It’s the final UFC Main Event for the month of July as we see two resurgent middleweights in Sean Strickland taking on Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 33. Both Hall (18-9-0) and Strickland (23-3-0) have won four fights in a row, with at least half of those coming via a finish.
The UFC fight odds have Strickland as a sizable -220 favorite in Saturday night’s bout. But don’t be surprised to see the line shift if big money comes in on Hall, as the Jamaican-American has a big bag of tricks he can pull out any time.
- Date: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET
- Venue: UFC Apex, Enterprise, NV
- Watch on: ESPN
Uriah Hall vs Sean Strickland
Weight Class: Middleweight (185 pounds)
Rounds: Five (Main Event)
Odds: Uriah Hall +175, Sean Strickland -220
This bout is likely to determine who is the “real deal” among Hall and Strickland. Both of them were once considered blue-chip prospects but inconsistency plagued them in their UFC careers. So an emphatic victory will signal to the rest of the division that the winner is here to stay.
Hall: From Out of Nowhere
Literally, Hall’s greatest skill is his ability to flatline his opponents out of the blue. Thirteen of Hall’s 17 victories have come via a knockout of sorts. He could be losing bouts like the Bevon Lewis fight and land one big punch to win.
However, “puncher’s chance” is usually Hall’s best method to victory. He tends to be too inactive and over-selective of his strikes. He’s also not too difficult to hit and any high-level striker who fights aggressively will be able to tee off on him and even finish him.
It’s not entirely wrong to predict that if Hall doesn’t land a KO, he is likely losing the fight. He has only won two UFC fights by decision. If he hopes to buck this trend, Hall will need to fight more aggressively.
Strickland: Putting it Together
After going 5-3 at welterweight, Strickland returned to the 185-pound division where he debuted with the UFC back in 2014. With three straight wins here, Strickland is unbeaten in the division (5-0) and looks renewed.
Not having to cut as much weight has been a boon for many UFC fighters. Dustin Poirier and Robert Whittaker became championship-level fighters when they moved up a class. Strickland said he is feeling “great” and could follow this trend. Beating Hall would push him into the top 10 where an even bigger fight awaits.
As the online betting favorite, Strickland is expected to walk Hall down and beat him up. He is definitely the more aggressive and better-rounded fighter. Not to mention his 5.14 significant strikes landed per minute outdoes Hall’s at 3.34. And, last but not least, he has wrestling to fall back upon.
Fight Pick: Don’t Get Caught
Maybe you’ve heard this before, but Strickland should win this fight as long as he “doesn’t get caught.” While you can apply this prediction to every fight, it is much more apt in this situation considering Hall is one of the deadliest one-shot artists.
Strickland could be winning the fight for 24 minutes but makes a mistake and gets slept by Hall. As such, Hall backers should snipe him via live betting the longer the fight goes. But there is also a good chance that Strickland wrestles Hall and pounds him out on the ground.
This would be the least dangerous way for Strickland to fight Hall. He’ll pressure Hall with the forward aggression and then level change on him. Hall has a 69 percent takedown defense, but he has been dominated on the mat before.
Strickland lands 1.14 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 60 percent clip. He even used his wrestling against the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in Brendan Allen and beat him. Hall would be an easier opponent on the mat, and that’s where the fight will be won.