February 26, 2018

Angela Hill Must Lean On Her Roots For Continued Success

By Raphael Garcia

Fighters can often be seen releasing a sigh of relief after a big win in the Octagon, and Angela Hill was one such fighter after she earned a unanimous decision victory over Maryna Moroz at UFC on Fox 28. We’ve seen MMA scoring controversies, and this seemed like a bout that could have ended in the same way, but Hill’s hand was raised, avoiding any major dissent. So now the conversation turns to what's next for the Alliance MMA competitor. However, the bigger question is whether she will be ready for that opportunity when it comes.

Hill looked great in the first round of her fight against Moroz. She out-struck the Ukraine native, landing 53 percent of her strikes; she also used counters and movement to stay outside of range. However, she clearly slowed as the fight went on. Even though she stayed around 53-57 percent striking accuracy in rounds two and three, she wasn’t countering as much and her footwork became stagnant, allowing Moroz’s activity to look more effective.

Judges Eric Colon, Chris Lee, and Dave Tirelli scored the bout 30-27 in Hill’s favor, but based on the perception of many across the social media space, there was worry that a bad decision was heading her way. However,  those fears were misplaced, and Hill achieved her first victory over a Top-15-ranked opponent in the UFC, a victory that will likely put her on that divisional rankings list.

The UFC's strawweight division is one of the most talent rich in the sport. Tecia Torres and Jessica Andrade showed that in the co-main event, and the weight class also features names such as Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, and Alexa Grasso. There’s an opportunity for Hill to develop into a contender, but there are clear deficiencies in her game that would limit her ability put together a run at this time.

Hill’s biggest strength is her striking. When she made the transition to MMA in 2014, she brought a 16-0 professional kickboxing record with her. She consistently displays this talent with her movement and ability to counter her opponents. But despite 14 kickboxing wins via TKO, that hasn’t fully translated over to the smaller gloves.

Hill tends to walk away from using combinations, instead looking for a big shot to put her opponent out. Looking at her numbers from FightMetric, in every UFC fight that Hill has lost she’s also ended the fight with fewer landed strikes than her opponent. The inverse is true for the three fights she has won in the Octagon. The top of the division features a number of women who can strike with the best in the sport. She’s mentioned facing Jessica Aguilar in the future, and the former World Series of Fighting champion is a tough out for any athlete. But Hill needs to better leverage her talent on the feet if she wants to prove that she can hang with any of them.

At 33 years old, it`s unclear how much Angela Hill can continue to evolve at this point in her career. She’s shown that she struggles when facing an opponent that can grapple, but now there seems to be cause for concern regarding how effective she can be on the feet. This is troubling. Hill needs to solidify key components of her game, particularly on the striking side, if she’s going to make a run at the top of the strawweight division.



UFC on FOX 28: Stephens vs. Emmett took place February 24, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.


Click HERE for more UFC on FOX 28 Post-Fight Analysis


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