LAS VEGAS – Jamal Hill has declared himself a legitimate contender in the UFC’s lightweight division by finishing an impressive TKO over former title contender Thiago Santos.
The match served as the UFC’s main event Saturday on ESPN 40, which was broadcast on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN+ from the UFC Apex.
Taking a wide stance early in the fight, Hill kept his group early. Having landed a powerful kick in the legs, Santos went for removal in the first minute, drawing a smile from Hill, who began to push forward with more force on his feet. Santos turned to the right and tried to make a few big counters before choosing to shoot indoors again, although Hill defended well against the fence.
In the decisiveness, Hill’s knee landed on the cup, causing a short delay, and although both men capitalized on aggression early in the second half, they landed clean before the bell.
Hill pressed to start the second, snapping at the main leg and looking forward to working with a punch. Surprised again by the elimination, Santos briefly dragged the action to the ground, even though he couldn’t secure the first place. Hill alertly lunged back to his feet and eventually pulled away, landing a few sharp punches in the ensuing stampede.
After a short snatch, both men began playing on the feet, although Hill’s right end seemed to be more effective. Santos seemed to tire a bit as the tour went on, although Hill was forced to respect his opponent’s strength as he looked to attack hard. However, Hill clearly got the best exchanges for the remainder of the frame.
Santos got a quick takedown in the first seconds of a second, and was ruthless in the efforts he put in while Hill was constantly flailing and defending. Santos worked briefly in the back in one exchange, but Hill pushed him away and escaped the threat.
Santos continued to start grappling exchanges for the remainder of the round, keeping Hill on the defensive and limiting his chances of launching an attack.
Hill opened the fourth, seeming to be the freshest guy, chasing punches while Santos looked to fall back and strike back. Santos still had power, but he struggled to find the mark. In the end, Hill was able to land cleanly with a combination that crashed his opponent to the ground. Hill followed and refused to allow Santos time to recover, unleashing a barrage of punches and elbows that ended the fight at the 2:31 mark of the frame.
As a result, Hill (11–1 MMA, 5–1 UFC) now boasts a three-way winning streak built since losing alone in his career, and said he’s ready to challenge the best of the division, regardless of any apparent lack of experience he might have.
“You must let this experience go,” Hill He said after the fight. “You have never experienced anyone like me. I have seen many like you all.”
With the loss, Santos (22-11 MMA, 14-10 UFC) is now down twice in a row.
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Full UFC scores on ESPN 40 include:
Jamal Hill defeated. Thiago Santos via TKO (Punches, Elbows) – Round 4, 2:31
Jeff Neal defeated. Vicente Luc by KO (punches) – 3rd round, 2:01
Mohamed Osman def. Zac Pauga by Knockout (Punches) – Round 2, 0:36 – Finale of “The Ultimate Fighter 30”
Juliana Miller def. Brogan Walker via TKO (Punches, Elbows) – Round 3, 3:57 – “The Ultimate Fighter 30” finale
Sergey Spivak defeated. Augusto Sakai via TKO (Punches) – 2nd round, 3:42
Defeated Terrence McKinney. Eric Gonzalez by submission (naked rear throttle) – first round, 2:17
Michel Oleksiejczuk def. Sam Alvey via TKO (Punch) – Round 1, 1:56
Brian Patel def. Takashi Sato by KO (head kick) – Round 1, 0:44
Corey McKenna defeated. Miranda Granger via submission (Von Flue Choke) – Round 2, 1:03
Mayra Bueno Silva defeated. Stephanie Egger by submission (arm bar) – first round, 1:17
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