UFC 300: Alex Pereira emphatically defends light heavyweight belt with 1st-round KO of Jamahal Hill

UFC 300: Alex Pereira emphatically defends light heavyweight belt with 1st-round KO of Jamahal Hill

UFC 300 ended with a bang. Courtesy of Alex Pereira.

The UFC light heavyweight champion won the main event of the highly anticipated card with a first-round knockout of former champion Jamahal Hill. It's the first successful title defense of Pereira's career after winning the vacant belt against Jiří Procházka.

The tone of the entire fight was intense, with the fighters staring each other down as the first bell arrived. That wound up being significant when Hill hit Pereira with a low blow.

Referee Herb Dean moved in to pause the fight, but Pereira waved him away while keeping all eyes on Hill. He then leveled the challenger with a vicious left uppercut.

Replay showed Hill's eyes rolling back as he fell to the mat. It was an impressive enough effort that Pereira's mentor, former light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira, bestowed a Brazilian jiujitsu black belt on him after the fight, despite none of Pereira's KO involving BJJ.

"I told everyone the whole time, he's a strong guy," Pereira said through an interpreter after the fight. "I cannot go away from my strategy, and that's exactly what I was doing. I kept throwing kicks. I made a few mistakes with the kicks, but I was gauging the distance and the timing and everything went perfectly."

Pereira's game plan involving leg kicks was particularly impressive considering UFC president Dana White later revealed Pereira had gone into the fight with a broken toe.

It was a fitting ending to a stacked card that delivered on its considerable hype, and could have been Knockout of the Night had Max Holloway not blown the grading curve out of the water. Pereira was given the honor of closing the night out despite being on only his eighth fight with the UFC and 12th overall in MMA after accruing a 33-7 record in kickboxing.

Alex Pereira has now defeated two former UFC light heavyweight champions. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Alex Pereira wants a jump to heavyweight, and soon

Pereira's win is the first successful title defense since 2020 at light heavyweight, a division that had looked more and more cursed with each unfortunate event. That included Hill winning the belt then being forced to vacate it after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

To get the belt and keep it, Pereira had to defeat two former champs in Hill and Procházka, who had his own wild win at 300. There is still no shortage of potential challengers, with Magomed Ankalaev, Jan Blachowicz, Procházka and perhaps a trilogy with Israel Adesanya if the former middleweight champ follows Pereira into the division.

Pereira, however, said he was interested in another jump, this time to heavyweight, in his native Brazil at UFC 301 in May.

"I want to keep defending this belt," Pereira said. "I've talked a lot about fighting in Brazil if I won this fight. I won this fight, I'm not hurt, nothing happened. I know there needs to be a lot of promotion behind a fight, but I want to have a fight at heavyweight."

The top of the heavyweight division is currently in disarray, as champion Jon Jones is still recovering from a torn pec. He was slated to face former champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 in November, where Tom Aspinall won an interim championship instead.

Another jump from Pereira would complicate that situation, but it's taken only three years in the UFC to show that there is little reward to standing in his way.


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