Jamahal Hill made another big move up the light heavyweight rankings on Saturday night, stopping Thiago Santos in his longest UFC appearance thus far.
Hill’s victory headlined a UFC “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on Saturday night.
Hill earned his finish against Santos in the fourth round of their bout.
The fourth round was uncharacteristic to earlier rounds in the fight, suddenly turning the fight into a striking shootout. Santos dropped to the ground after enduring a series of punches on the feet from Hill during this exchange. On the ground, Hill landed a series of ground and pound shots to a shelled-up Santos until the fight was finally stopped by referee Herb Dean.
The fight was much less of a brawl in the previous rounds. The light heavyweights would engage in stand-up exchanges, but a large portion of the battle also saw Santos control the fight from clinch positions.
Saturday marked the first time that Hill went longer than three rounds in a UFC appearance. His previous fight was also a main event but saw him earn a quick, first-round victory over Johnny Walker.
With the win on Saturday, Walker is now expected to jump numerous places in the light heavyweight division. Santos was ranked a few spots above him this week due to many high-profile fights in the division.
Santos has struggled in recent years, having now lost five of his last six bouts.
Hill sounded ready to face anyone after scoring a win.
“Y’all ain’t ever experienced nobody like me. I’ve seen plenty like y’all though,” he said.
Neal Stops Tough Luque Late
Geoff Neal picked up a big win in Saturday’s co-main event, scoring a third-round finish victory against Vicente Luque.
Neal dropped Luque late with a left cross punch. The fight ended shortly after in a ground and pound position.
Luque showed his toughness earlier in the fight, struggling on the feet but remaining in the fight. He endured a few knockdowns in the first round and showed visible damage on his face due to these exchanges.
Neal has now won two consecutive bouts at welterweight. He snapped a losing streak in his prior bout, defeating Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision in late 2021.
After the fight, Neal attempted to set up another big matchup.
“I’ve been looking at Gilbert Burns. I want him next,” he said in his post-fight interview.
Luque has now dropped two straight fights. His previous bout saw him go five rounds against Belal Muhammad, losing a unanimous decision in the end.
Usman Earns Knockout To Get Crowned Heavyweight ‘The Ultimate Fighter’
Mohammed Usman won “The Ultimate Fighter’s” heavyweight bracket with a big knockout win on Saturday night, handing Zac Pauga his first pro loss in the process.
Usman floored Pauga early in the second round with a left hook. He then landed a pair of hammerfist punches before the referee stepped in to end the fight.
Usman, a PFL and Titan FC veteran, now has a record of eight wins and two losses.
He moved through the bracket earlier this year with two decision wins, defeating Mitchell Sipe and Eduardo Perez.
Pauga had a flawless pro record of five wins before entering this year’s season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Earlier in the season, he beat Nyle Bartling on scorecards and scored a finish over Jordan Heiderman.
Miller Finishes Walker Late To Win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’
Juliana Miller closed out a dominant performance against Brogan Walker late to win “The Ultimate Fighter” at flyweight.
Miller’s ground skills were on display throughout the fight, taking Walker down in every round and spending long amounts of time in dominant positions.
Miller closed out the fight from full mount, unloading with punches and elbows to Walker’s head. After Walker failed to explode out of the position numerous times, the fight was stopped and Miller was awarded the win.
Miller’s pro record is now three wins and one loss. She avenged that sole defeat earlier in this season of “TUF,” beating Claire Guthrie in the quarter-finals. She also later prevailed over Kaytlin Neil in the semi-finals.
“I level up exponentially every time I step in this cage,” Miller said in her post-fight interview.
Walker, an Invicta FC veteran, made it to the grand finals after defeating Hannah Guy and Laura Gallardo earlier this year.
Spivac Hands Sakai Fourth Consecutive Loss
Augusto Sakai wasn’t able to end his losing streak this weekend, suffering a second-round finish loss to Serghei Spivac.
The heavyweight bout came to an end due to a long string of strikes landed by Spivac on the ground.
Spivac kept Sakai in the same position for nearly all of the fight, getting him up against the cage and landing punches. The referee eventually saw this long streak of punches as justification to end the fight, stepping in during the second frame.
Sakai is now on a four-fight run of losses. Previous defeats include main event bouts against Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruick.
Spivac has now scored two consecutive wins as a pro. His previous fight was an even quicker outing, stopping Greg Hardy within a round in March.
McKinney Returns From Loss With Early Submission
Terrance McKinney bounced back from his sole UFC defeat in the opening fight of the main card, submitting Erick Gonzalez early with a rear naked choke.
McKinney mounted the back of Gonzalez to attempt the submission in the first round. After getting his submission under the chin of Gonzalez, a tap came and the fight was brought to an end.
McKinney’s striking was on display earlier in the bout as well, aggressively putting together combinations of shots that connected. However, Gonzalez was able to answer back at times with his own clean shots.
McKinney has now scored three wins through four UFC appearances, with all of those fights ending within a round each. His previous bout was a short-notice loss against veteran Drew Dober.
After his fight, McKinney offered to fight fellow rising talent Paddy Pimblett.
Gonzalez is now winless through two UFC appearances. His debut came in October 2021, when Jim Miller stopped him in the second round with strikes.
The Rest of the Card
Michal Oleksiejczuk scored a quick finish win in the final prelim, stopping Sam Alvey in the second minute with strikes. Alvey has now gone winless in his last nine fights and has wrapped up the final fight on his UFC contract.
Bryan Battle won his welterweight debut with an explosive victory, shutting down Takashi Sato within a minute with a head kick. After the fight, he called out Ian Garry and Bryan Barberena.
Cory McKenna scored her first UFC finish win on Saturday night, catching Miranda Granger in the second round with the rare von flue choke. McKenna has now scored two wins since joining the UFC roster in 2020.
The card kicked off with a quick submission win from Mayra Bueno Silva against Stephanie Egger. There was confusion after the fight, as the referee wasn’t sure whether a tap came from an armbar. After consulting with judges, the referee came to the conclusion that Egger did tap to a submission.
Saturday’s event lost two bouts in the hours leading up to the card. On Friday, a bout between Josh Quinlan and Jason Witt was removed from the card. And on Saturday afternoon, flyweights Priscila Cachoeira and Ariane Lipski were also taken off the card. Both fights are now expected to take place at the promotion’s August 13th show.
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)
Bout 10: Jamahal Hill def. Thiago Santos via TKO, Strikes (RD 4, 2:31)
Bout 9: Geoff Neal def. Vicente Luque via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 2:01)
Bout 8: Mohammed Usman def. Zac Pauga via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:36) (The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweight Grand Final)
Bout 7: Juliana Miller def. Brogan Walker via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 3:57) (The Ultimate Fighter Flyweight Grand Final)
Bout 6: Serghei Spivac def. Augusto Sakai via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:42)
Bout 5: Terrance McKinney def. Erick Gonzalez via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 2:17)
Preliminary Card (7:30PM EDT / 4:30PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)
Bout 4: Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Sam Alvey via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:56)
Bout 3: Bryan Battle def. Takashi Sato via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:44)
Bout 2: Cory McKenna def. Miranda Granger via Submission, Von Flue (RD 2, 1:03)
Bout 1: Mayra Bueno Silva def. Stephanie Egger via Submission, Armbar (RD 1, 1:17)