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The calm before the storm. 

On Saturday night, reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira will face the man he replaced as the 205-pound pacesetter, Jamahal Hill, in the headliner of the bumper UFC 300 card in Las Vegas.

But even ahead of what is predicted to be a stand-up war between the two striking specialists, it is clear that a level of respect has been maintained by both champions — as evidenced by Hill approaching Pereira backstage on Tuesday to ask him for his autograph on a hoodie.

Check out the footage below.

The fight represents Hill’s first competitive action since he sustained an achilles injury last year, reportedly while participating in an impromptu basketball match. Several months prior, Hill claimed the then-vacant light heavyweight title with a comprehensive decision win over another former champion, Glover Teixeira, who just so happens to be a key member of Pereira’s coaching ticket.

As for ‘Poatan,’ the bout is his first defence as light heavyweight champion following his win last year to contest the (again, vacant) championship opposite (another former champion) Jiri Prochazka.

For over a decade between 2010 and 2020, the UFC’s light heavyweight strap was around the waist of either Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier — but in the three years that followed, there have been no less than five different 205-pound champions.

The winner on Saturday night, whoever that might be, will no doubt be hoping that that the title merry-go-round ends Saturday night.