Uriah Hall’s meandering journey through mixed martial arts has brought him to yet another potential crossroads inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Exhilarating at times and maddening at others, the Fortis MMA middleweight will collide with former King of the Cage champion Sean Strickland in the UFC on ESPN 28 main event this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Hall, 36, enters the Octagon on the strength of a four-fight winning streak. The Spanish Town, Jamaica, native has delivered 13 of his 17 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout, seven of them inside one round, and has not tasted defeat in more than three years.
As Hall makes final preparations for his pivotal battle with Strickland, a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape his career:
The Serra-Longo Fight Team export captured the Ring of Combat middleweight championship in his third professional appearances, as he disposed of the previously unbeaten Hall with punches in the first round of their ROC 31 headliner on Sept. 24, 2010 at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Weidman brought it to a close 3:06 into Round 1. He was aggressive from the outset, put Hall on his back foot and forced him to operate with his back to the fence. Weidman secured a takedown, applied his ground-and-pound and resumed his pursuit once the two men returned to their feet. A sweeping left hook sent Hall crashing to the canvas, where he was met with an unending burst of hammerfists and punches that brought about the finish. It was not the last time they encountered on another. Their rematch at UFC 261 more than a decade later resulted in a horrific injury, as Weidman broke both bones in his lower leg while throwing a low kick just 71 seconds into the bout. Hall was visibly shaken afterward, and though it went down as a W on his resume, it was accompanied by none of the usual feels associated with victory.
Tireless aggression, proficient standup and multiple takedowns spurred Gastelum to a split decision over Hall in “The Ultimate Fighter 17” Finale co-headliner on April 13, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards following the Season 17 middleweight final: Sal D’Amato for the favored Hall, Adalaide Byrd and Junichiro Kamijo for the undefeated Gastelum. Hall looked flustered at times, perhaps caught off guard by his counterpart’s willingness to exchange and wade through his punches and kicks. The Team Tiger Schulmann representative made his most significant gains in the second round, where he zapped Gastelum with jabs, delivered a takedown of his own and executed an exquisite belly-to-back suplex. Gastelum never flinched. He secured a pair of takedowns in Round 3 and spent enough time in top position to earn the split verdict.
“The Dreamcatcher” made sure lightning would not strike twice for Hall. Mousasi avenged a prior defeat to the former Ring of Combat champion and did so in emphatic fashion, as he dispatched Hall with punches in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 99 main event on Nov. 19, 2016 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The end came 4:37 into Round 1. Mousasi left nothing to chance. He backed up Hall with a penetrating jab, avoided his spinning attacks and landed a takedown with less than a minute to go in the first round. Mousasi then pinned “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist at the base of the cage and controlled his near-side leg and far-side wrist before letting go with a volley of right hands that prompted the stoppage.
Hall put his personal feelings aside and brought down the former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder with punches in the fourth round of their UFC Fight Night 181 headliner on Oct. 31, 2020 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. “Primetime” drew the curtain on Silva 1:24 into Round 4, then bowed apologetically before his idol. Neither man seemed overly eager to exchange across the first 10 minutes. Silva led the dance, chipped away with leg kicks, countered where appropriate and unleashed occasional bursts of punches. There were flashes of his past brilliance, but at 45 years of age, the Brazilian’s physical limitations were obvious. Near the end of the third round, Hall leveled “The Spider” with an overhand right, followed up with punches and likely would have authored the finish had the horn not sounded. Silva never recovered. He charged at Hall in a borderline-kamikaze attack at the start of Round 4, walked into a counter right hook and hit the deck for a second time. Referee Herb Dean allowed a few more standing-to-ground punches to find their mark before waving it off.