UFC 283 fight card: Johnny Walker vs. Paul Craig, Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny among undercard bouts to watch
Brazilian fighters have home field advantage at UFC 283. Every fight scheduled for the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro features a Brazilian fighter — including former UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and reigning flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
While those two will get a lot of the attention this week when they take on Jamahal Hill and Brandon Moreno, respectively, the rest of the undercard has plenty of intriguing matchups for every fight fan. Former title challenger Gilbert Burns is back when he takes on Neil Magny. And former champion Jessica Andrade returns to where she claimed the 115-pound title when she takes on Lauren Murphy at flyweight, just to name a few.
The night is also expected to mark the end of a storied career when legendary former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua makes the walk to the Octagon against Ihor Potieria at light heavyweight. Rua, 41, is in his third decade of action competition but has lost his last two appearances. He’ll look to end on a high note against Poteieria, who lost his promotional debut by TKO last year.
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Take a look below at three fights worth checking out beyond the main event and co-main event.
Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny
This is a fight with a lot at stake for both fighters. Burns was formidable when challenging Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight championship and attempting to block Khamzat Chimaev’s rapid rise through the ranks even though he came up short in both instances. Burns is ranked No. 5 in the division and can keep his name in the mix by defeating Magny. The fight is as much a needed break from top-level opposition for Burns as it is a well-deserved step up for Magny. A UFC fighter dating back to 2013, Magny holds the all-time record for UFC welterweight wins at 20 after surpassing Georges St-Pierre with a third-round submission win over Daniel Rodriguez in November. It feels like Magny has had a ranking next to his name forever, but at 35 it’s time to make a big push to the title.
Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker
A world title shot probably isn’t in the cards for either fighter, but Craig vs. Walker should be fun for as long as it lasts. Their similarities are as vibrant as the stark contrasts of their styles. Craig (16-5, 13 submissions) is a submission wizard and Walker (19-7, 15 KOs) is a potent striker, but both employ a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword approach. Craig is the more consistent fighter, riding a six-fight undefeated streak before going the distance for the first time in his career in a losing effort against Volkan Oezdemir. Walker is 2-4 since losing his first UFC fight against Corey Anderson in 2019 but has generally fought higher-level opposition. Expect chaos.
Mauricio Rua vs. Ihor Potieria
Rua vs. Potieira has a lot going against it. It can be tough to sit through a Rua fight these days. The beloved PRIDE and UFC champion is very much on the last legs of his career. Potieria is unknown to the North American audience and isn’t likely to usurp much name value with a win over Rua. Still, Rua is a legend that deserves the attention and respect of fans. If this is truly his swan song, there is no more fitting send-off for “Shogun” than a fight in front of his countrymen.
Honorable mention: Terrance McKinney vs. Ismael Bonfim
Who wins UFC 283: Teixeira vs. Hill? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 283, all from the incomparable expert who’s up nearly $12,000 on MMA in the past four years, and find out.