• Rick

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill

Updated: Aug 6

Last week's PPV card finally delivered after multiple disappointing ones, but it also delivered our first losing card (-1.23u) in 7 cards. Sadly, Moreno couldn't wait 34 more seconds to finish Kai Kara-France and Nunes somehow couldn't secure the finish. Bad beats, much like lucky ones, are all part of the game and what gives me confidence is that both of those fights were capped correctly. That makes 2 losing cards over 11, and I'm hoping to get back on track and start a new streak. Thank you for coming back to check out another UFC preview, lets get started!

Stephanie Egger vs Mayra Bueno Silva (Even)

Stephanie Egger looked lost in her UFC debut against Tracy Cortes in a unanimous decision loss, but has since looked phenomenal over her last two fights finishing both. First a ground-and-pound finish against Shanna Young, then an armbar against Jessica Rose-Clark that she transitioned to beautifully. Silva is a traditional Muoy Thai striker with lightning in her hands and if she can keep the fight at range she should dominate this matchup. If Egger is able to get this fight to the clinch I’m confident she’ll be able to secure a takedown by utilizing her judo, as Silva has struggled in the past with wrestle-grapplers. If Egger gets it to the mat, I doubt we get back to the feet. Both of these fighters have distinct advantages in different areas, and I’ll go with the fighter who can dictate where the fight is.

Pick: Egger -120 (1u)


Cory McKenna vs Miranda Granger (+175)

From Women’s bantamweight to strawweight, we have a fight that I’d recommend picking your dinner up during. Miranda Granger is coming back from a near 2-year layoff where she had a child and it’s not like she was good before. 1-2 in the UFC with back to back losses to Amanda Lemos (happens) and Ashley Yoder (oof) where she was 10-8’d in one round, she’s looked less than impressive in the octagon and I’m not sure why she’s back. Her calling card is her Jiu Jitsu which seemed great prior to the UFC but hasn’t found any success with it during her tenure against higher competition.

McKenna is coming off a flukey split decision loss that should have been unanimous, but she’s the much better fighter and deserving of the high price. She’s relentless with her takedowns and has proven to have success with them against much better fighters than Granger. She’s not a good striker but she’s shown durability over her last two fights. With good cardio and two fighters that likely won’t finish each other, we should have a boring fight that goes the distance. Give me McKenna to pick up rounds with her dominant wrestling and take this fight to a unanimous decision victory.

Pick: McKenna by Decision -145 (1u)

Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan (-220)

Postponed to Next Week

Hopefully by this fight you’ve come back and settled in with your food because we should have a barn burner at welterweight. Quinlan is a Dana White Contender Series graduate with great experience from LFA on his way in and he’s proven a lot in his 5 finish victories because some have gone deep. His best traits are his boxing and speed and against a guy like Jason Witt whose 3 UFC losses are by KO there’s an obvious path to victory for the newcomer. It’s never that simple though, as Witt recently secured a victory over Bryan Barberena (who just won in back to back fight of the night level performances) and his calling card is imposing wrestling. He has decent power in his hands and can mix his wrestling in well, but he struggles to defend himself when going for takedowns. If he can get this fight to the mat and impose his style on this fight I think Witt has a decent chance, and this line is far too steep for a guy who has been in the ring with better fighters than Quinlan.

Pick: Witt +180 (.5u)

Takashi Sato vs Bryan Battle (-275)

Takashi Sato is one of the better strikers in the UFC but the Japanese boxer has no takedown defense and his fight a while ago against Belal Muhammed exposed that. Since then Sato has been a completely different fighter as he's more tentative on the feet in fear of getting taken down. It’s shown in a 1-3 run with his lone win being against Jason Witt who took the fight on 1 day’s notice. Bryan Battle makes his welterweight debut and is one of the few fighters to ever fight in 4 different weight classes - yes he’s fought at heavyweight. He’s never made 170 before and because of that there are too many question marks for me to back him Saturday because that could affect not only his cardio but his chin as well. I think Sato’s takedown defense is a massive red flag that could get him held down and submitted, but his striking against a potentially drained Battle also gives me some confidence he could win. I don’t think this fight goes to the cards for both reasons and I’ll sprinkle on Sato to land that right hook to shut the lights out for Battle and send him back up a weight class.

