A pair of middleweights hovering around the top-ten are set to collide this weekend inside the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada at UFC Vegas 33.
After taking out Chris Weidman in what was likely the most gruesome injury of the year, Uriah Hall, 36, 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 UFC’s #11-ranked Sean Strickland, 30, in a 185-pound showdown.
In early May, Strickland put his name on the map when he took Krzysztof Jotko to task in a unanimous decision victory. By night’s end this Saturday, the emergence of a new contender at middleweight is a definite possibility.
As of late, Strickland has made headlines for his pugnacious attitude towards his fighting career. The middleweight, in essence, equated his profession to being similar to prostitution. The crazy thing is, in many ways his points are valid. And perhaps at times, the promotion is more concerned about pageantry than the actual prospect of fighting.
Despite Uriah Hall’s less contentious attitude, the venom behind his striking speaks for itself. A born finisher, “Prime Time” has notched fifteen knockouts to his name. Of his sixteen appearances in the UFC, half of those have ended with the power of Hall’s striking. Once hailed as the next big thing in the UFC, Hall is accustomed to setbacks and faced a stiff one when he lost to Kelvin Gastelum by split-decision on the finals of his stint on The Ultimate Fighter back in 2013.
Since facing the wrath of former title challenger Paulo Costa, Uriah Hall has turned a corner in the UFC. Following the loss to the bruising Brazilian in 2018, Hall has been unbeaten inside the Octagon and holds a respectable four-fight win streak. Each fighter adopts an orthodox stance, and both like to keep the fight standing, so UFC Vegas 33 should bring an exciting main event.
After taking out two legends in Anderson Silva and Weidman back to back, Hall has compiled serious momentum leading into this weekend’s headliner. After avenging his loss to Weidman (who beat Uriah Hall back in 2010 at Ring of Combat by TKO), the result was far from ideal, but it was a win nonetheless for the dynamic striking machine.
Hall will enter the fight with a three-and-a-half-inch reach advantage, and should he maintain proper distance, the counterstriking he possesses may present problems for the aggressive pace Strickland likes to impose in each UFC appearance.
UFC Vegas 33: Crunching The Numbers
Career Statistics Provided By ESPN
Sean Strickland UFC Career Statistics
- SLpM: 5.14 (Significant Strikes Landed per Minute)
- Str. Acc.: 39% (Significant Striking Accuracy)
- SApM: 3.64 (Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute)
- Str. Def: 67% (Significant Strike Defence (the % of opponents strikes that did not land)
- TD Avg.: 1.14 (Average Takedowns Landed per 15 minutes)
- TD Acc.: 60% (Takedown Accuracy)
- TD Def.: 82% (Takedown Defense (the % of opponents TD attempts that did not land)
- Sub. Avg.: 0.4 (Average Submissions Attempted per 15 minutes)
Uriah Hall UFC Career Statistics
- SLpM: 3.34
- Str. Acc.: 51%
- SApM: 3.54
- Str. Def: 53%
- TD Avg.: 0.67
- TD Acc.: 38%
- TD Def.: 69%
- Sub. Avg.: 0.2
Underlined by the statistics, Sean Strickland likes to mix in takedowns to expose an opponent’s cardiovascular system. The 30-year old’s ability to snatch a takedown per 15-minutes stands over 1.0, which means any time the fight goes the distance, Strickland has scored a successful takedown. Since the rate of his submission attempts is low, it seems Strickland uses the grappling to wear on opponents compared to trying to position for submission.
If Strickland can implore a wrestling-centric gameplan, it could exhaust the extremities of Hall, but everyone knows Strickland likes to stand and trade. Even though Hall packs the stopping power, the numbers show that Strickland keeps a much more active pace.
With 5.14 strikes landed per minute, “Tarzan” is an offensive dynamo and capable of weaponizing his cardio. Strickland showed this wrinkle in his game against Brendan Allen; and despite a competitive first round, Strickland’s activity began to snowball into a finish, causing a second-round knockout.
With the pinpoint accuracy of Hall and a higher ranking attached to his name, this is his fight to lose. As Strickland utilizes high output on the feet, it will be up to Hall’s counterstriking and movement to secure the victory at UFC Vegas 33.
On Saturday, we will find out if Hall pushes into title contention riding a six-fight win streak, or if Strickland’s brash attitude finally penetrates the top ten of the middleweight division.
Prediction: Uriah Hall def. Sean Strickland (Decision)