The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, August 6 with a pivotal light heavyweight bout headlining the card as Jamahal Hill takes on Thiago Santos.
With the top of the light heavyweight division murky, as it’s uncertain who Jiri Prochazka will face in his first title defense, Hill has a chance to prove he could be next.
Hill, 31 years old, is currently ranked 10th at light heavyweight, is set for his second straight main event against Santos, who although has struggled as of late, is still a tough out for anyone.
What can Santos bring to the table?
Santos is ranked sixth at light heavyweight and coming off a five-round decision loss to Magomed Ankalaev while before that beat Johnny Walker by decision to snap a three-fight losing streak when he lost to Jon Jones for the belt, Glover Teixeira, and Aleksandar Rakic. Only Teixeira has been able to finish him who went on to fight and win the belt while the Brazilian also has stoppage wins over Jan Blachowicz, Anthony Smith, and Eryk Anders in his UFC career.
With Santos being pretty durable, Jamahal Hill has a chance to make a statement on Saturday. The rising contender has a ton of KO power as he has KO’d Walker, Jimmy Crute, and Ovince Saint Preux and has done it all early, showing his insane power.
If Hill can KO Santos – who has only ever been knocked out three times in his career, it would be a statement-making performance. Jamahal Hill would be on a three-fight winning streak and would likely enter the top-five while he and Prochazka have also taken talked about one another in the past which would only add to the excitement of the fight.
“I see openings. Everybody’s always getting better, nobody’s perfect, but I see openings, and I see things that I do that I’m able to capitalize on,” Jamahal Hill said to MMAJunkie. “I just want to get in there and see what it is. I think he’s a really good fight and a really good test, and that’s just something that I really, really want… I feel like I’ve got to be somewhere right up there in that mix. It’s time to get the new wave and the new era in there, and I feel like I’m the leader of that.”
Can Jamahal Hill get it done?
There is no question that Jamahal Hill is one of the next wave of light heavyweight contenders that will likely fight for the belt. But, this win is a big win for his career as if Prochazka and Teixeira rematch as Prochazka wants, that leaves Jamahal Hill, Magomed Ankalaev – who’s coming off a win over Anthony Smith at UFC 277 – and Jan Blachowicz, who beat Aleksandar Rakic as the next fighters in line for a title shot.
However, Ankalaev and Blachowicz have both said they will wait which Dana White hates, while Jamahal Hill is more than open to being active so he could be thrown in a title eliminator fight. With that, Jamahal Hill’s chance to prove he is as good as he says he really comes into play on Saturday night in the main event of the Fight Night card against the perennial contender in Santos.