Hill guts out TKO win over Santos in back-and-forth UFC main event
Rising light heavyweight Jamahal Hill had to dig deep to come out on top in his second straight main event.
Hill defeated former title challenger Thiago Santos via TKO at the 2:31 mark of the fourth round in the main attraction of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
In the midst of a wild exchange, "Sweet Dreams" rocked Santos and then finished him off with a barrage of heavy elbows and punches on the ground. Referee Herb Dean gave Santos every opportunity to stay in the fight before eventually waving it off.
Hill's victory capped off an entertaining and historic Fight Night card. It was the first UFC event since 2014 - and only the second in the promotion's modern history - that featured at least 10 fights and all finishes, according to UFC research analyst Michael Carroll.
Though Santos' efforts in the main event weren't enough to pull off the upset, he proved to be one of Hill's most significant tests to date. Santos held the edge in experience; meanwhile, Hill is one of the most promising up-and-comers in the division. "Marreta" hung with him on the feet in the first two rounds. And then in the third frame, Santos landed several takedowns and tied Hill up in the clinch. Santos didn't do much damage, but the control time added up.
In the end, Hill overcame the adversity and prevailed victorious, proving to be the fresher fighter in the later rounds. This was Santos' first TKO loss in the 205-pound division.
Hill is now riding a four-fight winning streak and likely due for a top-five opponent after taking out No. 6 Santos. Hill was ranked No. 10 heading into the bout.
Santos has lost two straight and is 1-5 in his last six Octagon outings.