Welcome back to another UFC PPV preview and boy do we have a good one! The Quadrilogy between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno is our co-main event, Gilbert Burns returns to the octagon after his classic with Khamzat Chimaev, Gregory Rodrigues returns after the horrific cut he incurred in his last fight, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returns home to fight at the age of 41, and so much more. All of these pale in comparison to how excited Andy and I are for the Main Event between the legendary Glover Teixeira and our favorite fighter, Jamahal Hill.

As always, we’ve broken down every fight on the card, providing analysis and insight based on watching tape, years of following the UFC, and listening to others in the MMA community. We’re excited to hit 2023 hard after growing and profiting in 2022, and I hope that if you enjoy this read that you come back for the next card! If you do, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@RickHHSports and @AndyHHSports) and subscribe here to make sure you get the latest news on weight cuts, live tweeting and potentially more plays as we get closer to Saturday night. Lets get into it!

Daniel Marcos (+124) vs Saimon Oliveira (-154)

Marcos and Oliveira match up to start the card off at a combined 0-1 UFC record. Oliveira has the lone UFC fight between the two of them and it came in a loss to Tony Gravely, where he didn’t look good at all. Marcos won as an underdog on his Dana White Contender Series debut and has been granted his chance at the big time. While both of these fighters look like prospects given their records of 13-0 for Marcos and 18-4 for Oliveira, both guys sit around the age of 30. It’ll be imperative to get on the right track early in their UFC career, so consider this a must win if either fighter wants to reach the rankings.

Marcos is undefeated with a 13-0 record, but as is the case with many undefeated records, when you dive a little deeper into the competition levels and quality of opponent it tends to reflect a bit higher. Marcos’ opponents haven’t been good, and that’s part of the reason he was an underdog on DWCS. What he brings to the table is a fantastic boxing game both offensive and defensively, combined with solid, stinging leg kicks to keep opponents honest. At range and in close he utilizes good footwork and body/head movement to evade incoming opponents.

Where Marcos lacks a bit, and why he is the underdog, is because his takedown defense is poor and with Oliveira boasting 11 submission wins, if he gets taken down he’s in a real threat to be finished. That’s not entirely the case because Marcos has shown the ability to get up consistently and I don’t tout Oliveira as an elite grappler. Oliveira does boast great front chokes so expect guillotines from top or bottom position to be thrown out. I understand why he’s the favorite but his sloppy defense on the feet combined with Marcos’ phenomenal boxing and underrated kicking game gives me pause, and I don’t expect the grappling advantage to be that great.

Rick’s Pick: Daniel Marcos +124 (1u)

Josiane Nunes (-550) vs Zarah Fairn (+400)

One of the most exciting female 145-pounders in Josiane Nunes takes on Zarah Fairn Saturday night, and this is one that does not make a lot of sense. There is nothing you missed in the news, this is simply the UFC filling up a fight in the very empty featherweight division, but don’t let the lack of depth in this division take away from the hype around Nunes.

Nunes has gotten 7 finishes by KO/TKO out of her 9 wins, with the other two coming by decision. Josi is going to stand and trade, with a lot less shots received in the trading as her defense of her face and body is fairly strong. This is where the fight gets interesting, as Zarah Fairn’s style and history makes me believe this fight will stay on the feet the whole time.

Fairn was the first female UFC fighter from France which led to a lot of hype when she left the regional circuit, but after getting finished in the first round of her first two fights, that hype went away quickly. With the coals of the hype fire still smouldering, she missed weight in her scheduled fight against Nunes way back in 2021 by 12 pounds (and 7 pounds from the later agreed catchweight), and has not fought in the UFC since. With almost three years removed from her last professional fight, no ground game to be seen on tape, and a camp change during this stretch, your guess is as good as mine on what we will see from Fairn this weekend.

Nunes’ height disadvantage in this one is six inches, which to some may be considerable, but to Nunes is just the motion of the ocean (had to, sorry). Her first UFC fight she knocked out Bea Malecki who is seven inches taller than her, and very easily bobbed, weaved, and shielded herself from any dangerous blows. With Fairn’s game only being in the stand up, it is clear why the odds makers have made it impossible for us to take Nunes on the moneyline in any way, shape, or form.

