A pair of middleweights hovering around the top ten are set to crash this weekend inside the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada at UFC Vegas 33.
After defeating Chris Weidman in what was probably the most gruesome injury of the year, 36-year-old Uriah Hall returns to action with a renewed desire to fight for gold. The # 8-ranked middleweight will put his status on the line when he faces the UFC’s # 11-ranked Sean Strickland, 30, in a 185-pound showdown.
In early May, Strickland put his name on the map when he criticized Krzysztof Jotko in a unanimous decision victory. At the end of Saturday night, the emergence of a new contender at middleweight is a definite possibility.
Strickland has made headlines lately for his combative attitude towards his wrestling career. The middleweight, in essence, equated her profession to being akin to prostitution. The crazy thing is, in many ways, his points are valid. And perhaps, at times, the promotion is more concerned with the pageantry than the actual prospect of fighting.
Despite Uriah Hall’s less controversial attitude, the venom behind his punches speaks for itself. A born finisher, “Prime Time” has scored fifteen knockouts to his name. Of his sixteen UFC appearances, half of them ended with Hall’s punching power. Once hailed as the next big thing in the UFC, Hall is used to setbacks and faced a tough one when he lost to Kelvin Gastelum by split decision in the finals of his tenure at The last fighter in 2013.
Since facing the ire of former title challenger Paulo Costa, Uriah Hall has taken a turn in the UFC. Following the loss to the bruised Brazilian in 2018, Hall has been undefeated inside the Octagon and has a respectable four-game win streak. Each fighter takes an orthodox stance, and they both like to keep the fight going, so UFC Vegas 33 should bring an exciting main event.
After defeating two legends at Anderson Silva and Weidman back-to-back, Hall has built up a huge momentum leading up to the headliner this weekend. After avenging his loss to Weidman (who beat Uriah Hall in 2010 at Ring of Combat via TKO), the result was far from ideal, but it was a victory nonetheless for the dynamic punching machine.
Hall will enter the fight with a three-and-a-half-inch reach advantage, and if he maintains the proper distance, the backlash he possesses can present problems for the aggressive pace that Strickland likes to impose on every UFC appearance.
UFC Vegas 33: Crunching The Numbers
Race statistics provided by ESPN
Sean Strickland UFC career statistics
- SLpM: 5.14 (Significant hits launched per minute)
- Str. Acc.: 39% (significant hit accuracy)
- SApM: 3.64 (significant shocks absorbed per minute)
- Str. Def: 67% (Defense Against Significant Strikes (the% of opponent’s strikes that did not land)
- Average TD: 1.14 (Average takedowns landed every 15 minutes)
- TD Acc.: 60% (removal accuracy)
- TD Def.: 82% (Knockdown Defense (the% of opponents’ TD attempts that did not land)
- Sub. Average: 0.4 (Average sends attempted per 15 minutes)
Uriah Hall UFC career statistics
- SLpM: 3.34
- Str. Acc.: 51%
- SApM: 3.54
- Str. Def: 53%
- Average TD: 0.67
- TD Acc.: 38%
- TD Def.: 69%
- Sub. Average: 0.2
Underscored by statistics, Sean Strickland likes to mix takedowns to expose an opponent’s cardiovascular system. The 30-year-old’s ability to catch a takedown every 15 minutes is greater than 1.0, meaning that every time the fight goes the distance, Strickland has achieved a successful takedown. Since the rate of his submission attempts is low, it appears that Strickland uses grip to wear down opponents compared to trying to position himself for submission.
If Strickland can implore a wrestling-centric game plan, it might exhaust Hall’s wingers, but everyone knows Strickland likes to stand up and trade. Although Hall has the stopping power, the numbers show that Strickland maintains a much more active pace.
With 5.14 strokes per minute, “Tarzan” is an offensive dynamo and capable of turning his cardio into a weapon. Strickland showed this wrinkle in his game against Brendan Allen; and despite a competitive first round, Strickland’s activity began to snowball, causing a knockout in the second round.
With Hall’s pinpoint accuracy and a higher ranking attached to his name, this is his fight to lose. As Strickland uses high performance on his feet, it will be up to Hall’s counterattack and movement to ensure victory at UFC Vegas 33.
On Saturday, we’ll find out if Hall advances into title contention with a six-game winning streak, or if Strickland’s cheeky attitude finally penetrates the top ten of the middleweight division.
Prediction: Uriah Hall def. Sean Strickland (Decision)