Pick: Fight not to go the distance +105 (1u) & Sato by KO/TKO +400 (.25u)

Esther Lin - MMAFighting

Terrance McKinney vs Erick Gonzalez (+575)

This fight doesn’t need much explanation. McKinney nearly knocked Dober out multiple times but the maniac came back and dropped McKinney to give him his first loss in the UFC. He’s levels above Gonzalez and the UFC knows it, giving him the preverbial layup. Both of these fighters will stand in the pocket and throw but the accuracy and explosiveness from McKinney will be the difference. There’s a world where McKinney takes Gonzalez down and submits him but I think he wants to put a stamp on this performance and show Dana why he deserves Paddy the Baddy and the publicity that brings next. I think he wants an emphatic knockout and I’ll bet that he gets it.

Pick: McKinney by KO/TKO +125 (1u)

Louis Grasse - Getty images

Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Sam Alvey (+450)

There is absolutely, positively no reason for Sam Alvey to still have a contract in the UFC. He’s lost a whopping 7 fights in a row (with a draw sprinkled in) against mid-level competition and is getting rocked and dominated lately. At one point Alvey had great knockout power in his hands but he has regressed massively with age and damage accumulation. Oleksiejczuk has had an up-and-down career losing to anybody near the rankings but beating everyone you'd expect him to. Oleksiejczuk’s weaknesses are not strengths of Alvey’s so don’t expect much of a contest. Michal should win easily through his heavy hands, keeping Alvey on the back foot and making him eventually serparating him from consciousness.

Pick: Oleksiejczuk ITD -125 (1u)

Zuffa LLC

Ariane Lipski vs Priscilla Cachoeira (+147)

Fight Postponed to 8/13 due to Lipski not making weight and falling ill

Two fighters with losses to Meatball Molly early in their career, Lipski and Cachoeira meet in an effort to ascend towards the top-15. Cachoeira is known for the pressure she puts on opponents, implemented through her boxing and power. She likes to mix in offensive takedowns but this fight will likely be on the feet for all 15 minutes. Lipski looked great against Bohm in her last fight, but as we saw again last week Bohm is horrible. Lipski utilizes an adept muay thai striking acumen, weaponizing kicks well and providing a more consistent approach. If she can keep her range in this fight she’ll win, but if Priscilla gets in boxing range she’s in trouble. I like the forward pressure, power, and team change from Cachoeira so I’ll go with the dog in this one.

Also, is it me or does Cachoeira look like female Jake Gyllenhall?

Pick: Cachoeira +147 (1u)

Augusto Sakai vs Sergey Spivak (-250)

It wasn’t long ago that Sakai was knocked out by Tai Tuivasa in a fight that determined who would ascend to the top-10 and fight the top tier heavyweights. The narrative has changed now as Sakai has lost his last 3 and is in desperate need of a win. Sakai throws some heavy leg kicks but doesn’t disguise them well at all. He does good work in the clinch with short strikes and knees but knowing the weight class it’s rare you get there and dangerous to enter that range. Luckily Spivak isn't a threat on the feet and Sakai should have his way while the fight is there.

Sergey Spivak hasn’t had many good wins throughout his career aside from a much younger Tai Tuivasa and there’s no more clear example of that than his last win coming to Greg Hardy. He was UFC’s puppet before that matchup, getting thrown to the dogs in a loss against Tom Aspinall after taking out Oleinik and Vanderaa beforehand. Spivak is a savvy wrestler, working good takedowns with various submissions to boot. Where he lacks is his striking and against a more versatile striker in Sakai there are concerns. I think the line here is an overadjustment to Sakai losing to phenomenal fighters and he provides a massive upset against the grappling-heavy Spivak.