The one thing I am very confident in is that Fairn is on her way out of the UFC quickly after Nunes honors this previously booked fight in a division where it is slim pickin’s on who you can scrap with. I would not be surprised if Nunes gets the KO here on the 36-year old Fairn, but I also would not be surprised if this went the distance. We can hedge our bet here with a play on it going the distance at plus money, with Nunes getting the finish much more affordable than trying to find a way to place on that outlandishly expensive moneyline. Look for Nunes to roll here as we say farewell to the failed UFC experiment of Zarah Fairn.

Andy’s Plays:

Josiane Nunes by KO, TKO, or DQ -140 (1.5u)

Josiane Nunes by Unanimous Decision +300 (0.7u)

I know that the second play is weird at 0.7 units, but it completely hedges your KO bet for a 0.8 unit win if she does knock her out. Keep that in mind!

Warlley Alves (-120) vs Nicolas Dalby (+100)

These two fighters meet in a clash of styles. While Nicolas Dalby tends to pittar pattar at range, keeping out of range of his opponent’s biggest weapons en route to a decision. Warlley Alves on the other hand does his best work when moving forward and striking at all three levels, and if he’s able to get the fight to he mat he’s levels above Dalby.

From the brief preview above you may think that Alves has a clear avenue to dominate this fight. Sure, he could, but Dalby has a way of forcing opponents to fight his style of fight. His movement on the outside is good and he doesn’t get caught along the cage often, allowing him to slip out when opponents pressure. At range he is a true boxer and doesn’t have fight-ending power more often than not, but his strikes add up in volume.

If Alves is able to cut the cage and force Dalby inside his range, his leg kicks to the calf and body are devastating and don’t doubt his ability to knock you out on the feet. He has 3 knockout wins in the UFC with two of them coming by way of body kicks and an uppercut. What he’s able to do with forward pressure and a variety of striking is force takedown attempts from opponents, bringing him into his wheelhouse on the ground. If Dalby is able to keep the fight at range it’ll be close, but I expect Alves to push the pace and force the fight to Dalby. Give me Alves and the under.

Rick’s Pick: Alves -120 (1u) & u2.5 -110 (.5u)

Terrance McKinney (-130) vs Ismael Bonfim (+110)

McKinney and the older Bonfim brother will be a performance of the night candidate at the halfway mark of the prelims, with one of these hard hitting strikers getting put out. Both of these fighters have a substantial amount of hype behind them and have not given us any reasons to believe this fight will stop either of their hype trains. But let’s just get this out of the way now – there is a 0% chance that this fight goes to the cards, and I believe it will be fireworks from the start.

Terrance McKinney has dynamite in both of his hands. His famous 7 second KO on Matt Frevola to begin his UFC career makes people forget that he got his roots on a plethora of different submissions to begin his professional mixed martial arts career. But the most significant part about McKinney’s resume is how quick his fights are. Whether wins or losses, every fight McKinney has fought in has ended in the first round besides two, which still finished inside the distance in defeat. Yes, only 2 of his 17 fights have left the first round.

Meanwhile, Bonfim has seen a well rounded 8 KOs, 4 submissions, and 6 decisions supplement his winning column, with all three of his losses coming via submission. Bonfim’s losses are far in the rear view mirror though, with his last loss coming back in 2014 at the age of 18 to Top 10 UFC Lightweight Renato Moicano. With five wins in a row inside the distance leading to his two fight stint in the LFA before fighting on DWCS, it is safe to say Bonfim is no stranger to leaving it all out there like McKinney.

With it being a certainty this fight is not going the distance, it is virtually impossible to bet on that. However, I give McKinney the slight edge here with his UFC experience against better competition than Bonfim, as well as his more versatile toolset in the submission game. McKinney’s wrestling background is something we have not gotten to see at an extensive length in the UFC, but I would not be surprised if he goes back to it here in Brazil and puts out the older Bonfim brother.

