- Thiago Santos faces Jamahal Hill Saturday night in a light heavyweight showdown
- MMA odds have Santos as the underdog at +240 and Hill the favorite at -300
MMA action is back inside the UFC Apex this weekend, where two light heavyweight contenders battle it out to boost their respective stocks in the UFC odds, as number six-ranked Thiago Santos (22-10) faces the number ten-ranked contender Jamahal Hill (10-1) in the main event of the card.
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Santos, the former title challenger, will be the UFC betting underdog against the much younger Hill, who also has the better record.
Thiago Santos Recent Fight Results
Thiago Santos began his UFC career fighting in the middleweight division and absorbed a defeat in his debut with a first-round guillotine choke from Cezar Ferreira in August 2013.
After that uneventful maiden bout under the UFC, Santos competed in 14 middleweight fights and accumulated ten wins against four losses.
He compiled impressive victories over Ronny Markes, Andy Enz, Steve Bosse, Elias Theodorou, Nate Marquardt, Jack Marshman, Gerald Meerschaert, Jack Hermansson, Anthony Smith and Kevin Holland.
The Brazilian knockout artist’s losses in the 185-pound division were courtesy of Uriah Hall, Gegard Mousasi, Eric Spicely and David Branch.
Despite his decent record and performances in the middleweight division, Santos failed to earn a title shot and finally decided to move up to the light heavyweight division in 2018.
There, he made statement victories over Eryk Sanders (third-round TKO in September 2018), Jimi Manuwa (second-round knockout in December 2018) and Jan Blachowicz (third-round TKO in February 2019).
These wins have rightfully earned a title shot against Jon Jones in July 2019, where a close split decision loss prevented him from realizing his title dreams.
After that heart-breaking championship setback, Santos received three losses in four fights, including his latest unanimous decision defeat from Magomed Ankalaev in March 2022.
Jamahal Hill Recent Fight Results
Jamahal Hill secured his spot on the UFC roster through Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2019, wherein he smashed Alexander Poppeck with a second-round TKO finish. Before his stint in the DWCS, Hill had a perfect 5-0 record and two stoppages.
The Michigan native picked up his first official UFC win when he scored a masterful unanimous decision win over Darko Stosic in January 2020.
Then, found himself in a no-contest bout with Klidson Abreu in May 2020. He quickly collected his second UFC win by stopping Ovince St. Preux with a second-round victory in December 2020.
Hill seemed to be prime as the hottest prospect in the 205-pound weight class, but Paul Craig delayed his full ascent to the top of the division by handing him his first professional loss in June 2021 via a first-round TKO finish. This loss also resulted in a dislocated arm for Hill after Craig cranked it up during an armbar submission attempt.
Fortunately, the 31-year-old banger didn’t require any surgery after that bout with Craig, and he returned to action in December 2021 and knocked out Jimmy Crute in just 48 seconds in the opening round.
Hill’s most recent triumph was his spectacular first-round knockout of Johnny Walker last February when he connected a perfectly-timed right-hand punch to Walker’s temple, which put him on skates and followed it up with another punch to put him to sleep.
Santos vs. Hill: Tale of the Tape and Fight Analysis
Jamahal Hill will be enjoying a two-inch height and three-inch reach advantage over Thiago Santos. Both of these athletes are known to be knockout specialists, with Santos having a 68% finishing rate while Hill has 60% of his own.
In terms of accuracy, the 31-year-old American lands 7.06 strikes per minute, which doubled his Brazilian counterpart with only 3.77.
“Sweet dreams” also has an edge in the significant strikes with 51% against “‘Marreta’s” 47%; however, Santos will hold the grappling upper hand because of his 0.54 takedown average per 15 minutes and 36% takedown accuracy.
Additionally, he has one submission victory. On the other hand, Hill hasn’t secured a takedown in his fighting career as he prefers exchanging on the feet with strikes.
The recent performances and fight results of these two light heavyweight contenders could determine the outcome of this upcoming fight. Thiago Santos lost two of his last three bouts to fighters with a similar fighting style to Jamahal Hill. He only won against Johnny Walker via unanimous decision. He appeared to be past his prime years when he knocked people out.
Meanwhile, Jamahal Hill is still enjoying the height of his powers as he has just entered the prime years of his fighting career. His two recent knockout victories over Jimmy Crute and Johnny Walker were testaments that he is here to stay in the division and potentially compete for a title soon.
If this match goes down as a striking match, it will probably end up in Hill’s favor because of his more accurate blows that might produce another highlight-reel finish.
Official prediction: Third-round knockout for Jamahal Hill.
See the full UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs. Hill fight card and odds here.