Hill (10-1-0, 1NC), 31, is surging on the strength of two big wins in his last two fights. He can leapfrog into the top five of the division with a win over former title contender and current No. 6 Thiago Santos (22-10-0), 38.
What is more impressive perhaps is Hill’s mature mindset going into the fight.
Looking confident in front of reporters on Wednesday, Hill said he is preparing for the best Thiago Santos. He is in his opinion the best fighter to come from the Dana White Contender Series, adding former alums Sean O’Malley, Kevin Holland, and Alex Perez as the best from the show.
Hill is considered the favourite and will enjoy the height and reach advantages. Fortune tends to favour the bold so, Hill could be sitting pretty. There’s only one small problem.
A healthy Thiago Santos is a problem for anybody.
Since arguably besting Jon Jones in a split-decision loss UFC 239 in 2019, Santos has lost three of his last four fights, albeit to top competition and rising stars. He’s looked old and tentative in most of those fights. He’s been looking for the counterstrike instead of being the aggressive and hungry striker he was previously.
However, Santos said he has found motivation in this training camp after the birth of his daughter with fiancée Yana Kunitskaya. If that’s true, it should be the power of Hill vs. the technical striking of a rejuvenated Santos that earns Fight of the Night honours.
Hill is where Santos was four years ago. He’s on the path towards the title shot conversation and is a few wins away from securing it.
It’s up to Jamahal Hill to step up once again with another big performance at The Apex.
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