Three years ago, Thiago Santos was challenging for the UFC light heavyweight championship, giving Jon Jones all he could handle in a fight that went the champ’s way by split decision. At the time, Jamahal Hill was just five fights into his pro career and had not yet reached the UFC.
On Saturday night, the onetime title challenging and the relative newcomer on a rise meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The fights are on ESPN and stream on ESPN+, with the 10 p.m. ET main card preceded by prelims at 7 p.m.
For Santos (22-10), the loss to Jones started a skid that has seen the 38-year-old Brazilian lose four of his last five fights. Nonetheless, Santos is No. 9 in the ESPN light heavyweight rankings.
Hill (10-1, 1 NC) has not yet cracked the ESPN rankings, but he’s on his way. The 31-year-old from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has lost just one of his six fights since joining the promotion in 2020.
Saturday’s fight card also features the two finals in Season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter: Zac Pauga vs. Mohammed Usman at heavyweight and Brogan Walker-Sanchez vs. Juliana Miller at women’s flyweight.
How to watch the fights
Watch all of the fights on ESPN: WatchESPN | TV schedule
Stream all of the fights on ESPN+: Download the ESPN App
Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access.
Don’t have ESPN+? Get it here.
There’s also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
Saturday’s UFC fight card
ESPN/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Light heavyweight: Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill
Welterweight: Vicente Luque vs. Geoff Neal
Heavyweight: Zac Pauga vs. Mohammed Usman
Women’s flyweight: Brogan Walker vs. Juliana Miller
Heavyweight: Augusto Sakai vs. Serghei Spivac
Women’s flyweight: Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira
ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Middleweight: Sam Alvey vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Lightweight: Terrance McKinney vs. Erick Gonzalez
Welterweight: Takashi Sato vs. Bryan Battle
Welterweight: Jason Witt vs. Josh Quinlan
Strawweight: Miranda Granger vs. Cory McKenna
Women’s bantamweight: Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Stephanie Egger
Reed Kuhn’s betting tip
“Hill has range, accuracy and finishing ability. However, Santos has faced similar fighters. With his raw power, and his experience against elite talent, he will have a chance to get a win here. Even in losses, Santos competed well against the division’s best. On the feet, it will be all about Santos’ ability to counterstrike. The wild card will be the ground game.”
For Kuhn’s suggested bet on the main event and his advice on other fights on Saturday’s card, check out the ESPN+ expert picks and best bets article (link below). It also features analysis by SikJitsu MMA coach Rick Little and ESPN’s other betting expert, Ian Parker.
UFC Fight Night: Expert picks and best bets for Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill
UFC contender or pretender: Can Jamahal Hill be a champion?
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