Uriah Hall vs Anderson Silva
Uriah Hall vs Anderson Silva: Idol Becomes Rival
Uriah Hall vs Anderson Silva: Idol Becomes Rival
Originally scheduled to meet more than four years ago as part of the outstanding pay-per-view main card at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil, middleweight stalwart Uriah Hall and former divisional ruler Anderson Silva will finally square off in this weekend’s main event.
Projected to do great things during his eye-popping run on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, Hall has been a fixture in the Top 15 for the last several years and seems like he’s reached the point where everything is starting to come together after shifting his training to Fortis MMA. The 36-year-old enters Saturday’s headline pairing on a tidy two-fight winning streak after finishing Bevon Lewis and edging out Antonio Carlos Junior, and has the chance to show he’s a contender to keep an eye on heading into next year this weekend if he knocks off “The Spider.”
One of the greatest competitors to ever grace the Octagon, the last number of years have not been kind to Silva, as he’s struggled to find success in the cage while battling a number of major injuries. Fighting for the first time since last May, the 45-year-old icon has said that Saturday’s engagement with Hall will be the final appearance of his career, and the stylistic matchup against a fellow striker presents a potential opportunity for the sublime former champion to turn back the clock and thrill the UFC audience one final time.
Andre Fili vs Bryce Mitchell
An exciting featherweight pairing mans the penultimate position on this weekend’s fight card as Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili squares off with emerging Ultimate Fighter alum Bryce Mitchell.
The 30-year-old Fili has won three of his last four and over the last five years, he has compiled a 6-4 record, turning in steely performances each time out while only losing to ranked competition.
Arkansas’ Mitchell claimed the “bronze medal” on Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter when he edged out Tyler Diamond on the cards at the finale, but since then, the 26-year-old has emerged as one of the top up-and-coming talents in the featherweight division. His twister submission of Matt Sayles at the end of 2019 opened everyone’s eyes to his potential and his dominant effort against Charles Rosa last time out confirmed he’s not one to be trifled with on the canvas.
This is an ideal pairing for both participants and should provide a tremendous amount of insight into where each man stands in the featherweight ranks.
For Fili, it’s a chance to turn back a streaking upstart and collect a second consecutive win, further cementing his status as a fixture on the fringes of the Top 15 while putting himself in position to potentially make a run towards the Top 10 next year. As for Mitchell, he puts his perfect 4-0 mark inside the Octagon on the line against his toughest opponent to date, with the opportunity to climb the divisional ladder and solidify his status as the top young threat in the division heading into 2021.
Do not miss this fight.
KEVIN HOLLAND VS. MAKHMUD MURADOV
Kevin Holland Finishes Joaquin Buckley
Kevin Holland Finishes Joaquin Buckley
Streaking middleweights looking to move one step closer to cracking the rankings square off here as Kevin Holland makes his fourth appearance of the year against Makhmud Muradov.
Holland has been one of the more active fighters since the UFC restart in May, posting wins over Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, and Darren Stewart. He beat Buckley in August and Stewart five weeks later, and now looks to earn victories in three consecutive months as he steps in for Polish veteran Krzysztof Jotko opposite Muradov here.
Muradov has won 13 consecutive fights, including each of his first two UFC appearances, as he followed up a decision win over Alessio Di Chirico in his debut with a third-round finish of Trevor Smith last time out. The 30-year-old is an intriguing figure in the 185-pound weight class and Saturday’s contest should provide further clarity on where he fits within the divisional hierarchy.
Will the talkative Holland secure his fourth victory of 2020 and continue his evolution into a potential contender in the middleweight ranks or can Muradov maintain his winning ways and secure the biggest victory of his career on Saturday night?
MAURICE GREENE VS. GREG HARDY
The Fight Life: Maurice Greene
The Fight Life: Maurice Greene
“The Crochet Boss” Maurice Greene shares the Octagon with “The Prince of War” Greg Hardy in a battle between heavyweights looking to build off recent victories.
Greene snapped a two-fight slide when he submitted Gian Villiante by arm triangle in the third round of their clash in June. The likeable Ultimate Fighter alum is now 4-2 through his first six UFC appearances and spent this camp preparing at the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, working alongside the likes of Juan Adams, Don’Tale Mayes, and Christian Edwards.
Hardy added another chapter to his unique UFC adventure back in May when he edged out Yorgan De Castro on the cards at UFC 249, in large part due to De Castro’s inactivity. The former NFL defensive lineman is now 6-2 with one no contest in nine professional appearances, and remains an interesting member of the heavyweight division because of his elite athleticism and raw potential.
