UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs. Hill First Look, Betting Picks, Odds, and Predictions

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The UFC returns to Nevada for another talent-stacked fight card from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Top-ranked light heavyweight contenders Thiago Santos and Jamahal Hill will battle in the center of the octagon for next weekend’s main event.

Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at Santos and Hill, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis.

Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill

UFC Light Heavyweight Main Event Bout

Saturday, August 06, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at UFC Apex

Thiago Santos

  • Record: 22-10-0

A nine-year tenure as a UFC roster member positions Thiago “Marreta” Santos as one of the promotion's veteran gatekeepers. The Brazilian native is a household name. Although he’s notably reaching the latter stage of his professional fighting career, he’s still competing at the highest level, currently ranked as the No. 9 light heavyweight on the planet.

Santos battled for five years as a UFC middleweight, but his golden opportunity arrived when he moved up a weight class and challenged Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title. Critics argue to this day that Santos was one of the toughest challenges for the undefeated GOAT, and his respect as a top contender has been solidified ever since.

The Brazil native long excelled in the heavier weight classes behind a capoeira background that assisted him with an agile movement inside the cage. Most recognized for his muay thai offense, Santos boasts one of the most impressive knockout highlight reels despite slowing down in recent years.

Thiago Santos MMA Accomplishments

  • UFC Fight of the Night (Two times)
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Four times)
  • Most UFC fights in a calendar year (Five times)
  • Most knockout wins in UFC middleweight history (Eight times, tied with Silva and Hall)

Thiago Santos Best Available Odds: +225 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Jamahal Hill

  • Record: 10-1-0

Challenging the light heavyweight gatekeeper next weekend is a 205lb prospect in Jamahal Hill, who has stormed through the division and propelled his name into the top-10 rankings.

Chicago-born and raised, Hill first stepped into an MMA gym during his teenage years. However, he didn’t take his first professional MMA bout in 2017, aged 26 at the time. The lack of experience didn’t tarnish his career as he was defeating the likes of Dequan Townsend – who boasts 26 pro fights – in just his fifth pro bout.

Two years of professional experience and a mere 5-0 record were enough for Hill to earn his UFC contract from Dana White's Contender Series. An extraordinary level of athleticism is often present when he steps into the octagon behind a high aggressive output that’s seen him finish 4 of his 5 UFC victories.

With back-to-back round-one knockout stoppages over Jimmy Crute and Johnny Walker, Hill could be a handful of significant wins away from placing his name into the title picture, and he undoubtedly owns the skillset to accomplish this.

Jamahal Hill MMA Accomplishments

  • UFC Performance of the Night (Two times)
  • KOP Light Heavyweight Championship (One time)

Jamahal Hill Best Available Odds: -265 at BetOnline

UFC Fight Breakdown and Analysis

Santos Style and How Can He Defeat Hill

Age is unquestionably catching up with Thiago Santos, as he rides the worst downtrend of his professional career with 4 losses from his previous 5 contests. With that said, you cannot underestimate Santos's experience and expertise in the cage.

Santos is an offensively-minded fighter who regularly relies on his striking offense to get the job done. Between a vicious left hook in attack and counter-attack positions, the ability to switch stances at will, and a fight-ending level of power that’s delivered 11 knockout stoppages, Hill could be surprised if he believes the aging veteran will be a walk in the park.

In addition to his heavy hands, when switching stances, Santos delivers some heavy leg kicks from both sides. This could be a significant path to victory versus a fighter in Hill who presents a long frame.

Hill Fight Style and How Can He Defeat Santos

A 6 foot-4-inch frame is often a problem for many of Hill’s opponents, as he owns an advantage in dictating the range and popping his straight shots from the outside before pouncing on the inside to end his opponent’s night early.

I was surprised when Hill defeated Walker and Crute in his previous bouts, proving the doubters wrong by showing a fast progression at the highest level. Incredible striking skills behind a great set of boxing fundamentals have caused opponents of Hill to wilt under pressure.

With fierce aggression, a towering stature, a peak level of athleticism, notable takedown defense, and excellent head movement, it’s difficult to doubt the up-and-comer at this stage of his career.

Hill is hungry for success, while Santos must recognize a descending set of recent results that point towards a declining career. The new generation of light heavyweight competitors is taking over the division. Although Santos’S losses have been against elite competition, we could witness a passing of the torch next weekend.

Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill: Betting Pick and Odds

The available odds at the best sportsbooks and betting sites favor the recent success of Hill versus Santos’ veteran experience, and I agree with the sportsbooks’ stance.

A moneyline of -265 is a nerving price because we’re yet to witness Hill compete in the later rounds of a championship bout.

However, I’m struggling to ignore his stopping power and overall aggression when faced with a version of Thiago Santos who isn’t delivering the same output we once knew.

UFC Pick: Jamahal Hill ML (-265) at BetOnline

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Jamahal Hill ML (-265)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.