We have not seen the type of domination McKinney has had in his last four fights (well, half of the Dober fight until he choked it away!) out of Ismael in his last three. Sure the home crowd will help, but once that door closes and McKinney is on his back within a minute, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Andy’s Pick: Terrance McKinney -130 (1.5u)

Luan Lacerda (+270) vs Cody Stamann (-360)

Luan Lacerda makes his UFC debut against 5 year UFC veteran Cody Stamaan. At one point Stamaan was quite the exciting prospect in the bantamweight division, entering into the Top 15 before crashing down due to a three fight skid. Stamaan’s most recent victory over Eddie Wineland was a nice bounceback, but now he faces a much more formidable test in the explosive prospect Lacerda.

Lacerda gets to make his UFC debut in Rio, the city he is fighting out of with the green and yellow of Brazil flying high across his back. Gaining his professional experience in the Shooto promotion, with two more fights in the LFA, Lacerda has some better professional fights than many who enter the UFC. The first thing you will notice when watching his film is that it looks like he is getting hit at times but his shielding, blocking, and calculative thinking allows him to pounce when the opponent believes they are on the offense.

This is where I believe Luan will be able to have an edge on Stamaan, and although Cody has the UFC experience in his belt, there is a reason they’re making him fight the bottom of the bantamweights now in one of the most exciting divisions in the UFC. Everyone will talk about Cody’s wrestling and grappling coming into this bout, but don’t let that take away from how skilled Lacerda is in these same areas. On top of that, Lacerda should be able to expose the gaps that Cody leaves open with shots to the body and a couple of takedowns. With 10 submissions in 12 victories, the 30-year old Brazilian presents a new threat on the ground in the division that I am very excited about.

A classic case of the name notoriety driving the odds here, I love Lacerda for half a unit due to the fact it is low risk high reward on a fight that should be a lot closer than Vegas has set it at. Sprinkle in a little inside the distance prop on Lacerda, and you’ve got two exciting low cost bets for this fun prelim bout.

Andy’s Plays:

Lacerda +300 (0.5u)

Lacerda Inside the Distance +500 (0.25u)

Gabriel Bonfim (-186) vs Mounir Lazzez (+147)

The second of the Bonfim brothers makes his UFC debut against the powerful counter striker Mounir Lazzez. This fight isn’t a clash of styles by any means, but there are some quality matchups within the matchup that I’m interested in breaking down.

Bonfim comes from the LFA where he was a welterweight champion, and of his 13 wins, 10 come by way of submission. Naturally, one would assume that he’s a submission specialist and probably a great grappler. That’s not entirely the case. Yes, he has the ability to submit opponents once the fight gets to the mat, but his background is actually in boxing. He’s fantastic from the outside weaponizing his combinations to the body and head, but one concern is his boxing defense.

Bonfim leaves his arms wide enough apart to get him torn up by jabs. Mounir Lazzez is much more of a counter striker, but he does have a solid jab himself. 8 of Lazzez’s 11 wins come by way of knockout, and there’s no question he’ll be the biggest and stronger fighter in the matchup. On the feet, Bonfim’s easiest path to victory is to bring in Bonfim and time his counters well, all while using his solid takedown defense to keep the fight standing.

Lazzez can absolutely knock Bonfim out, but that’s his primary, and really only, path to victory. Bonfim has a volume-based striking approach where he utilizes his forward pressure, and if things go south for him he can begin to feint, or use, takedowns to his advantage. As I mentioned he has 10 submissions to his name, and don’t be surprised if he gets one on Saturday if Lazzez leaves himself open to it. It’s a bit pricey, but I’ll take Bonfim to get the job done here.

Rick’s Pick: Bonfim -186 (1u)

Jailton Almeida (-1000) vs Shamil Abdurakhimov (+600)

It’s always easy to break down a fight when someone is a four digit favorite. One opponent is typically outmatched mightily on one or two areas combined with a short notice match, and that’s much the case with Shamil and Jailton here. Shamil Abdurakhimov has been in and around the UFC for a long time, going 5-5 in the process. His fatal flaw is that he’s 41 years old and has been knocked out three straight times against Curtis Blaydes, Chris Daukaus, and Sergei Pavlovich.

