Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) handpicked Jamahal Hill to battle Glover Teixeira for the vacant 205-pound title, thanks to a disappointing draw between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 282 last month in Las Vegas, but that meant canceling the previously scheduled matchup between Hill and Anthony Smith.
UFC’s 2023 PPV DEBUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) kicks off its New Year pay-per-view (PPV) campaign on Sat., Jan. 21, 2023, with a battle for the vacant Light Heavyweight crown between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Glover Teixeira, looking to stop the momentum of surging No. 7-seeded up-and-comer, Jamahal Hill. In the co-main event of UFC 283, which will take place inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the greatest rivalries in promotional history resumes as Flyweight kingpin, Deiveson Figueiredo, battles interim belt keeper, Brandon Moreno, for a fourth (and likely final) time.
Smith’s consolation prize was a trip to the UFC 283 pay-per-view (PPV) event, booked for tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 21, 2023) in Brazil, where he was scheduled to weigh in and serve as backup for the Hill-Teixeira title fight. Unfortunately, “Lionheart” missed weight by four pounds on his first attempt, tipping the scale at 209 — four pounds over the championship limit.
His response? “Chill y’all… lol.”
Smith won’t be needed since Teixeira and Hill both made weight but I can’t imagine the promotion will be calling on the former title challenger for any more backup roles in the immediate future. Podcast partner Michael Bisping claimed the first attempt was a “strategy” but if that’s the case, it appears to have backfired because Smith’s second (and final) attempt left him at 206.5 pounds.
Close, but no cigar.
“I’m going to fly to Brazil,” Smith told his ESPN co-analysts after UFC Vegas 66. “I’m going to weigh in at 205 pounds. I don’t suspect that these guys are gonna have problems, they’re both professionals, but if something does happen, I’ll be there to step in.”
Alexandre Pantoja, co-main event backup for the flyweight title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, was on championship weight at 125 pounds.
It probably won’t matter since the headlining act is on weight, but it’s important to note the backup role doesn’t end at the scale. It ends when Teixeira and Hill step foot inside the cage because fight night cancelations — while rare — do occur.
Smith, 34, is coming off a technical knockout loss to Ankalaev at UFC 277.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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