If there’s an old guard vs. new, passing the torch, old lion vs. young bucks fight, it’s the light heavyweight main event between Thiago Santos and Jamahal Hill at UFC Vegas 59.
Santos is the proverbial old lion, a dangerous veteran with knockout power, and at 38 he may just be out. With a 1-4 record against Jon Jones in the 2019 title fight, the Brazilian is no doubt in jeopardy.
By contrast, Hill, 31, was a relatively fresh face in his prime, having his toughest test yet at UFC Apex on Saturday.
On the night of the first nine-game winning streak in the Main Event,
Santos hit a hard low kick in the opening minute before chasing after a one-legged knockout, but it was too far. Both Santos and Hill would do some big swings before the Brazilian rams Hill against the fence, looking to take down. Hill would stay upright and punch him in the body. Santos responded with his own knee, but Hill then dropped to Santos. Towards the end of the game, Santos took a spin kick and swung again on Hill.
Hill kicked the second round with one kick, then another, and another. And then the fourth. The fifth sneak attack was high, but Santos stopped it. Santos then hit home with a body kick that landed hard. This was followed by a powerful, explosive knockout from Santos, although Hill climbed up immediately. In another fight, Santos kicked a swivel ball and the two began to trade. Santos was knocked down again, but without success; they would swap knees in a pinch. A left hand fell to Santos, but Hill pushed forward and hit his jab. Hill headed in, but Santos spun under it. Hill sprints forward with the hook. They were a little slower; Hill right hooked that time. Another one will appear in a few moments. They trade in buzzer.
Round three saw Santos make an early takedown. Not entirely surprising, as he slowed down by the end of the second round and arguably lost the stand-up fight. Hill completed the attempt, lying on his stomach and pressing Santos’ head before getting up. However, Santos made the next knockout attempt and when Hill stood up, Santos dragged him down again and mixed a few punches. Getting back on his feet and things got a little crazy again, the pair traded and Santos fired a spinning fist. Santos knocked the ball down again in the final minute, Hill hitting the body and knee with a top hook, but Santos made the final stroke late.
Hill shook Santos early in the fourth round, with Santos leaning against the fence. This led to a heated exchange; they returned to the center before Hull cut the cage again. Hill traps Santos and starts unloading! They trade; Santos goes down in the middle and Hill punches up when Santos is covering. Somehow, Santos survived and hit the fence, this time Hill piling with his elbow! Santos was done, referee Herb Dean finally made a decision – Jamahal Hill took the TKO victory and UFC Vegas 59 ended with a 100% completion rate.
Hill proved he’s in the light heavyweight division, for those who haven’t sold yet. It was the first time the card had finished 10-10 since UFC Fight Night 55 in 2014.
Official result: Jamahal Hill def. Thiago Santos by TKO, 4th round, 2:31