UFC Betting Predictions: Santos vs Hill Preview

UFC Betting Predictions: Santos vs Hill Preview

After an exciting weekend in Texas, UFC returns to Las Vegas for UFC on ESPN 40 on Saturday night. Former UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos will square off with Jamahal Hill in the main event. The co-headliner features Vincente Luque and Geoff Neal in a welterweight bout. This card also has the finals of the Ultimate Fighter 30 heavyweight and women’s flyweight tournaments. Zac Pauga and Mohammed Usman meet for that heavyweight trophy, while Brogan Walker-Sanchez and Juliana Miller meet for the women’s flyweight honors. We have the complete fight card as well as UFC betting previews for the main event and the two tournament finals.

UFC on ESPN 40: Santos vs Hill Preview


Main Card (ESPN / ESPN+)

Thiago Santos vs Jamahal Hill (Light Heavyweight)
Vicente Luque vs Geoff Neal (Welterweight)
Zac Pauga vs Mohammed Usman (The Ultimate Fighter 30 Heavyweight Finals)
Brogan Walker-Sanchez vs Juliana Miller (The Ultimate Fighter 30 Women’s Flyweight Finals)
Augusto Sakai vs Sergey Spivak (Heavyweight)
Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira (Women’s Flyweight)

Preliminary Card (ESPN / ESPN+)

Sam Alvey vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (Middleweight)
Terrance McKinney vs Erick Gonzalez (Lightweight)
Takashi Sato vs Bryan Battle (Welterweight)
Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan (Welterweight)
Miranda Granger vs Cory McKenna (Women’s Strawweight)
Mayra Bueno Silva vs Stephanie Egger (Women’s Bantamweight)

Thiago Santos (22-10, 14-9 UFC, +220) vs Jamahal Hill (10-1, 4-1 UFC, -260) is Santos’ latest chance to shed his image of being a bit of a mirage, as those who will absorb his damage have found that they can get through his defenses and finish him. He has also delivered some thunderous knockouts, so getting through the damage can be the hardest part. Eric Spicely was the first to charge through the striking and deliver a first-round submission in a mammoth upset, and Gegard Mousasi and David Branch used similar tactics to get similar results. After those setbacks, Santos, who entered UFC at middleweight, moved up to light heavyweight and had more success, becoming the top contender in less than a year. He beat Jimi Manuwa in a war and knocked out Jan Blachowicz. He was leading Jon Jones, the champion at the time, after two rounds until he blew out a knee. He finished the fight, but he could not keep Jones from taking the lead in points. Santos missed over a year recovering from his injury, and now that he is almost 40, he looks like he could be done, at least as far as contending does. He almost finished his opponent in his comeback fight but ended up getting tapped out. HIs last three fights have been snoozers, as his opponents have all hung back and tried to engage him from range, and Santos has also shown some hesitancy when it comes to bringing the damage.

Hill has surprised observers with his swift rise up the light heavyweight ladder. He has length, but at first, he lacked the technique to win. However, he learned quickly, beating Klidson Abreu and Ovince St. Preux in short order. He lost to Paul Craig in an ugly submission, but he demolished Jimmy Crute with a knockout and followed that up with an even more electric knockout of Jimmy Walker in February. Santos could take advantage of the fact that Hill leaves his defenses open for a counter, and Santos could deliver that counter. However, Hill should take the opening momentum and finish this fight quickly.

Final Prediction: Hill wins via knockout


Zac Pauga (5-0, 0-0 UFC, -230) vs Mohammed Usman (7-2, 0-0 UFC, +195) brings us the brother of that “other Usman” – the UFC Welterweight champ. Usman hasn’t had a smooth path to this point; in both fights where he has elevated his competition, he has lost, falling to Don’Tale Mayes and Brandon Sayles. These two heavyweights are unusual in that they are even larger than Usman, who is still learning to get comfortable in the Octagon, especially when the fight is upright. Usman had a tough time with Sayles’ reach, but the tools are in his repertoire to grow, as he has shown he can wrestle, although finishing is still a bit of a question mark. Pauga was a onetime NFL hopeful and, at the age of 34, looks to come into the Octagon. A career light heavyweight, he has come up here but still may be undersized. Pauga looks more comfortable fighting, and he delivers more damage with each strike.

Final Prediction: Pauga wins via decision


Brogan Walker-Sanchez (7-2, 0-0 UFC, +105) vs Juliana Miller (2-1, 0-0 UFC, -125) is a contrast in styles. Miller has the grappling skills and the aggressiveness to start a career, but her strength still needs to increase, which means that her wrestling can end poorly. When she uses her striking, she wants to bring that big bomb to get her opponent to the floor for the grappling, so a savvy opponent who can weather that storm can take advantage of the grappling inadequacies. Walker-Sanchez has more experience, having turned pro in 2014 and having fought for Invicta FC since 2018, and with such opponents as Miranda Maverick Pearl Gonzalez and Erin Blanchfield (all with UFC experience) in her past. Walker-Sanchez strikes with movement and can wrestle well. If Miller can get some takedowns, she could bring a submission, but Walker-Sanchez has been able to hold off wrestlers in the past.

Final Prediction: Walker-Sanchez wins via decision



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Author: Ella Sims