We’re back! We’re back! It’s another week of downs in MMA. The UFC just announced a couple of big fights and we’re fresh of UFC 283 so there’s plenty to talk about. Let’s get down to business.
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2 (4? )
UFC287 main event in april? Probably Poatan but do you think Izzy will take the rematch or will take more time to prepare?
— Lungi05 (@lungikk) January 24, 2023
I asked questions prior to the UFC’s announcement so this is an opportunity for us to talk about the scheduled UFC middleweight title match (tetralogy).
First, we all knew this was coming. Yes there were some rumblings about timing and the potential for Robert Whittaker to step in instead, but the UFC was always going to target this fight. Adesanya, a long-time champion, and their rivalry against Pereira are some of the most compelling promotional stories the UFC has. Plus, their first fight (in the UFC) was fun. This is a simple decision.
That being said, I still kind of wish this wasn’t happening. I’ve long been on the record as hating immediate title rematches in any scenario. This makes the victory for the challenger seem less important. It basically says, “You must do it twice, or it doesn’t count,” and it just irritates me. If Adesanya loses, let him face another opponent before running it back. That’s the way I feel. Plus, if Adesanya wins the rematch, then they are going to fight again, which means the middleweight belt will be hung up for the better part of two years on one matchup. But alas, I know I’m in the minority here.
Fortunately, my early take on this fight is that we probably can avoid that scenario because I favor Pereira to win once again. Adesanya’s three victories over each other have shown that he is equipped with all of the necessary tools to win and yet, he was unable to. It’s not a coincidence, I think. Before their last fight, I predicted that Adesanya would remain conservative and allow Pereira to continue the fight. That prediction was a good one. Adesanya hurt Pereira early but didn’t press the issue and suffered the consequences later. This seems to have been the most important feature in how the two met up. Barring any changes Adesanya makes, which he is unwilling to do, it feels like the same result will occur.
Gilbert Burns vs. Jorge Masvidal
Conor vs masvidal will be the most important Conor return matchup. False or true. (It’s true)
— GRANT PANKRATZ (@grantpankratz) January 27, 2023
Again I requested questions prior to the announcement. I am taking some liberties to discuss the fights that I would like to.
Masvidal probably is the biggest return fight for Conor McGregor (though I could see a case for Dustin Poirier) but that’s not going to happen for him because Masvidal is fighting Gilbert Burns. Two major points of view on this fight announcement.
- Good for Burns! He’s been wanting this fight for a while and it was something he never expected to win. Masvidal doesn’t see Burns as a big opportunity and it seemed like he would have to fight Shavkat Rahmonov instead after he beat Geoff Neal earlier this year. Now he gets a good matchup with a big name, the kind of fight that can propel him into a title shot, depending how the rest of the division shakes out.
- Jorge Masvidal remains down to clown. Masvidal will lose Burns in a very bad fight. He’s likely to be beaten up there. But Masvidal continues to take it, even though he didn’t need to. Masvidal could have entered the McGregor lottery, or fought with someone more powerful. But that is not what happened. He proved that he is still Gamebred, and if he manages to pull off an upset then maybe he will be able to challenge Leon Edwards for the title.
Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill
Was Glover the same guy that fought Jiri, or did that fight take so much out of him that he was a shadow of himself?
— Pete Armstrong (@PeteArmstrong18) January 25, 2023
Heading into the fight, I would have assumed that Teixeira wasn’t the same guy anymore, but that pretty clearly wasn’t true. Don’t get me wrong, I assume Teixeira lost something because he’s a few years away from qualifying for an AARP card, but if he was diminished, it didn’t show. This was the functionally identical Glover that we have seen over the past few years during his career revival and title run. Jamahal Hill just beat the brakes off him. Hill deserves all credit for that.
Hill vs. Teixeira
Am I the only person who thinks that hill vs. glover is bad? Lots of heart but they were both gassed by round 3. Bones Jones would murder both of them.
— Daniel Pompilio (@elpompilio) January 28, 2023
I don’t believe it fair to claim either of them was gassed. Both were clearly exhausted, and they both worked at an extremely high pace. It wasn’t an “excellent” fight, however. The fight was one-sided, with the winner being much more skilled than the opponent, leading to violence. Although it won’t be on my Fight of the year list, it was certainly not bad.