Jailton Almeida is an entire decade younger than Abdurakhimov and is ascending quickly up the UFC ranks due to his extensive grappling repertoire. All 17 of his victories have come by finish, with 11 coming by submission and 6 by knockout. Abdurakhimov is a good wrestler, but is incredibly outmatched in that department against Almeida. On the feet, he’s slower and less powerful and his cardio has gotten worse with each fight. Expect Almeida to dominate both on the feet and the mat and for this fight to end quickly. Unfortunately, even Almeida to win in round one will sit close to -150 odds, so there’s no play in this fight, and it doesn’t make much sense to add him to parlays.

Rick’s Pick: Almeida of course, but pass.

Thiago Moises (-425) vs Melquizael Costa (+315)

In a battle of who is the better 155 pound Brazilian we see four year UFC veteran Thiago Moises take on newcomer Melquizael Costa by way of the LFA. Moises has had some great fights in the UFC with wins against Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, and Alex Hernandez. His losses are equally as noteworthy with 2 of his last 3 coming in defeat at the hands of lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and top 15 contender Joel Alvarez.

Thiago’s style is very well rounded, with a threat on the ground that I believe gives him the edge here against Costa. The vast majority of Moises’s victories have come by submission or decision, with four of his six losses coming via decision. His grappling and instincts when he has an opponent wrapped up are creative and useful. We see many fighters get a guy pinned to the wall and not make much of it, where Moises has been crafty to pin opponents arms to his sides, switch positions in his favor, and find a way to maintain control of his foe.

Where Costa is exciting on the feet, he lacks the same creativity and flash on the ground. Sure he can try to stand up with Moises which could go either way, but I would be surprised if Thiago is OK with this. Thiago can easily make this a takedown then dominate on the ground fight, but if he decides to please the crowd then expect a slug fest. Moises is too expensive to bet on outright in a rude awakening to the newcomer, but we can get crafty like his grappling game with our bet here.

Andy’s Play:

Thiago Moises Inside the Distance – EVEN (1.25u)

Thiago Moises by Unanimous Decision +200 (0.5u)

Brunno Ferreira (+265) vs Gregory Rodriguez (-350)

The odds are juiced for this fight to not enter the second round, and that tells you nearly all you need to know about this matchup. No, this isn’t a heavyweight bout. It’s not even a light heavyweight bout. However, these middleweights will stand and bang, eating one to give one until somebody falls. Rodriguez is now 4-1 in his UFC career with 3 knockouts in that span, with his most infamous KO being last time out against Chidi Njokuani because of Rodriguez’s gruesome cut between his eyes.

Bruno Ferreira takes the fight on short notice after Brad Tavares dropped due to injury, and given the nature of his opponent and short notice, his stock can only go up in this fight. He’s a perfect 9-0 with the ninth win coming via knockout on Dana White Contender Series back in September. All 9 of his wins have come by finish, with only 2 of them seeing the second round. His nickname is the Hulk because of how strong he is, so don’t let his 5 inch height disadvantage make you think Rodriguez will be the stronger fighter in this matchup.

Both Rodriguez and Ferreira boast a BJJ Black Belt, but I don’t exactly expect either to utilize it. Ferreira will likely unload the gas tank early to get Rodriguez out of there so his short camp and likely low stamina don’t play a factor, so expect car crash exchanges early and often. “Robocop” Rodriguez has proven to have an exceptional chin through the years, but the more he gets cracked the more concerned I am about him falling. Somebody is going to fall in this matchup. I’d guess it’s Ferreira, but I’m more confident that we don’t see the second round.

