Jamahal Hill is the new UFC light heavyweight champion

Jamahal Hill is the new UFC light heavyweight champion

After Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz fought to a controversial split draw at UFC 282, the promotion was determined to fill the vacant light heavyweight and quickly moved on to Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill in the main event of UFC 283.

On Saturday night, there was no question who would be the next champion, as Hill (12-1) edged out Teixeira (33-9) with a unanimous decision victory to take gold.

Teixeira immediately went for the takedown, but Hill fought him off and kept the former champion at arm’s length. Hill landed some knees to the head from the clinch and landed low kicks to avoid level changes. Teixeira landed a calf kick that seemed to bother Hill towards the end of the round, but Hill returned to combinations at the top.

Hill staggered Teixeira with a massive kick to the head in the second and shoved the former champion against the cage, looking to seal the deal shot after shot. Teixeira found his legs and went straight for Hill, opening up a cut on the promise. Hill landed a big head kick again, but Teixeira held his ground and followed it up with his first successful takedown of the night. Teixeira took Hill’s back, but Hill turned guard. Teixeira circled Hill on the ground and moved to side control as Hill slid to sit against the cage. Hill slipped from Teixeira’s grasp and got back to his feet. Teixeira continued to press forward as Hill launched counterattacks moving back.

Hill sent Teixeira onto his back to open the third and Teixeira fought Hill as best he could from his back. Back on his feet, Teixeira kept moving forward and Hill’s conditioning began to become an issue. Teixeira went to jab him over and over again, while Hill charged with his own big shots.

Hill rejuvenated himself leading off the fourth, mixing up jabs and reverting to his stinging head kick. Teixeira landed a big hook that seemed to hurt his opponent, but he couldn’t follow up with anything of substance. Between rounds, Teixeira’s corner discussed stopping the fight, but ultimately did not.

In the fifth and final round, Teixeira walked Hill against the cage and landed a knockdown. From side control, Teixeira moved to half guard and then full mount. Hill slid under Teixeira and earned a takedown himself. With about a minute remaining, Hill stepped forward and allowed Teixeira to his feet before the final bell rang.

The light heavyweight title scene has been in disarray since Jiri Prochazka vacated the belt due to a shoulder injury that required surgery and would keep him out of action for six months. Teixeira, who was scheduled to face off in a rematch against Prochazka following their submission loss, reportedly turned down a title shot and traded at the last minute to fight Ankalaev. Instead, he requested a move a month later to UFC 283, which was rejected, and the matchup at 282 was given to Blachowicz. On Saturday night, he got a fight on his terms in his first return to the Octagon since his loss last June.

Hill headed into the biggest fight of his career on a three-fight winning streak, finishing former title contender Thiago Santos with a fourth-round TKO.

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