The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with a huge first pay-per-view event of the new year that will include multiple title fights. Moreover, the fight card is stacked with massive names, both legendary fighters and big prospects. We have selected the three most important fights beside the main event. Here are our predictions for UFC 283 Rio de Janeiro.
UFC 283 Rio de Janeiro Full Card Predictions
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker
Paul Craig Preview
Paul is a 35-year-old fighter from Scotland. He made his UFC debut in 2016 against Luis Enrique Da Silva, whom he defeated by submission in the 2nd round. In total, in the strongest league in the world, Paul had 13 fights: 8 won, 4 lost, and 1 fight ended in a draw.
The Scot approaches the fight against Ozdemir on a series of 4 early victories in a row. He last fought in March 2022. His opponent was Nikita Krylov. Paul won by choke in the 1st round.
Paul has a BJJ background. Once on the canvas, he is constantly looking for an opportunity for a submission. 14 of 16 victories he won by submissions. In the standing position, he does a lot of work, throwing a lot of punches and trying to inflict maximum damage on the opponent.
Craig lacks punching technique. His punches are too wide, which is why he often misses and gets on the counter. All 4 defeats of Craig are early. 3 of them were knockouts.
Johnny Walker Preview
Johnny is a 30-year-old fighter from Brazil. In 2018, he came to Dana White's Contender Series show, where he defeated Luis Enrique Da Silva by unanimous decision and signed with the UFC.
According to the hype, Johnny's start in the strongest league in the world can be roughly compared to how Khamzat Chimaev made his debut in the UFC. The Brazilian scored 3 early victories in 4 months.
But the train of hype Walker, who was considered one of the main rising stars of the UFC, predicted a title fight for him, and PR people tried to help him get it as quickly as possible, knocked down by Corey Andersen, who knocked out Johnny in 2 minutes.
After losing to Anderson, Walker had 6 more fights: 2 won, 4 lost.
As a basic Muay Thai specialist, Walker is primarily dangerous in the standing and clinch positions. Johnny reinforces the non-standard technique with which he tries to confuse the opponent with accurate and powerful blows. He connects his knees, legs, and elbows in time and has a good feel for the rhythm of the fight, which allows him to perform a spinning kick like a back fist, back elbow, or roundhouse kick at the most opportune moment.
Walker is ready for anything to win. For example, in a fight against Ryan Spann, with his back to the net, he punched illegal elbows into the back of the opponent's head, thanks to which he was able to turn the tide of the fight and win by knockout. If Dan Miragliota, the referee officiating that fight, hadn't been thinking about household chores at that moment, he could have stopped Walker from throwing illegal punches.
Johnny is bad at wrestling. Once on the ground, he tries to use his BJJ skills but makes stupid mistakes that will let an experienced wrestler take his neck to the guillotine.
Craig vs Walker Prediction
An interesting clash of styles. If Paul Craig succeeds in dragging Walker to the ground, he will quickly take an advantageous position and enter the submission attempt. Walker can take advantage of Craig's main weaknesses – a weak jaw and poor defense in the stance. If Paul enters open exchanges, Walker will catch him with a tight punch and knock him out.
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs Jailton Almeida
Shamil Abrudakhimov Preview
Shamil Abdurakhimov is a five-time champion of Russia in wushu-sanda. He has been performing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC) since 2015. Shamil Abrudakhimov has eight defeats in MMA with 20 fights won. The athlete from Makhachkala has lost the last three fights. His opponents were fighters from the top of the division rankings. Shamil lost by knockouts to Curtis Blades, Chris Daukaus, and Sergey Pavlovich.
The 41-year-old fighter from Russia was scheduled to face Almeida on September 11 at UFC 279 in Las Vegas but he was denied a US visa.
Jailton Almeida Preview
Jailton Almeida will have his fourth fight in the UFC. The 31-year-old fighter has won his previous three fights. The Brazilian defeated Danilo Marquez by knockout, Parker Porter (submission), and Anton Turkal (submission). Almeida has 17 wins and two losses in MMA. The Hispanic has a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Abdudakhimov vs Almeida Prediction
Analysts of bookmakers consider Almeida the undisputed favorite of the upcoming fight. The Brazilian surpasses the Russian in almost all anthropometric indicators. He is younger, physically stronger, and works better on the ground. Moreover, Almeida has always finished his rivals in every fight in his career. Everything goes to the fact that Almeida will not break the tradition. Abdurahimov is unlikely to be able to last all three rounds.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Deiveson Figueiredo Preview
Deiveson is a 35-year-old athlete from Brazil. He started his professional career in 2012. Prior to joining the UFC, Deiveson played in the regional Latin American leagues, where he scored an 11-0 record.
