Last night on The Ultimate Fighter, Uriah Hall used a simple counter right cross to absolutely knock Bubba McDaniel out cold in a mere nine seconds, prompting Coach Chael Sonnen to declare Hall an immediate contender in the UFC Middleweight division. While this may or may not be true, one thing is for certain: Hall is a force to be reckoned with, and will put his extensive standup skills to use in the Octagon very soon.
But does what he has accomplished thus far make him an actual contender in the UFC? That’s a hard spot to obtain, and an even harder one to maintain. Hall has been beyond dominant on this season of TUF, and with the way he’s been destroying guys on the show, bright things would seem to be on the horizon for the Jamaican-born fighter. As history has shown us, it could definitely go either way.
Let’s take at the reasons why or why not Uriah Hall will find his way to the top of the UFC.
First off, and most obviously, Hall’s striking is almost on another level when compared to his peers on the show, who are definitely no slouches in their own right. But can it compare to the UFC’s top strikers at 185 lbs.? I would have to say yes, as it’s tough to find a striker who mixes it up as well as Hall while maintaining the kind of flash KO power he does. I hate to sound cliché, but of course Anderson Silva comes to mind for his mix of power and accuracy.
However, while you must inevitably bring Anderson Silva into the conversation, it’s actually The Spider’s next opponent who’s shown the gameplan to defeat Hall. Chris Weidman destroyed Uriah Hall back in 2010 for the Ring of Combat Middleweight title. Weidman used his wrestling pedigree to ground Hall, and finished the fight off with a barrage of punches. That’s the big question about Hall, and one that hasn’t been answered or really tested throughout the whole season of TUF.
Hall rebounded well and eventually obtained the Ring of Combat Middleweight title, which he still owns. His record sits at 7-2, but his losses are against top level UFC Middleweights Weidman and Costa Philippou. His other fights are wins against relatively unknown fighters.
Does the age-old question of a flashy striker not being able to deal with wrestlers come into play here? That’s tough to actually determine, as Hall has been knocking his TUF opponents out cold before they can drag him into deep water. I’m also not convinced that either Adam Cellar or Bubba McDaniel was truly good enough at wrestling to do that.
Not to detract from anything Hall has accomplished, because he is one of the most precise and thoroughly dangerous strikers I’ve ever seen, and that’s without ever officially stepping into the Octagon.
So will Hall make his way to the top of the world’s biggest MMA promotion? I do think he’s gotten much better since his losses to Weidman and Philippou, but I also think both of those combatants have upped their game vastly since 2010 as well. If top-level grapplers await Uriah Hall in his early UFC outings, he could have a tough go of it. He could also knock them out in under a minute and prove me wrong.
It’s really going to depend on whom the UFC matches him up with. Give him a striker, and he would most likely be favored in many matchups. The bout could be an instant classic sure to entertain fans as well. Perhaps a fight versus Bisping would be exciting down the line. Match him up with the division’s best wrestlers, however, and his flashy array of strikes could be nullified quickly. I don’t see him getting past the wrestling prowess of Yushin Okami, Mark Munoz, and of course Weidman at this point.
In either case, I think the UFC knows how to place the fighters they deem as extremely marketable, and obviously Hall falls into that category. I expect Hall to initially get some good fights with strikers who love to stand and bang. Should he win those, he will find himself in the unenviable position of facing off with the division’s top grapplers. Then we will find out just how far his ground game has progressed. Who would you like to see him face off with?
Uriah Hall has a wealth of potential heading into the TUF Semifinals. Just how far do you predict Uriah Hall to go in the UFC?