Rick’s Pick: Fight not to complete 1 round -115 (1u)

Mauricio Rua (+178) vs Ihor Potieria (-230)

The largest gap in age between fighters happens here with a monstrous 15 years between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Ihor Potieria. Shogun is on the wrong side of 40 but is still putting up solid fights, while Ihor Potieria is fighting in just his second UFC fight ever to date. What makes this fight challenging to break down is that we know the skills and power Shogun possesses, but just how far have those skills fallen off and how much of a step up for Poteria is this?

The answer is that it’s a giant step up in competition for Potieria. The UFC have a lot of confidence in him to excel at Light Heavyweight, and that’s why they gave him Nicolae Negumereanu in his first bout. Granted, he lost that matchup, but he did have moments. His level of competition on his ascension wasn’t great, but undoubtedly his best win was on DWCS against Lukasz Sudolski, finishing him in the 1st round. Largely, Potieria just uses hooks to close the distance, but if he’s not working to close the distance he’s using powerful leg kicks. Regardless, volume and his defense when moving forward lack and leave openings for counters.

For Shogun, we know what he is. He’s a knockout specialist. With 21 of his 27 career wins coming by knockout, you expect him to drop hammers on opponents until they drop. That hasn’t been the case recently, finishing his opponent in just 2 of his last 11 fights. In Shogun’s second to last fight, he tapped due to strikes from Paul Craig, which goes a long way for me. He’s getting finished with more frequency lately, and an opponent like Ihor Potieria will test that waning durability.

Potieria won’t sit back and play a pittar pattar striking game at distance. When he wants to go, he’s going to force car crash collisions and given both Shogun and Potieria’s striking power combined with Shogun’s lack of durability recently, someone is going to go down. I lean Potieria but his level of competition and performances don’t wow me enough to be confident that he won’t get slept by Shogun. I’ll take one of these two to be finished at some point in this fight, and parlay it with Terrance McKinney.

Rick’s Pick: (Parlay) Fight not to go the distance & Terrance McKinney +140 (1u)

Paul Craig (+155) vs Johnny Walker (-190)

In the battle of Jamahal Hill’s former opponents, Hill’s one loss in Paul Craig faces off against the Brazilian Johnny Walker, not to be confused with Johnnie Walker the scotch. We’ve got two very different styles of fighters facing off with Walker being a specialist at knocking out his opponents, and Paul Craig being one of the more fun submission artists you will see, especially at such a heavy weight class where submission specialists are harder to find. For Craig, his opportunities will come down to if Walker leaves the window open for him.

History says that Walker will not leave things open for Craig at all. Walker has only been submitted once and it was all the way back in 2015 when Johnny was only 23 years old entering his ninth professional fight. Walker had a solid run to start his UFC career following his 2018 victory on the Contender Series, rattling off a three fight win streak. From there, it has been two wins in his last six, coming off of a win against Ion Cutelaba in September.

Despite only being submitted once, Walker has not been tested by someone as talented as Craig in the art of Kung Fu and jiu-jitsu. Sure, Misha Cirkunov would’ve been a great test for Walker against someone with Brazilian jiu-jitsu experience, but he knocked our Misha in 36 seconds. I believe this will be a classic chess match of striker versus grappler that will finish at the quick speed of a checkers match.

Johnny Walker has had 13 of his last 17 fights since 2016 and on finish in the first round whether it was in victory or defeat. Paul Craig has had no problem submitting some of the best in the division with wins over Ankalaev, Hill, and Krylov, with Hill and Krylov coming to a close in the first round. I think Walker comes out swinging to open things up with the Brazilian crowd, and if he slips up Craig will expose him early. Look for this fight to not even make it out of the first round with such an electric stylistic matchup and gaps in both fighters defenses against the other’s strengths.

Andy’s Pick: Fight Not to Complete Round 1 -105 (1u)

Jessica Andrade (-525) vs Lauren Murphy (+365)

Jessica Andrade faces off with Lauren Murphy in what looks to be a very one sided bout. You may have heard that a couple of times for this card, and chances are some of these will be closer than the betting odds say, but this will not be one. Lauren Murphy recently worked her way up to a title fight in 2021 against Valentina Shevchenko where she unfortunately got dominated as most of Valentina’s opponents do. Besides that, the competition she has faced has not been great, and that is not all entirely her fault as some of the women’s divisions are still building their talent pools.