This is the kind of matchup that Hardy needs at this point in his development, as Greene is considerably more experienced and boasts a more complete array of skills.
As for Greene, it’s a chance to collect a second straight victory and once again try to build some momentum as he looks to return to the rankings in 2021. He got hustled into the deeper end of the talent pool a little too quickly earlier in his career, but those hiccups might have been just what he needed in order to make some improvements and take another step forward in his progression as a professional fighter.
BOBBY GREEN VS. THIAGO MOISES
Lightweights looking to continue making moves in the loaded 155-pound weight class collide here as veteran Bobby Green takes on Brazil’s Thiago Moises.
Just like Kevin Holland, Green has taken full advantage of the UFC restart, registering three victories since June. After outworking fellow divisional staple Clay Guida in his first appearance of the year, the 34-year-old “King” has followed it up with victories over Lando Vannata and Alan Patrick, and looks to make it three wins in as many months, just like Holland, when he faces off with Moises on Saturday.
Moises has alternated losses and wins since landing a place on the UFC roster through the Contender Series in 2018. Last time out, he rebounded from a slow start to lock up one of the top submission finishes of the year, lacing up Michael Johnson’s leg and forcing “The Menace” to tap to an Achilles lock just 25 seconds into the second round. The 25-year-old was a quality prospect before arriving in the Octagon and could finally be finding his footing now that he’s got a few big-league appearances under his belt.
Green has made a career of being a tough out and an entertaining fighter, and he should prove to be both again here, as Moises goes searching for a second straight strong showing against an established veteran as he looks to build some momentum heading into next year.
CHRIS GRUETZEMACHER VS. ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ
Saturday’s other lightweight pairing is an intriguing clash between the returning Chris Gruetzemacher and regrouping Alexander Hernandez.
Fighting for the first time since registering a second-round stoppage win over Joe Lauzon at UFC 223, the 34-year-old Gruetzemacher has dealt with myriad injuries since then, including a torn ACL. A member of Team Faber on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, “Gritz” has been limited to just three appearances in the last five years, but was 13-1 in the seven years prior when he was competing regularly on the way to reaching the UFC.
Hernandez burst onto the scene with a 42-second knockout win over Beneil Dariush in his short-notice promotional debut in early 2018, but has been inconsistent since, splitting four appearances. The confident 28-year-old shifted his training to Factory X Muay Thai in Colorado following his loss to Drew Dober earlier this year, and it will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments and improvements he has made when he steps into the Octagon this weekend.
There is no denying that Hernandez is a talented fighter with a ton of promise, but he looked like someone who was trying to run before he really knew how to walk in his loss to Donald Cerrone and couldn’t make the correct adjustments last time out against Dober. Working with Marc Montoya could bring about major changes and this bout with Gruetzemacher should be a good measuring stick to help determine where he fits in the stacked lightweight class as 2020 winds to a close.
ADRIAN YANEZ VS. VICTOR RODRIGUEZ
Fresh off a blistering performance on the Contender Series, Adrian Yanez makes his first foray into the Octagon opposite fellow newcomer Victor Rodriguez on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Yanez scored one of the more impressive finishes thus far this season on the Contender Series in mid-August when he knocked out Brady Huang with a slick two-piece in just 39 seconds. The effort earned the LFA staple a fourth straight victory, a UFC contract, and a place on the roster alongside the last two men to get the better of him, fellow Halloween combatant Miles Johns, and Domingo Pilarte.
Like his opponent, Rodriguez also carries a four-fight winning streak into his initial trip into the UFC cage. The 28-year-old has collected finishes in each of his seven career victories, including a second-round stoppage in his 2020 debut back in February, and looks to make the most of this opportunity against the highly regarded Yanez on Saturday night.
Graduates from this season of the talent search that takes place inside the UFC Apex have had mixed results thus far, and Yanez will have to contend with elevated expectations coming off the quickest finish of the season thus far, while Rodriguez rolls into a low risk, high reward contest this weekend. Each of these bantamweights will be crossing the threshold into the Octagon looking to prove they belong, and no matter how it shakes out, the process of determining a winner should be fun to watch for as long as it lasts.
SEAN STRICKLAND VS. JACK MARSHMAN
Fighting for the first time in more than two years, Sean Strickland returns to the middleweight division this weekend against Welsh veteran Jack Marshman in a Fight of the Night contender.
Strickland arrived in the UFC in 2014 with a perfect 13-0 record and plenty of promise, scoring victories over Bubba McDaniel and Luke Barnatt before dropping down to the welterweight ranks, where he posted a 5-3 record. The 29-year-old Californian was involved in a bad motorcycle accident in December 2018, and the resulting injuries, surgery, rehab and recovery have kept him out of action until this weekend.
