The TUF Finale last night saw Kelvin Gastelum defeat the favored Uriah Hall in a razor-thin split decision. There were those that gave the bout to Gastelum and those that thought Hall was robbed. But the overall consensus believed that Hall would finish the perennial underdog with relative ease, even after Gastelum came out of nowhere to pave his way to the contract fight.
Regardless of if you think that Hall was robbed or that he had an off night, he still appeared to drop his hands and not take the bout as seriousy as he could have. This was something Dana White touched on as well after the fight, stating that he told Hall that he needed to get his mind right.
Indeed, many, including Hall’s TUF coach Chael Sonnen, believe that he could be an absolute killer in the Octagon should he get the mental aspect of the game down. This appears to be the case, as Hall spoke up to MMA Junkie and explained he was merely trying to “have fun” in the biggest fight of his career to date:
"I was trying to have some fun, man. A big part of it was it was it was kind of hard, too. I trained with the guy, and I like him. It was kind of that emotion I was trying to get rid of, so it was kind of weird.”
"Going in the ring, I was like, 'S---, here we go again.' That side just kind of got the best of me, but there's no excuse. Kelvin's a great guy. He's a tough kid. I think he's going to go really far in this sport, and I'm happy for him."
Kind of a strange spot to carry that attitude and drop your hands when a six-figure contract is on the line. Apparently fighting his former teammate was a factor as well, because Hall knocked out members of Team Jones with reckless abandon, putting them in the hospital along the way.
So the jury’s still out on Uriah Hall, and there’s no doubt that he has some of the best raw talent the UFC has ever seen. But that doesn’t automatically translate into in-cage success, and the discussion of how far he can go will probably depend on how he mentally prepares for his large-scale fights. The bout was seemingly Hall’s to lose, but he still had to win, and Kelvin Gastelum took full advantage by fighting his fight.