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UFC will not have a light heavyweight champion to close 2022. But the promotion is not wasting any time in trying to crown a titleholder.
Following a split draw in a vacant light heavyweight title fight Saturday night at UFC 282, former champion Glover Teixeira will face Jamahal Hill for the belt at UFC 283 on Jan. 21 in Brazil, UFC president Dana White revealed at the postfight news conference. Both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight but haven’t signed the contracts, which haven’t been sent out yet, White said.
Magomed Ankalaev and former champion Jan Blachowicz fought to a split draw in the UFC 282 main event, leaving the light heavyweight title vacant. Jiri Prochazka, the most recent champion, had to relinquish the title after suffering a severe shoulder injury before what was a scheduled UFC 282 title defense versus Teixeira. Prochazka is expected to be out for at least a year.
Now, Teixeira is back in play following a disappointing result Saturday between Ankalaev and Blachowicz.
White said he and his team were “bummed out” backstage in the green room after UFC 282 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But then UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell and matchmaker Mick Maynard came up with the idea to schedule Teixeira vs. Hill.
Some phone calls were made, and the deal is “done,” White said.
“Everybody started to cheer up a bit, and it got a little more fun in the green room,” he said.
Teixeira (33-8) dropped the title to Prochazka at UFC 275 in June in what was perhaps the best fight of 2022. The Brazilian-born fighter who lives and trains in Connecticut beat Blachowicz for the belt at UFC 267 in October 2021. Teixeira, 43, was the second-oldest fighter to ever hold a UFC title when he acquired the belt at age 42.
Hill (11-1, 1 NC) stopped Thiago Santos via fourth-round TKO in August in his most recent outing. The Chicago native is on a three-fight winning streak of all KO/TKOs. Hill, 31, has just one career loss, to Paul Craig at UFC 263 in June 2021.