March 2, 2024

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Jamahal Hill looks ready for the big leagues. Hill capped the five-year anniversary of his professional mixed martial arts debut by knocking out Thiago Santos in a grueling affair. Hill stopped Santos with strikes in the 4th Round of their main event bout to close out UFC Fight Night at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday.

A relatively uneventful first round was an appetizer for what was to come. Hill led with forward pressure as Santos mixed strikes and takedown attempts. UFC Fight Night was full of exciting fights and finishes. That action carried into the second turn of the main event, as Hill urgently closed and bounced off Santos’ takedown attempts, opening the door for some wild action. Hill appeared to hurt Santos in a wild exchange and stopped him later with a stiff right hook. Santos then threw his full weight behind powerful, circular shots that partially connected. Hill generally remained technical as his opponent slowed down.

“It’s not a bar fight,” Santos’ trainer told his fighter between the first and second rounds, according to a translator on the UFC broadcast. “Dammit. What are you doing? This isn’t a bar fight.”

Santos listened to the feedback and his commitment to the fight paid off in Round 3. Hill found it increasingly difficult to reject his opponent’s advances. Santos wasn’t able to do much with the takedowns, but he added a significant wrinkle to the fight’s momentum. Round 4 opened the same way Round 2 ended with both men swinging big. Hill landed more often, but Santos snapped his foe’s head back with heavy punches. Hill hurt Santos and went in for the kill. Both guys wobbled wildly, but Santos collapsed under the pressure and Hill elbowed away until referee Herb Dean stepped in.

“You’ve got to let those experience things go,” Hill told UFC commentator Michael Bisping after the fight. “You all have never experienced anyone like me. I’ve seen a lot like you.”

Hill improved to 11-1, 1 NC professionally and put together a three-fight winning streak. Hill proposed a fight with former UFC lightweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Santos dropped to 22-11 and has lost five of its last six games. Santos’ last winning streak can be traced back to 2018-2019.

All 10 games Saturday night ended via stoppage. He is only the second card in modern UFC history to have a 100% finish rate. The other came back in November 2014, when a Fight Night event with Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping in the main event ended all 11 fights before the final bell.

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