Ufc

UFC Fight Night Preview: Thiago Santos & Jamahal Hill Headline UFC Apex Return

Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal co-feature as the main event in Vegas
06:55, 06 Aug 2022

Two titans of the light heavyweight division meet on Saturday night, as number ten ranked Jamahal Hill meets number six Thiago Santos, who aims to build momentum after a turbulent few years in the Octagon.

Also featured on the card are Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal, two fantastic welterweights who are sure to put on a show at the end of the night. We’ll tell you all you need to know about Saturday’s card to get you in the know.

Where: UFC Apex, Nevada, United States

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When: Prelims begin at 12am BST, with the main card kicking off at 3am BST.

How To Watch: Live on UFC Fight Pass from 12am BST, while BT Sport coverage begins at 1am.

Santos vs Hill:

Thiago Santos is a name that will echo long after he retires from the sport of MMA. A green rope in Brazilian martial art Capoeira and a double black belt in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Santos was part of the UFC’s second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, being the last pick in the draft and ended up on Fabricio Werdum’s side as he crashed out in the quarter-finals. 

Two losses in his first three fights was a slow start for Santos, but impressive wins over Steve Bosse and Nate Marquardt in a run of four wins in five fights got him back on track. A move to light heavyweight in 2018 saw him claim wins over Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, and saw him fight one of the greatest of all time, Jon Jones. 

He became the first fighter in MMA to win a judge’s scorecard over Jones, despite a torn left ACL, PCL, MCL, meniscus and a cracked tibia. More recently, Santos lost out to Aleksandar Rakic and Magomed Ankalaev in the build-up to his latest fight and battles for his future in the top 15 rankings of the light heavyweight division. 

Jamahal Hill is the challenger, a fierce competitor who made his way into the UFC by defeating Alexander Poppeck in Dana White’s Contender Series. So far in his career since joining the organisation, he’s only lost once in the cage to Scottish ground expert Paul Craig, when ‘Bearjew’ snapped his arm at the elbow, which looked a lot worse than it turned out to be. 

Hill’s a talented fighter and more than a capable practitioner on the ground and on the feet. He’ll have to use his defensive movement well to avoid the power of Santos. A mega knockout of Johnny Walker was a statement performance and he will no doubt impress once again on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised to see an early stoppage in this fight. 

Luque vs Neal:

Vicente Luque is one hell of a fighter. Aged just 30, he's seemingly being around the UFC scene for years. The Brazilian is looking to get back to the form he showed in his four-fight win streak before Belal Muhammad stopped it last time out. A 92% finish rate is more than impressive and another on his record would not only increase that to the highest ever by a UFC fighter, but he’ll match Matt Brown’s record of 14 finishes in the welterweight division, which is currently the highest record of any fighter in any division, bar Jim Miller in the lightweights (also 14).

It won’t be an easy night in the office for Luque, facing DWCS graduate Geoff Neal, an incredibly tough fighter to get out of the cage and has never lost a fight within the first two rounds. Defeating Santiago Ponzinibbio via decision back in December, Neal is really trying to put together some consistency that he had back when he started his UFC career, but this will be his toughest test to date. 

It would be difficult to look past Luque on this one, but the longer the fight goes, statistically, Geoff Neal would have a greater chance of victory. Expect a performance bonus by the end of this one. 

Other Fights To Watch:

Looking at the card, British fans will immediately be drawn to young Welsh fighter Cory McKenna. McKenna is looking to bounce back from her UFC London loss to Elise Reed against Miranda Granger, who was defeated in her last two fights.

We finally get to see former KSW champion Ariane Lipski face Priscila Cachoeira after it was cancelled from a UFC Fight Night back in 2019. The Ultimate Fighter finals conclude too, with Zac Pauga and Mohammed Usman representing the heavyweights, and Brogan Walker-Sanchez facing Juliana Miller for the women’s flyweight contenders. The winners of those two fights will be rewarded with a professional contract for the UFC. 

On the prelims, veteran Sam Alvey faces Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk in the featured bout, following the phenomenally named Bryan Battle and Takashi Sato going at it in the welterweight division. 

Full Card:

Thiago Santos vs Jamahal Hill (Light Heavyweight)

Vicente Luque vs Geoff Neal (Welterweight)

Zac Pauga vs Mohammed Usman (Heavyweight)

Brogan Walker-Sanchez vs Juliana Miller (W Flyweight)

Augusto Sakai vs Sergey Spivak (Heavyweight)

Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira (W Flyweight)

 

Sam Alvey vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (Middleweight)

Takashi Sato vs Bryan Battle (Welterweight)

Terrance McKinney vs Erick Gonzalez (Lightweight)

Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan (Welterweight)

Miranda Granger vs Cory McKenna (W Strawweight)

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Stephanie Egger (W Bantamweight)

Betfred's Latest UFC Vegas 59 Odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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