Figueiredo made his UFC debut in June 2017 against Marco Beltran, whom he defeated by technical knockout. Deiveson received his first loss in his career in a duel against Jussier Formiga. Figueiredo lost by unanimous decision in March 2019. Figueredo closed the loss to Formiga with a confident victory over Aleksandorm Pantoja in July 2019, and in October of the same year he strangled Tim Elliott in the 1st round.
In February 2020, a bout for the vacant flyweight title between Figueiredo and Benavidez was scheduled. Deiveson knocked out his opponent in the 2nd round, but did not receive the belt due to the fact that he failed the weigh-in. Revenge was scheduled for July of that year. Figueredo strangled his opponent in the 1st round and became the new flyweight champion.
Deiveson made his first title defense in November 2020. His opponent was Alex Perez. Figueiredo choked him in the 2nd round. Deiveson's last 3 fights in his career were against Brandon Moreno in December 2020 and June 2021 and early 2022.
Deiveson is a versatile fighter. He has a base in Muay Thai and BJJ, he is good at mixing standing and ground in the octagon. Figueiredo breaks through powerful and fast combinations and works on all levels. On the ground, he immediately looks for an opportunity to submit his opponent.
Deiveson uses all methods to win, even illegal ones. He is a supporter of a dirty game: he grabs gloves and clothes and inflicts illegal blows when the referee is distracted. This helps him win. For example, after punching a powerful blow to the groin of Brandon Moreno in the first fight, Figueredo slowed down the pace, inflicted damage on the enemy, and recovered while the Mexican came to his senses.
The Brazilian has big problems with cardio. He can work at a high pace for 1.5 rounds, after which he gets very tired. Therefore, he tries to finish the opponent as early as possible, because he risks losing on points.
Brandon Moreno Preview
Brandon is a 29-year-old fighter from Mexico. He started his professional career in 2011. Before moving to the UFC, Moreno spent most of his performances in the WFF promotion, where he became a champion in 2014.
In 2016, Moreno took part in the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite losing to Alexandre Pantoja there, Brandon ended up getting a contract with the UFC.
The debut of the Mexican in the strongest league in the world took place in October 2016 in a duel against Louis Smolka, whom he strangled in the 1st round. In December of that year, Moreno solidified his position in the league by defeating Ryan Benoist by a split decision. 2017 was a mixed year for Brandon. In April, he choked out Dustin Ortiz in the 2nd round, and in August he lost to Sergio Pettis by a unanimous decision.
After losing to Alexandre Pantoja in 2018, Moreno left the UFC. He spent the rest of 2018 competing in grappling and made his LFA debut in 2019. In the first fight in the new league, Brandon fought for the title and, having knocked out Mikel Perez, won it.
After winning the LFA title, Moreno returned to the UFC in September 2019.
Brandon is versatile. In the stand, he shows good boxing skills. He has an excellent sense of timing and good footwork. Due to this, Moreno works mainly on counterattacks, leaving the line of attack.
Brandon is most dangerous on the ground. He is good in positional wrestling and ground and pound. In the arsenal of the Mexican, there are dangerous painful techniques. I note Moreno's strong jaw. The fighter has never been knocked out.
Moreno does not always squeeze his opponents. Trying to distribute forces evenly throughout the fight, Brandon consciously gives up the initiative at the critical moment of the fight. When he fails to win according to the game plan, Moreno continues to follow it and does not look for new ways to win.
Figueiredo vs Moreno Prediction
I totally agree with the odds of the bookmakers. Brandon Moreno is making incredible progress in every fight while Deiveson Figueredo is on the decline. On the other hand, I don't expect Moreno to beat Daveson as easily as he did in the previous fight.
In the standing position, I am waiting for mutual exchanges, of which Moreno will eventually come out as the winner. We must not forget that Figueredo's gas tank is seriously limited and, having sifted through cardio, he will become easy prey for the contender. This bet will only fail if Figueredo walks dead into the octagon again. Then Brandon will finish it again easily.