be a thrilling match with big stakes.
#4. Johnny Walker vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Johnny Walker is a world-beater at his finest. The flashy Brazilian’s troubles with consistency, however, have stymied the initial buzz that surrounds him. However, Walker seems to have rediscover his finest form while working with John Kavanagh.
Paul Craig was easily dispatched by Walker at UFC 283, who finished the Scottish grappler in the first frame. After his most recent triumph, he will replace Craig in the light heavyweight top 10 as he is now on a two-fight winning run. Walker might be given a shot at the title with a couple of notable victories given his notoriety and fighting style.
Walker will go one step closer to a chance to play in the championship with a victory over another opponent who is ranked higher. The ascending 30-year-old might face Aleksandar Rakic, who holds the No. 5 spot on the light heavyweight ladder, next.
Since getting hurt last year versus Jan Blachowicz, Rakic hasn’t competed. The matchmakers knew that a battle with the consistently explosive Walker was inevitable because the towering Austrian is one of the top strikers in the division. This would be a great addition to the undercard whenever newly crowned champion Jamahal Hill defends his title.
#3. Gilbert Burns vs. Colby Covington
Gilbert Burns has had trouble finding willing opponents since his barnstorming victory over Khamzat Chimaev the previous year. Burns received calls from several top-ranked welterweights, but Neil Magny, who is ranked No. 12, ended up becoming his opponent for UFC 283.
Burns submitted Magny in the first round by slicing through him like a hot knife through butter. The previous interim champion Colby Covington, who is ranked No. 2 in the 170-pound division, was singled out by “Durinho” in his post-fight interview. Covington promised to finish every opponent he faced on the way to the title.
The welterweight championship will be up for grabs at UFC 286 in March. There is no undisputed No. 1 challenger in the category, but former champion Kamaru Usman will try to revenge his knockout loss to 170-pound king Leon Edwards in the pay-per-view main event.
Covington has been unusually silent since his confrontation with Jorge Masvidal last year, while Khamzat Chimaev’s welterweight future is also uncertain. Belal Muhammad might have a chance, but he’ll probably need another significant victory.
If Chimaev is actually finished at 170 pounds, the only option is a matchup between Covington and Gilbert Burns. Both competitors deserve a spot in a title eliminator battle after recent impressive victories. The stylistic battle, which pits one of the top wrestlers in the class against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert, is also fantastic.
#2. Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja 3 – UFC flyweight championship bout
At UFC 283, Brandon Moreno put an end to his three-year struggle with Deiveson Figueiredo to establish himself as the new undisputed flyweight champion. As Figueiredo prepares to move up to the bantamweight class, Moreno has a strong field of flyweight challengers vying for his flyweight championship.
Alexandre Pantoja, who has two victories over Moreno, is the undisputed favourite to win the title. The pair competed on The Ultimate Fighter 24, where Pantoja quickly submitted Moreno. He defeated him once more, this time by unanimous decision, two years after they first met on TUF.
Currently on a three-fight winning streak, Pantoja has defeated Brandon Royval, Alex Perez, and Manel Kape through decision and submission, respectively. Notably, ‘The Cannibal’ and Moreno got into an argument backstage after UFC 283, and now this fight seems all but inevitable.
Pantoja even weighed in as the backup for the Figueiredo vs. Moreno title bout, effectively securing his position as the champion’s heir apparent.
#1. Jamahal Hill vs. Magomed Ankalaev – UFC light heavyweight championship bout
It has been amazing to watch Jamahal Hill’s incredible ascent from relative obscurity to championship gold. Four years after winning a contract with the UFC through Dana White’s Contender Series, Glover Teixeira, a legendary fighter from Brazil, challenged Hill for the light heavyweight title. Hill won the bout with a superb performance.
There are plenty of potential opponents for Hill. Of course, previous champion Jiri Prochazka, who had to give up the title because of an injury, would undoubtedly have a title shot after his comeback. The timing of his recovery is unclear, and given the gravity of his injury, another 205-pound title bout is likely to occur before he returns.
Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz are now the most likely candidates to fight for the title in the future. At the final pay-per-view of 2022, they battled to a draw, and it was generally agreed that Ankalaev merited the judges’ decision that evening. Although it was a very tight battle, Blachowicz did acknowledge shortly after that he believed his Russian opponent deserved to win.
There is little doubt that Ankalaev, Prochazka, and Hill are the top three competitors in the division. There is just one fight left to be had at the top of the 205-pound class with Prochazka out. In his upcoming film, “Sweet Dreams” will probably square off against a strong Dagestani.