UFC 263: Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill Preview

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UFC 263
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 30: Jamahal Hill reacts after his knockout victory over Klidson Abreu in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

UFC 263 features a pair of rematches, both with UFC gold on the line. In the main event, we will see middleweight king Israel Adesanya take on Marvin Vettori for the second time, in the same arena, their first matchup took place. The co-main will feature a highly anticipated flyweight title rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. Not to mention Nate Diaz is making his long-awaited return against number three ranked welterweight, Leon Edwards in a five-round featured bout. 

However, don’t let these high-profile matchups hide the fact that the UFC 263 main card is getting started with an amazing clash of styles between two top fifteen light heavyweights. Paul Craig will square off against Jamahal Hill in a fight that is sure to deliver fireworks, no matter how short or long it lasts. Join us for our Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill preview as we take a look at how these fighters got to this position and how they can earn the victory this Saturday night!

Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill: Meet the Fighters

Paul “Bearjew” Craig

UFC 263
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 21: Paul Craig of Scotland celebrates his submission victory over Vinicius Moreira of Brazil in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event on September 21, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Hailing from Scotland and being a full-time school teacher, Paul Craig may be the most unique fighter on the UFC’s 205-pound roster. It turns out, Craig can teach some lessons inside of the cage as well. Coming into UFC 263 with a record of 14-4-1 (6-4-1 in UFC), all wins coming by way of finish, Paul is looking to get in and get out, leaving no doubt who the better man is.

In his first seven fights with the UFC, Craig held a below .500 record but has since turned his career around in a very convincing fashion. In fact, he has not tasted defeat in nearly two years, when he last fell to Alonzo Menifield via decision. Since then, Paul is on a four-fight unbeaten streak, with his most recent win coming in a rematch against former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Craig would leave no questions this go around, finishing the veteran via TKO.

Craig enters every contest looking to steamroll his opponents, but against a dangerous striker in Jamahal Hill, this will be no easy task. Should the Scottsman claim another victim this Saturday night, he very well may be on his way to the top ten of the coveted light heavyweight division. 

Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill

jamahal hill reacts after his knockout victory over klidson abreu in picture
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 30: In this handout image provided by UFC, Jamahal Hill reacts after his knockout victory over Klidson Abreu in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Jamahal Hill makes his return to the octagon at UFC 263. Holding a perfect professional record of 8-0, 1 NC (2-0, 1 NC in UFC) and earning the number fifteen ranking next to his name after his last outing, Hill looks to continue his momentum against Paul Craig. 

In Hill’s most recent bout, we saw him claim the biggest win of his career when he got a second-round TKO victory over perennial light heavyweight contender and former title challenger, Ovince St. Preux. Jamahal showed just how slick his striking was in this fight, outperforming OSP at all ranges before getting the finish. 

At just 30 years old, Hill is nearing his physical prime at the perfect time, as he looks to take out number fourteen Paul Craig. Stylistically, this could be a tough fight for Hill, and we may just see him tested more than any opponents have done prior. Should Jamahal come out of this one with another victory, it will be hard to deny how high his ceiling is, especially in a division full of fresh faces and matchups.

Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill: UFC 263 Fight Breakdown

This fight really has a striker vs. grappler feel to it. Paul Craig has finished twelve of his fourteen victories by way of submission. On the other side, Jamahal Hill has four KO/TKOs as a result of his long, rangy striking. It’s simple, if the fight goes to the ground, it will be in Craig’s wheelhouse. Should it stay on the feet, Hill may be able to take advantage of the grappler’s striking deficits.

Craig has shown he is not afraid to strike on the feet and looked his best in this realm during his last fight against Rua. However, he inevitably did get the TKO finish on the ground, along with nearly every single other win he holds. Paul may be the most dangerous submission specialist in this division and that we have seen in quite some time at light heavyweight, for that matter. Typically these bigger guys are known for their striking, which is why he is so unique in a sense that you never know what you’ll get when Paul Craig enters the octagon.

For Hill, we have not seen him get tested much, if at all, in the grappling department during his brief UFC career thus far. Now being paired up with Craig, it is almost inevitable that he will have to overcome some grappling pressure at some point during this fight. If he can answer the call and keep this fight from taking place on the ground, Jamahal will have done what not many have against the “Bearjew”. 

In terms of paths to victory, it seems quite clear. If you are Paul Craig, look to grapple and grapple heavy. Utilize your slick ground transitions and physical strength to set up the submission. For Jamahall Hill, keep the distance and engage at long striking ranges. If Hill picks his shots, he can be absolutely lethal against the weaker standup fighter in Craig.

When two opponents have strengths that are the other fighter’s weakness, it makes the bout that much more interesting. One thing is certain, Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill is a pay-per-view opener that has all the makings of a fight-of-the-night contender, and likely will result in a finish. No matter which man comes out on top!

Who do you think will come out on top in the Paul Craig vs Jamahal Hill matchup at UFC 263? Let us know in the comments below!


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Featured Image Credits to: Embed from Getty Images

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