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Klidson Abreu sees ‘huge hole’ in Jamahal Hill’s ground game, predicts submission win at UFC on ESPN 9

MMA: UFC Fight Night-San Antonio-Alvey vs Abreu
Jiu-jitsu specialist Klidson Abreu (left) won 10 of his 15 professional MMA fights by submission.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Taking on an undefeated opponent on just three weeks’ notice doesn’t seem to bother Klidson Abreu, who’s as confident as ever for his UFC on ESPN 9 clash with Jamahal Hill on May 30 in Las Vegas.

Abreu, a former BRAVE CF light heavyweight champion, was originally slated to face Gadzhimurad Antigulov in Kazakhstan in June, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brazilian “took the foot off the gas” since it seemed that the company wouldn’t be able to put on show for a while, but the trio of cards in Jacksonville, Fla., gave him hope.

Going from a fight with Antigulov in Kazakhstan to a Las Vegas bout with Hill was a step up in terms of expectation and hype, he said, since his original opponent was coming off losses and Hill is an unbeaten Contender Series talent.

“People say he’s a prospect, he’s 7-0 ... they gave me a Russian that was also an undefeated prospect and I think I won the fight, but they gave it to the guy,” Abreu told MMA Fighting, referring to his controversial split decision loss to Shamil Gamzatov last November. “I’m here, and let’s end his invincibility.”

Hill impressed Dana White with a win over Alexander Poppeck at the Contender Series last July, and was victorious in his UFC debut against Darko Stosic. Abreu was on a long stoppage streak before signing with the company, but a decision over Sam Alvey is his only victory in three octagon appearances.

“I think it’s a good matchup because he’s 7-0 and is still very young to the game,” Abreu said. “I respect him, always, but he doesn’t have much jiu-jitsu, his ground game is… I’ve seen holes in his ground game, and I don’t think his striking is… They usually give me Russians and I take it right away, just give me the date and location. I don’t care. I’m well-prepared and well-trained, and I’m glad to be working.

“He hasn’t fought someone as experienced as I am,” he continued. “I’m coming off three wars that made me grow as a fighter, gave me a lot of experience. It won’t be different this time. I’m gonna be a hard nut to crack.”

The American Top Team product 15-4 as a professional mixed martial arts with two-third of his wins coming by way of submission, including six rear-naked chokes. Hill was taken down six times in his last bout against Stosic, but managed to win the decision.

“I see myself submitting him,” Abreu said. “Take him down … like I said, I’ve seen a huge hole in his ground game. He got taken down in every fight he was in and didn’t do well on the ground, but his opponents didn’t have such a good jiu-jitsu to put him in danger. I have this type of jiu-jitsu, so I see myself submitting him.”