Two of the most explosive strikers in the UFC’s light heavyweight division will face off when Johnny Walker fights Jamahal Hill in the main event of UFC Vegas 48. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.
- When: Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- Where: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Line: Johnny Walker (+200) and Jamahal Hill (-250); Over 1.5 rounds (-125) and Under 1.5 rounds (-105); Walker wins inside the distance (+275) and Hill wins inside the distance (-150); odds from Draftkings Sportsbook.
Once considered one of the hottest prospects in the weight class, Johnny Walker has been losing more than winning lately and will benefit from a victory to maintain relevancy in the division and avoid the possibility of dropping in the rankings.
Walker, at 29 is a year younger with a two-inch height advantage and three-inch reach advantage over Hill, averaging 3.42 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) with a 59 percent striking accuracy, 2.81 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 40 percent striking defense, 0.24 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 100 percent takedown accuracy, 62 percent takedown defense and 0.7 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.
Walker has lost three of his last five contests, including wins over Ryan Spann (TKO Rd1, 2020), Misha Cirkunov (TKO Rd1, 2019) and losses to Thiago Santos (UD, 2021), Nikita Krylov (UD, 2020) and Corey Anderson (TKO Rd1, 2019).
Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill bounced back from his only professional loss with a devastating, first-round knockout win a little over two months ago, and is making a short turnaround and will try to keep the momentum going in his first UFC main event.
Hill averages 7.45 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) with a 51 percent striking accuracy, 3.68 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 45 percent striking defense, 0.0 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 0 percent takedown accuracy, 60 percent takedown defense and 0.0 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.
Hill has victories over Jimmy Crute (TKO Rd1, 2021), Ovince St. Preux (TKO Rd2, 2020) and Darko Stosic (UD, 2020), a first-round knockout win over Klidson Abreu (NC, 2020) changed to a no-contest due to testing positive for cannabis and his lone UFC loss to Paul Craig (sub Rd1, 2020).
Johnny Walker vs. Jamahal Hill Narratives
As evidenced by the over/under being set at 1.5 rounds, one of the main narratives heading into this clash is that there will be violence and someone is going to be finished. The majority of MMA cappers feel that Hill’s volume, striking precision and knockout power are why this line is so wide and why they expect Hill to be victorious on Saturday.
Some have highlighted Walker’s reach advantage and capacity for violent elbows and kicks, taken together with some questions about Hill’s striking defense, as reasons to not feel too confident in Hill and why they believe the line is too wide and that all the value is on Walker a +200 underdog.
Johnny Walker vs. Jamahal Hill Prediction
While Walker is competent on the mat, he does not have nearly the same jiu-jitsu skill as Paul Craig and we do not foresee Walker being able to take Hill to the ground and control or submit him there, nor do we anticipate Walker as being the first one to knock out Jamahal Hill, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Since both of these strikers are known for their ability to put the lights out on their opponents at any time, they could end up starting out more cautiously which may put some value on over 1.5 rounds, but we are going to anchor our handicap to the fact that Hill averages more than double the significant strikes landed per minute with better striking defense compared to Walker, and Walker’s history of fading when met with adversity in predicting Hill to win inside the distance.
Pick: Hill wins inside the distance (-150)