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Pereira KOs Hill in Round 1 to retain title at UFC 300

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

The debate's over: "Poatan" is the best of the best at 205 pounds.

UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira knocked out former champ Jamahal Hill to retain his title in the main event of the blockbuster UFC 300 card Saturday night. The stoppage came at the 3:14 mark of the first round at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Moments before the finish, referee Herb Dean tried to call a timeout for a low blow on Pereira. But Pereira waved it off - literally - and immediately uncorked a devastating left hook that put Hill on the canvas in what was one of the coldest moments ever in a UFC fight. Pereira jumped on Hill and teed off with a barrage of ground-and-pound shots until the referee stepped in for good.

"I told everyone the whole time: (Hill) is a strong guy. I cannot go away from my strategy," Pereira said in his postfight interview. "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 retained the 205-pound title for the first time after capturing the vacant belt with a second-round knockout of Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295 last November.

That fight was put together after Hill relinquished the championship last July due to him suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Hill had beaten Pereira's training partner and mentor, Glover Teixeira, to capture the vacant title himself in January 2023. Hill never defended the belt but was promised an immediate title shot when he came back. Teixeira, who retired after the loss to Hill, was in Pereira's corner Saturday.

At the time of Hill's first title shot, Prochazka had just vacated the belt due to an injury. And now, Pereira has knocked out Hill and Prochazka, the last two light heavyweight champions before him, in back-to-back fights.

Pereira said he wants to continue defending the 205-pound belt but also expressed interest in moving up to heavyweight. Pereira mentioned the idea of making a quick turnaround to compete at UFC 301 on May 4 in his native Brazil, but he didn't seem to fully commit.

"I talked a lot about fighting in Brazil if I won this fight," Pereira said. "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."

Pereira continues to etch his name in the history books at lightning-quick speed. In only eight UFC fights and 12 pro MMA bouts, he's captured titles at middleweight and light heavyweight, defended the light heavyweight belt, and beaten five former UFC champions (four of them via knockout). In less than two years, Pereira has remarkably put together a Hall of Fame resume.

Hill was ranked No. 1 in the division and riding a four-fight winning streak coming into the fight against Pereira. This was his first loss since June 2021 and just the second defeat of his pro career.

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