Heavy hitters collide this Saturday in the UFC Apex. Thiago Santos, top 5 in knockouts in UFC history, will meet the surging Contender Series alumn Jamahal Hill in the main event. The co-main has plenty of power as well between Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. The main card also features the Ultimate Fighter Finale for Heavyweights and women's Flyweights.
Let's take a closer look at the card:
Thiago Santos is currently ranked #6 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. His last fight was a 5-round unanimous decision loss to Magomed Ankalaev. Although he lost, he became the first and only man to drop Ankalaev in a fight, putting his power on display. Thiago has 11 UFC knockouts to his name, formerly tied for the most in history. This 1-punch KO power carried him to a title shot against Jon Jones in 2019. The bout was extremely close and went to a split decision that the judges would give to Jones. It was in this fight that Santos sustained major injuries to both knees and was forced out of action for over a year. He has gone 1-4 in his last 5 since.
Jamahal Hill is on a 2-fight knockout streak, scoring performance of the night finishes over Jimmy Crute and Johnny Walker. His last fight against Walker was a main event in February of this year, and he ended it in the first round. From his contender series debut to now, Hill has finished all but 1 of his 5 wins by knockout and looks to continue to do so. The lone loss in his career came by TKO to Paul Craig, and outside of it, he has been perfect in the octagon.
The world's most common pick is Jamahal Hill by KO/TKO in round 2.
Vicente Luque is a powerful knockout artist on the feet with a dangerous submission game, scoring his last two wins by D'arce. He holds the record for 2nd most finishes in Welterweight history at 13. His last fight was a setback loss to Belal Muhammad, but he remains one of the most lethal fighters on the roster and even has a knockout win over the main event fighter Thiago Santos.
Geoff 'Hands of Steel' Neal lives up to the nickname with his own resume of knockouts. He's finished the likes of Mike Perry and Niko Price on his path to UFC contendership. The last time he fought was at UFC 269 in December of last year against Santiago Ponzinibbio. Neal won the fight by split decision.
The world's most common pick is Vicente Luque by decision.
This fight will decide the next Ultimate Fighter as Mohammed Usman and Zac Pauga meet in the Heavyweight division. Usman has gone undefeated on The Ultimate Fighter season, picking up two wins en route to the finale. He will try to follow in the footsteps of his brother Kamaru Usman, the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Zac Pauga has plans to stop those aspirations on his own road to a UFC contract. The undefeated Heavyweight began his career in strong leagues such as LFA and Cage Warriors, which have produced many UFC champions over the years. He finished his last fight by knockout in the 2nd round on The Ultimate Fighter.
The winner of this fight will be crowned The Ultimate Fighter of the Heavyweights.
The world's most common pick is Mohammed Usman by decision.
Brogan Walker is a perfect 2-0 this season and has already gathered a wealth of experience. She faced UFC fighters Erin Blanchfield and Miranda Maverick during her career in Invicta FC, even defeating the latter. This experience will be a great weapon as her opponent only has 3 professional fights.
As aforementioned, Juliana Miller is very much in the early stages of her career, with only 3 fights on her pro record. This does not mean a lack of combat experience though as she is a decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, and has finished all of her wins by submission.
The winner of this fight will be crowned The Ultimate Fighter of the female Flyweights.
The world's most common pick is Brogan Walker by decision.
Augusto Sakai returns to action for the first time since December of last year. He has main evented twice in the UFC and possesses a dangerous standup game. Though it's usually his hands that do the talking, he has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt to rely on if the fight hits the ground. Unfortunately, he has lost his last 3 fights by KO/TKO, suffering losses at the hands of Tai Tuivasa, Jairzhinho Rozenstruik, and Alistair Overeem.
Sergey Spivak is a dangerous grappler that will look to take the fight to the mat at any given moment. He has an aggressive style and certainly looks to finish each time. His last win was a ground and pound TKO over Greg Hardy and he even has a win over top 5 Heavyweight Tai Tuivasa.
The world's most common pick is Sergey Spivak by KO/TKO in round 2.
Ariane Lipski made headlines at Fight Island with a viral kneebar finish. She is adequately nicknamed 'The Queen of Violence'. Since the initial hype, she faced 2 losses but bounced back in a dominant win over Mandy Bohm. She will string together a winning streak if she earns a victory here.
Priscila Cachoeira is a veteran of the UFC and is 3-1 in her last 4 with two of those coming by knockout. She has been battle tested on numerous occasions and has shown heart. Her last fight was a fight of the night winner vs Ji Yeon Kim. She too is looking to put together a winning streak this weekend.
*The world's most common pick is Ariane Lipski by decision. *
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