Pereira blasts Hill in 1st to retain UFC crown


  • Marc Raimondi, ESPN Workers AuthorApr 14, 2024, 01:46 AM ET

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pereira continued his run as one of many UFC’s most dynamic big-fight athletes.

Pereira has already received two championships at New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard. And Saturday, he knocked out former champ Jamahal Hill to retain the UFC gentle heavyweight title in the principle occasion of UFC 300 — one of many largest occasions in promotion historical past — at T-Cellular Enviornment. The end got here at 3 minutes, 14 seconds of the primary spherical after one among Pereira’s trademark left hooks.

The end will dwell on spotlight reels endlessly. Hill kicked Pereira low, prompting referee Herb Dean to step in and attempt to pause the struggle. Pereira held up his proper hand, stopping the official from intervening. Pereira then blasted Hill with the left hook and adopted with violent punches on the bottom.

“I used to be gauging the gap and timing,” Pereira mentioned by means of an interpreter. “All the pieces went excellent.”

Hill relinquished the title final summer season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in a pickup basketball recreation. Pereira received the vacant belt by knocking out former champ Jiří Procházka final November at UFC 295 in New York.

Coming in, ESPN had Pereira ranked No. 3 in its pound-for-pound rankings.

Afterward, Pereira mentioned he needed to get proper again within the Octagon and struggle at UFC 301 on Might 4 in his native Brazil. Pereira mentioned he wish to achieve this at heavyweight, which might be his third weight class within the UFC.

“I need this struggle,” Pereira mentioned. “I am not harm. Nothing occurred.”

Pereira (10-2) is the quickest fighter to win two UFC titles in two divisions (seven fights). The Connecticut resident knocked out Israel Adesanya to win the UFC middleweight title in 2022 earlier than dropping the title again to Adesanya final yr. Pereira, 36, is a former two-division champion in Glory Kickboxing and a Corridor of Famer in that promotion.

Hill (12-1, 1 NC) had received 4 straight coming in. The Chicago native, who fights out of Michigan, beat Glover Teixeira, Pereira’s coach and coaching companion, to win the UFC gentle heavyweight title at UFC 283 in January 2023. Hill, 32, was the primary Dana White’s Contender Collection alum to win a UFC championship.

“I do not let this belt go to my head,” Pereira mentioned. “I’ve to go in right here and win this belt each time to be champion.”


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