Filling in for Brazilian Wellington Turman, the 30-year-old Marshman looks to get back into the win column after suffering a first-round submission loss to Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 239. “The Hammer” is just 3-4 inside the Octagon, but is allergic to being in a boring fight, and should pair with Strickland to deliver some excitement on Saturday night.
This is a tough assignment for the returning American, but one that should establish a baseline for where he fits in the 185-pound ranks. With a victory, Strickland will head into next year as an intriguing dark horse, one that still has plenty of time to live up to the lofty expectations he carried earlier in his career.
COLE WILLIAMS VS. JASON WITT
Both Cole Williams and Jason Witt made their promotional debuts on short notice and neither one escaped the first round. Now, with the benefit of adequate prep time, the regional veterans take another stab at securing their first UFC victory this weekend.
Williams had posted nine consecutive victories before he was called to the Octagon to face Claudio Silva last summer. “Hannibal” submitted him in a little more than half a round, sending the 36-year-old Iowa native back to the drawing board. A pro since 2008, Williams was slated to face Contender Series grad Philip Rowe earlier this year, but the event was scuttled, leaving him to make his sophomore appearance here.
Witt’s first shot to compete inside the UFC cage came on less than 48 hours’ notice as he filled in for Ramiz Brahimaj opposite Takashi Sato at the end of June. The 33-year-old was felled in just 48 seconds, halting his four-fight winning streak. He’d won nine of 10 ahead of his ill-fated debut and will look to return to that form this weekend as he squares off with Williams in Las Vegas.
DUSTIN JACOBY VS. JUSTIN LEDET
Veteran strikers looking to build success in the wide open light heavyweight division clash here as Dustin Jacoby begins his second stint on the UFC roster in a battle with “El Blanco,” Justin Ledet.
The 32-year-old Jacoby dropped two fights in four months early in his career to make a quick exit from the UFC, but he returned to MMA in the summer of 2019 and scored a hard-fought victory over Ty Flores in August to earn a second chance to compete in the Octagon. An accomplished kickboxer, Jacoby trains with Marc Montoya and the crew at Factory X Muay Thai in Englewood, Colorado, and is an interesting all-action addition to the 205-pound weight class heading into the final couple months of 2020.
Ledet arrives in Las Vegas still searching for his first victory as a member of the UFC light heavyweight ranks. After going 3-0 inside the Octagon as a heavyweight, the 32-year-old Texan dropped a division and has subsequently landed on the wrong side of things in matchups against Alexander Rakic, Johnny Walker, and Aleksa Camur.
On paper, this lines up as an old-fashioned slobberknocker, so here’s hoping that’s exactly what we get come Saturday night.
CORTNEY CASEY VS. PRISCILA CACHOEIRA
Flyweights looking to build some momentum heading into 2021 square off early on the card on Saturday as Cortney Casey makes her third appearance of the year against Brazil’s Priscila Cachoeira.
A fighter whose talents and toughness are not accurately represented by her 9-8 record, Casey earned a first-round submission win in her divisional debut in May, but landed on the wrong side of the submission finish in her sophomore showing at flyweight the following month. Now the tenacious Arizona resident is back for her third bout since the restart, eager to close out her 2020 campaign by getting her hand raised once again.
Cachoeira had one of the roughest debuts in recent memory back in February 2018 when she got beaten by current flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko. Though two more losses followed, the 32-year-old “Zombie Girl” persisted, and earlier this year, Cachoeira collected her first UFC win when she knocked out Shana Dobson in 40 seconds.
MILES JOHNS VS. KEVIN NATIVIDAD
Young bantamweights who cut their teeth under the LFA banner meet in the opener as Miles Johns looks to rebound from his first professional defeat as he welcomes Kevin Natividad to the Octagon for the first time.
One of several members of Dallas’ Fortis MMA squad to graduate to the UFC through the Contender Series, Johns edged out local favorite Cole Smith in his promotional debut, but was stopped by Mario Bautista early in the second round of his sophomore showing. The former LFA champ, who won the belt with a split decision victory over Adrian Yanez, rattled off 13 consecutive wins combined between the amateurs and pros after losing for the first time in his career, and will no doubt be looking to start a comparable run here.
The 27-year-old Natividad was set to make his first foray into the Octagon at the start of September, but his bout with Brian Kelleher was pulled at the 11th hour. “Quicksand” has collected five straight victories heading into this one, along with an earlier triumph over UFC competitor Irwin Rivera, and will look to make good on his second chance to make a first impression this weekend.