Andrade is widely considered one of the top female fighters, with the switch from bantamweight to strawweight in 2016 (a 20 pound drop for those counting at home) making a huge difference for the 31-year old. Her four losses since the switch have come against some of the best female fighters of all time in former champs Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas, and current 115-lb champ Zhang Weili, plus current 125-lb champ Valentina Shevchenko. After losing to Rose, Andrade did jump up to 125-lbs to with one exception in her most recent victory last year at 115 against up and coming star Amanda Lemos.

The main difference you will see here is the quickness, versatility, and savage nature of Jessica Andrade that Lauren Murphy is not going to be able to match. What separates Anrade the most though is her power. She possesses an uncanny amount of horsepower behind her strikes for the division, and is always something to be aware of. Murphy tends to wear down her opponents with a methodical approach and a solid gas tank, but this is not something that is a threat to a seasoned veteran like Andrade. The odds reflect this, with Andrade sitting at -525 here as I write this Thursday night. I don’t have a play here as it is impossible to say if Lauren will maintain her composure and not crumble to the suffocating attack of Andrade, or if Jessica will get a finish in the three round bout. If I change my mind, I’ll make sure to tweet it out from my Twitter, @AndyHHSports.

Andy’s Pick: No Play

Gilbert Burns (-500) vs Neil Magny (+350)

Burns versus Magny is a battle of two of the most durable, long-tenured fighters in the UFC who both still have plenty of gas left in the tank. Magny has been a fighter who will take on anybody in the division, just name the time and the place and he is in. Burns got his shot at the title in early 2021, and gave Khamzat Chimaev his hardest test to date in 2022 in one of the most fun fights of the year. Both of these guys are tough to finish as well, with 9 of Burns’s 18 fights with the promotion ending in decision, and 15 of Magny’s 28 UFC fights finishing by decision. Yes, Magny has had 28 fights in the UFC!

Burns still has welterweight title aspirations on his mind. A rematch against Chimaev apparently is out of the question now with Gilbert claiming Khamzat is moving to middleweight, which means Burns just needs another fight or two after his bout with Magny to go for the belt once more. I believe he can do it, and this fight will be the first step towards that. Gilbert’s pace will be just a bit higher than Magny’s, with a lot of stand up ahead for both fighters.

Gilbert has the clear edge on the ground, but Magny is not necessarily a slouch in grappling. Neil’s bread and butter has always been his incredible stamina, walking down his opponents and wearing them down over the course of 15 minutes. This is not going to work against Burns who is highly battle tested as well and has a high motor to piece up Magny on the feet or in a more strategic fashion on the mat where he holds the advantage.

This fight is impossible to bet from a straight up point of view. I like Burns to get the win here and continue his second title run, but I do not really see a finish with both guys being a very difficult out. Gilbert has seen five of his last seven fights in the past three years go to decision. Meanwhile, Magny had a submission win and loss in his last two, but six decisions in a row before that. You can get Burns to win by decision at plus money which feels like a great payout for two fighters that have seen their fights go to decision a ton in recent history.

Andy’s Pick: Gilbert Burns by Decision +165 (1u)

Deiveson Figueiredo (-110) vs Brandon Moreno (-110)

The Quadrilogy is what the UFC is dubbing this bout, and at this stage it needs no introduction. No analysis of mine or anyone else’s will be able to confidently tell you who will win this fight. Figueiredo and Moreno are so evenly matched and have separated themselves from the rest of the division by such a margin that there was no choice but to make a fourth fight. Yes, there are areas of each fighter’s game that are better than the other, but it’s marginal and the other can utilize their strengths to counter it.

Both fighters have a ton of wins by knockout and submission and their striking at range, wrestling, scrambling, and submission abilities are all excellent. Both have staying power and stamina to keep it going for all five rounds. In the second fight Moreno made adjustments to get to the target before Figueiredo could and then get out before Figueiredo could land and return fire.

