Ahead of every championship fight, UFC staff writer E. Spencer Kyte will sit down with some of the sharpest coaching minds in the sport to break down the action and provide UFC fans with insights into each championship pairing from the men that spend their days getting these elite athletes prepared to compete on the biggest stage in the sport.
For UFC 283, Kyte called upon Eliot Marshall, co-owner and head instructor at Easton Training Center in Denver, Colorado, and Xtreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick to provide their thoughts on four points heading into the light heavyweight championship main event between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill.
Best Trait of Each Fighter
Kyte: At a time in the sport where everyone is pretty solid everywhere, generally speaking, what is the one thing that each of these competitors do better than anyone else?
Main Event Preview | UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill
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Main Event Preview | UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill
Marshall: Glover’s is his durability; he’s just so f****** durable. We see him get hurt and be okay and recover. Jamahal Hill, we know what it is — it’s that youth and his power.
Nicksick: This is a pretty easy fight to call — it’s Glover’s grappling and Jamahal Hill’s power.
Path to Victory for Each Fighter
Kyte: Everyone would love a 10-second knockout or a quick submission, but that’s not often how these things go, especially not at the championship level. Instead, it’s usually the competitor that has crafted the better game plan and did the better job of executing things inside the Octagon that comes away with their hand raised and the gold around their waist.
So, how does either man get it done on Saturday night?
Nicksick: I think, for me, when you look at game plans or skill gaps, you don’t want to flip a coin if you’re Glover and try to stay on the feet too, too long, because that levels the playing field for Hill. And if you’re Hill, you want to do everything to keep this fight on the feet and not engage in the grappling; keep the fight where the percentages are in your favor.
Both guys are going to be right away trying to get to that position that favors them.
Marshall: We know what it is for both of them — Glover’s got to get takedowns. He doesn’t mind shooting them in the open, and he’ll put you on the cage and do that. Glover needs to make it a dirty, grimy fight — he gets in there, eats your shots, and he’s standing there for it.
And then look: Jamahal Hill? It’s landing that bomb, right? That’s where they’re going. He’s not going to touch-touch-pop, touch-touch-shot — you know what he’s doing. There is no secret to either one of them.
Kyte: If there were one thing that was going to significantly impact how this fight plays out — that swings it in one direction or the other — what would it be?
Marshall: At an old age, going through a war like Glover did with Jiri, that can take a real toll on somebody. That wasn’t one shot that could put him out — that was a war of a fight. Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald, neither one of them was ever the same again after that fight — still good, but they weren’t the same, so you don’t know what that Jiri fight did to Glover.
Nicksick: I would say Glover’s experience being in these positions before — in title fights and understanding what it takes; five rounds. I know Jamahal Hill has been scheduled for a main event before, but I think the magnitude is different.
I think it’s the mental preparation of being thrown in the spotlight (this quickly). I think Glover might have the edge there in terms of preparation and knowing how to deal with that pressure.
One Coaching Curiosity
Kyte: Coaches see the sport differently and look at the sport differently than anyone else, picking up on different things and paying attention to movements, habits, or intangible pieces that others might not notice, but that could have a significant impact on the action inside the Octagon.
Every matchup offers its own unique collection of elements that might pique a coach’s interest and get them paying a little closer attention to once the fight gets underway.
So what is that one thing in this matchup?
Nicksick: For Jamahal Hill, he’s a guy that carries power in both of his hands — we’ve seen that — and being in the big cage, he’s going to have to really utilize his footwork. He doesn’t want to be in place too long.
We call it “first and third” — I want to hit the guy first, half-beat, move my feet to avoid the counter, and then try to find the kill shots after that. I think all those things are going to be very important for Jamahal.
The other thing I think is going to be huge is framing off and not getting engaged in the underhook battle with a guy like Glover. Yes, it’s the defense for getting up and stuff like that, but it also keeps you attached. It’s important to not stay attached for too long, or even go Greco-style, T-Rex arms, keeping them inside on the body — do that and not stay attached.
For Glover, he’s going to have to try to draw out some of that power with his feints, and use that to get underneath him. I don’t think he needs to shoot a traditional double leg — if Jamahal is southpaw, he’s probably better off with a head-inside single combination — but chain wrestle.
I think that’s what we’re gonna see. If you look at the skill gaps, the biggest one is Glover over Jamahal in the grappling department. I want to see if he finds good ways to get inside with the feints.
Marshall: I want to see if Jamahal Hill is going to do something a little more strategic than chuck ’em, because that shouldn’t beat Glover; that should lose to Glover. It shouldn’t beat a lot of people, but it’s beaten them.
There is a difference between — who’s the highest ranked person Jamahal has fought? There is a difference between the top three and everybody else. Jamahal has never fought anybody for real-for real, you know?
UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill took place live from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 21, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!