Pick: Sakai +205 (1u)

Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Miller vs Walker (+105) & Pauga vs Usman (+200)

I will not be capping either of these fights. These are The Ultimate Fighter Finales and honestly I don't think any of these fighters are UFC caliber. There's limited tape but what I did watch was a waste of time. I'll probably sprinkle on these fights personally but my best advice is to crack open a beer and hope for fireworks. Do not bet Usman. Don't do it.

Vicente Luque vs Geoff Neal (+155)

We have two dangerous, dangerous men in the octagon for our Co-Main event. Vicente Luque is a killer with 20 of his 22 wins by finish, earning 4 performance of the night bonuses in the UFC. He can end you on the feet (11 KOs) with forward pressure and a great gas tank that will push you back the entire fight. Phenomenal leg kicks and boxing are how he gets it done and he’s an opportunistic submission artist in his own right (9 wins by Sub). Luque has been in the octagon with stars like Belal Muhammed, Michael Chiesa, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, and others and an important factor is that Neal doesn't offer anything different to those opponents.

With that said, Geoff Neal is a great boxer who can work out of both stances, mixing in speedy leg kicks and utilizing them well in combinations. He has a solid gas tank himself even though it’s levels below Luque’s, and he has above average balance and takedown defense if needed. Neal can struggle at times to cut the cage off and is typically good for a big outburst of energy once a fight before reverting to a consistent but non-threatening style for the rest of it.

Luque's numerous fights against the top-15 in the welterweight division have proven him to be among the best. The same cannot be said for Neal who doesn’t have the well-rounded arsenal nor the one dominating aspect of his game to take himself there. Expect Luque to keep the pressure on Neal in this fight for as long as it lasts and either knock him out cold or wobble him and find the neck. If he doesn't secure the finish the accumulation of damage and pressure will surely get him a decision. I’ve got Luque in this fight with good confidence.

Pick: Luque -188 (2u)

Stephen Sylvanie - USA TODAY Sports

Thiago Santos vs Jamahal Hill (-300)

Two fighters trending in polar opposite directions matchup in a massive Light Heavyweight clash to headline the card. Santos has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but he’s faced the creme de la creme in the division with the losses coming to Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, Aleksandar Rakic, and Magomed Ankalaev. The lone victory came in a decision victory against Johnny Walker, the same guy Jamahal Hill hilariously knocked out where Walker's hands went above his head like he was spooked by a ghost. Trust me, if you haven’t seen it check it out. Jamahal Hill is on his way up the rankings with impressive knockouts against OSP, Jimmy Crute and the aforementioned Walker fight. His only loss came via armbar to Paul Craig which honestly happens to the best of the fighters.

Breaking down Santos, there is a lot to like about his game. He is as powerful on the feet as they come, highlighted by knocking down Ankalaev twice in his last time out, and throws some powerful leg kicks that he sinks in deep. The arsenal at his disposal is up there with the best in the division, but the cardio and activity lacks. Four of his last five have gone to decision because he’s far too patient and defensive-minded. He does all he can to stay at range and keep his hands up which is fine but he doesn’t throw enough to score points on the cards.

Much like Thiago Santos, Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill has POWER in his hands. The difference is he boasts an imposing, forward pressure and compliments the precision with power. He doesn’t throw all that many kicks but when he does they’re filthy. When Hill gets in the pocket he will have to utilize that accuracy against Santos who can counterpunch with the best of the division. We haven’t seen him go five rounds yet but I sincerely doubt his endurance is worse than Santos who has looked slower since his knee injuries.

Santos isn’t getting any younger and at 38 he’s slowing down and fighting one of the hottest prospects in the sport. Sadly, we might be close to the end of Santos’ career and with a loss to Hill here he could be on his way to retirement. Jamahal Hill will put the pressure on Santos and put him into deeper waters than he’s comfortable with, accumulating enough damage to secure the knockout. Look for Hill to reach the Top 5 after a showstopping win.

Pick: Hill by KO/TKO -152 (1.5u)

Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

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