The third fight was another wildly close affair, but Figueiredo had the bigger moments with his cracking power to edge him out on the score cards. I doubt in the fourth fight that either fighter will take the fight to the mat, but that’s more of a testament to the takedown defense of both fighters. I lean Brandon Moreno giving him the advantage in cardio and fight IQ, but the power of Figueiredo and his home nation behind him could be enough to turn the tides on Moreno. I’ll take the Mexican to win in the later rounds in a tightly contested affair.

Rick’s Pick: Moreno in R4, R5, or Dec +150 (1u)

Glover Teixeira (+120) vs Jamahal Hill (-145)

I would be a bad writer if I did not admit bias in the moments that I hold bias. Jamahal Hill is my favorite fighter in the UFC and I have watched every single one of his fights from the regional circuit to the UFC. I love the energy he brings to the cage on his walks in, the calm demeanor he maintains in the heat of the fight, and the holes he finds to quickly punch through someones guard or quickly crush his opponent’s head. I was beginning to learn about MMA and watch every fight card since the start of the pandemic, so it was easy to follow Jamahal’s ascension into the title picture from the beginning.

Saturday night Jamahal gets his title opportunity after Ankalaev and Blachowicz blew it in December with their draw. Some say it is a little early, with the #7 light heavyweight fighter taking on the most seasoned of all veterans in the division in 43-year old Glover Teixeira. For a 43-year old at the height of their sport, you won’t find another athlete as dominant as Glover at his craft unless you are talking about Tom Brady or LeBron James. Of course, Glover has only fought in three title fights, winning one against Blachowicz in 2021, but that does not take away from his storied career.

This title fight highlights the potential for a major changing of the guard in the light heavyweight division that has been lacking some excitement since the departure of the GOAT Jon Jones. The UFC strategically gave the next title shot to not only one of the most exciting contenders in the light heavyweight, but one of the most entertaining knockout artists in the entire promotion in Jamahal Hill. However, this is no walk in the park for Jamahal, who will face the most dominant wrestler he has fought to date in Glover.

I believe that despite Glover’s scary dominance on the mat is a huge factor in this fight, people are really not accounting for Jamahal’s speed and takedown defense. Sure, I could get burned for saying someone who hasn’t really had an elite wrestler on resume has nice takedown defense. However, from the film we have on Jamahal, he has always been able to maintain his composure up against the fence which is where Glover loves to push guys before picking them up and throwing them down.

Glover Teixeira is great at defending himself, but early in the first round of the Santos fight you can see that Thiago found the gap to Glover’s chin, wobbling the 41-year old at the time. Glover is experienced at regaining his wits and grabbing his opponents legs, which is a plus for him as he loves to get any limb he can grab onto to force the takedown. For me, this is where Jamahal will shine as he can crack Glover early in the first or second round and put his lights out. Glover has not been knocked out since 2017, but it does mean it is possible and Jamahal’s speed and calculated striking will help him get there. This is not a knockout artist that swings as hard as he can for the fences to try to get a KO and leaves himself exposed. Every move that Jamahal makes is well thought out and polished, so one slip up from the wise old man in Teixeira will leave enough of a window for Jamahal to pounce.

If you do not want to ride with Jamahal here and my case was not enough convincing I totally understand. Glover by Submission at +225 is not a bad shout, as well as Glover in Rounds 4, 5, or Decision at +385. These are also great hedge opportunities if you rock with Jamahal to win the belt. The kid from Grand Rapids, Michigan rides into the treacherous territory of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil against one of the best stories in the division of Glover Teixeira, one of their own in Brazil. I am going with the elite striker and “Sweet Dreams” specialist here, and no matter the way you lean on this one, it is no secret it will deliver with fireworks, unlike the title fight last month. If you saw my tweet from Wednesday (@AndyHHSports on Twitter!), you knew to get in on Jamahal before the line moved. If not, I still like him on the Finish Only line, where if the fight goes to decision the bet voids.

Andy’s Pick: Jamahal Hill Finish Only -135 (2u)