As for Jon Jones, I doubt he would murder either man. We saw Jones fight Teixeira. It was an impressive performance by Jones but it wasn’t “murder”. And Teixeira has improved technically over the years. Hill is likely to beat Hill. But we are a long ways from peak Jones. A man who has accurate timing and boxing, and can stand up against Jones’ physicality will at least be able to beat “Bones”.
Jamahal Hill, new champion
I still believe Jiri Prochazka will roll over Jamahal Hill, if/when they get into a fight. How do you see that one going down?
— chucklehuttzz (@chucklehuttzz) January 27, 2023
Honestly, no idea.
The best performance Hill has ever given was his win over Teixeira. It was amazing that Hill could do this in his fights. This is a dude who less than two years ago got tapped by Paul Craig in the first round, and five months ago repeatedly gave up takedowns to renowned wrestler Thiago Santos. It was impossible to imagine Hill winning against Teixeira in every aspect of the match. He could have come out to clobber him with a big one. Sure. Everyone thought that was possible. But no one thought this man was going to beat Glover pillar to post like that. It was absurd to believe so. And now that he’s done it, it makes it hard to know what Hill is really capable of moving forward.
I see two outcomes to this situation. Hill could have remained level and be a problem going forward or Hill could have had the show of his lives on the largest stage in his life but will return to Earth. We’ve seen the latter happen before. We all remember Cody Garbrandt’s style on Dominick Cruz. This was our belief that this would be the beginning of a new era. But Garbrandt ended up getting beaten in three more fights. Hill could be next. OR Hill might just be that guy right now. Jiri could have serious issues if this is the case. Although I have no idea what is in store for me, it’s something I am intrigued to discover.
The light heavyweight picture
Since Hill stated that he would like to fight Jiri in July/August. What should we do with other LHW top competitors? Jan, Rakic, and Ankalev now that Hill is near to returning.
— Anderson Gold (@frontkicked) January 26, 2023
You catch hills respond to Jiri? This fight would be so much more exciting if it were held in an outdoor arena next December. It should be somewhere snowy. As smith’s favour, Hill should fight Hill in the summer. Than we end the year off with jiri/hill outdoors & snow
— James (@DangerFraser) January 25, 2023
I think that the UFC will try to wait it out for Jiri Prochazka’s fight, but that is a terrible idea. We don’t know if that’s possible. Jiri claims he believes he will be back in August, which would be fantastic but it’s more than six months away. Anything can happen during that time to set him back in his recovery. That’s Plan A.
Hill vs. Magomed ankalaev would be my choice if I could have the keys to the kingdom. It’d take place in late spring or early summer. That’s the two best guys in the division who don’t have a shoulder injury to deal with, and if gives Jiri plenty of time to make sure he’s fully healed and ready to return. Jiri is the victor. Jan Blachowicz vs Anthony Smith are battling it out, while Rakic takes on the victor for the next title eliminator.
Also, I’ve given Hill crap for some of the things he’s said, and that’s entirely deserved. But I will also give the man props for his response to Jiri, which was definitely funny.
The Ultimate Fighter
So with TUF returning, which coach pairing would you like to see and who do you realistically think it will be? my fav one would be izzy/pereira or OMalley/Chito and one other unrealistic one would be khamzat/colby.
— Anderson Gold (@frontkicked) January 26, 2023
Though this flies in the face of what I just wrote, if the UFC insists on doing TUF and insists on trying to make Jiri vs. Jamahal in August, I think the most obvious path forward would be Jiri and Jamahal as coaches. This theoretically gives the UFC the ability to create the brand of Hill and Prochazka and it overlaps well with the long delay.
But that is not the end of it. Conor McGregor will face Michael Chandler. That’s as close to a lock as these things get.
Thanks for reading and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about things at least somewhat related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck, because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew, and I will answer them! It doesn’t matter what topic they are. You can send them to me, and I will answer those I love the most. Let’s have fun.