UFC returns with the first numbered card of what is expected to be a bumper year for fight fans. This Saturday, the world’s premier MMA organisation returns to one of the fight capitals of the world, Rio de Janeiro for a card that features two blockbuster title fights with the vacant light heavyweight title on the line as well as the first ever quadrilogy bout for the flyweight title.
Light heavyweight crown on the line
It is sure to be an electric reception for the former champion, Brazil’s own Glover Teixeira as he faces one of the UFC’s most formidable knockout artists, Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill. Teixeira’s BJJ pedigree will be put to the test against a powerful striker in what is sure to be a thrilling bout for the light heavyweight crown.
Glover Teixeira’s MMA career has been defined by his resilience demonstrated by his feat of becoming the second oldest UFC champion in history. Teixeira has a record of 33-8 with 18 knockouts and 10 submissions. Teixeira is a 21-year veteran in MMA and has finished an impressive 18 out of his last 21 wins. Prior to his professional career, Teixeira worked on the farms in his native Sobrália, Brazil.
Jamahal Hill is the no.7 ranked light heavyweight with a professional record of 11-1 and sits on a three-fight win streak. Seven of his victories have come by emphatic knockout. Hill was inspired to pursue MMA after watching a legendary bout between Forrest Griffin and Anderson Silva. His nickname Sweet Dreams was given to him before his first amateur contest in which he secured a 42-second knockout.
The First Fourth in UFC History
In what has been one of the most closely contested rivalries in the UFC’s history, a fourth bout is necessary to decide who will be champion between Deiveson ‘Deus Da Guerra’ Figueiredo and Brandon ‘The Assassin Baby’ Moreno. Their first encounter was a draw, followed by a win for Moreno. Figueiredo then avenged his loss. This will be the decider as to who is the king of the flyweight division.
Deiveson Figueiredo has a record of 21-2-1 with nine knockouts, eight submissions and 11 first-round finishes. The 35-year-old comes from Soure, Brazil and has been a professional since 2012. His championship reign began with a submission victory over Joseph Benavidez before losing it to Moreno and soon regained it in their rematch. His inspiration for fighting is to provide a better life for his son with the goal of giving him the best education possible.
Brandon ‘The Assassin Baby’ Moreno has a record of 20-6-2 with four knockouts, 11 submissions and eight first-round finishes. The 29-year-old was introduced to the UFC in The Ultimate Fighter 24 on former flyweight champ Joseph Benavidez’s team. He then went on to become the first Mexican champion in UFC history. Before his career in the Octagon was full time, he earned a living making piñatas in his native Tijuana.
Women’s flyweight fight night
The women’s flyweight division will see Lauren ‘Lucky’ Murphy take on Brazil’s Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade with both athletes looking to make their way to a title shot against the long reigning champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Lauren Murphy has a record of 16-5 with eight knockouts, one submission and two first-round finishes. Murphy turned pro in 2010 and was introduced to UFC fans on The Ultimate Fighter 26. Murphy has faced the very best in the flyweight division such as Valentina Shevchenko, Miesha Tate and Katlyn Chookagian. Outside of the Octagon, Murphy has trained as a firefighter, nurse and worked at a homeless shelter.
Jessica Andrade has a record of 23-9 with nine knockouts, eight submissions and 11 first-round finishes. Her Muay Thai fighting style is also complemented by a black belt in BJJ and strong judo foundation making her a complete martial artist. Outside of MMA, Andrade is a keen footballer who has won trophies in futsal.
Thrilling ranked light heavyweight clash
There’s more light heavyweight action on the card as Scotland’s Paul Craig takes on Brazil native Johnny Walker who fights out of Dublin, Ireland. Both athletes are 10-year veterans in MMA and have impressive wins over some of the top ranked athletes in the light heavyweight division.
Scotland’s Paul Craig has a record of 16-5-1 with three knockouts, 13 submissions and 11 first-round finishes since turning professional in 2013, all of his wins have been finishes. Throughout his UFC career he has victories over Nikita Krylov, Magomed Ankalaev and Jamahal Hill. Outside of the Octagon, Craig has worked as a personal development teacher in high schools.
Johnny Walker has a record of 19-7 with 15 knockouts, two submissions and 16 first-round finishes. The Brazilian trains with Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh at SBG Dublin and holds an impressive 59% striking accuracy. Before turning professional in 2013, Walker worked as an engineer.