Hill wins LHW strap at UFC 283, is a small favorite vs Prochazka

Jamahal 'Sweet Dreams' Hill is the UFC's new light-heavyweight kingpin after beating Glover Teixeira by unanimous decision in the UFC 283 main event.

Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill (12-1-0-1 MMA, 7-1-0-1 UFC) became the new light heavyweight champion this past Saturday night with a unanimous-decision win over Glover Teixeira (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) in the UFC 283 headliner down in Rio. Hill cashed tickets for his betting backers as a favorite in the -125 to -140 range.

The 31-year-old Hill won his fourth straight fight and bagged his fourth bonus in as many scraps. He and Teixeira won an extra $50,000 for Fight of the Night honors.

Although former champion Jiri Prochazka hasn’t been cleared to resume full-contact training yet, he and his team have become much more optimistic in recent weeks that he can return much sooner than originally anticipated. The 30-year-old from the Czech Republic won his 13th consecutive bout to capture the 205-pound strap with a fifth-round submission win over Teixeira at UFC 275 in June of last year.

However, less than three weeks before Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was scheduled to face Teixeira in a rematch at UFC 282, the promotion announced that he had sustained a major shoulder injury that was going to require surgery.

With doctors advising Prochazka that he was likely looking at a rehab process of about 18 months, he made the classy move to vacate his belt with the promise that he’d get a title shot upon his return. But the surgery went so well that the former champ is now saying he thinks he’ll be ready to fight as soon as July or August.

That timing sounds about perfect for a Hill-Prochazka showdown. Hill needs some time to recover from his win over Teixeira in which both men sustained broken noses. Teixeira avoided major injuries, though, but the 43-year-old Brazilian legend left his gloves in the Octagon and announced his retirement after a gutty performance to cap off a storied career.

Before the recent losses to Prochazka and Hill, Teixeira went on one of the most unlikely title runs in UFC history. Starting in January of 2019, Glover won five straight fights with four finishes, including victories over former title challengers Santos (third-round submission) and Anthony Smith (fifth-round knockout), to earn a title shot vs. Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 of 2021.

Teixeira became the oldest first-time UFC champion to win a belt at the age of 42 and the second-oldest to ever capture UFC gold (behind only Randy Couture when he beat Tim Syliva to win the heavyweight strap at the age of 43) with a second-round submission victory over Blachowicz.

Following Hill’s win this past weekend, Prochazka posted a video to his Instagram account, sending his congratulations while also offering a stern warning to the new title holder.

The five-word message went like this: “Congratulations. I’m coming. I’m coming!!!”

Just hours after Saturday’s fight early Sunday morning, BetOnline opened Prochazka as a -145 favorite vs. Hill. But 12 minutes later, the offshore betting shops moved Hill to a -125 ‘chalk,’ with Prochazka as a +105 underdog.

Prochazka hasn’t tasted defeat since losing by first-round knockout to Muhammaed ‘King Mo’ Lawal under the Rizin banner on New Year’s Eve of 2015 more than seven years ago.

Hill’s lone career loss came at UFC 263 in the summer of 2021 when he was submitted in the opening frame by Paul Craig. He bounced back with three wins in a row by finish over Jimmy Crute, Johnny Walker and Thiago Santos before Saturday’s victory over Teixeira.

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