UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland Preview

UFC bring’s us their latest instalment this Saturday night as Uriah Hall clashes with Sean Strickland in the main event. Kyung Ho Kang will take on Rani Yahya in a bantamweight co-main event which is scheduled to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a whole, this card is not going to be causing a huge stir in the MMA community and having a couple of fights fall out did not help matters. The main event has my interest and is a very good competitive fight on paper. Fresh from snapping Chris Weidman’s leg with a check, Uriah Hall steps in to take on another tricky customer in Sean Strickland. Hall has been a staple in the UFC for many years having come through Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since 2013 the Jamaican has built up a record of 10-7 inside the octagon and has shared the cage with some of the best fighters at 185 pounds.

Since his loss to Paulo Costa in 2018 Hall has not tasted defeat but has only has the opportunity to fight on four occasions. Soild wins over Bevon Lewis, Antônio Carlos Júnior and recently wins over Anderson Silva and Weidman has seen Hall pick up a head of steam in the middleweight division. At 38, you would have to think that this may be the last title run the “Prime Time” has left in him. He can not afford to lose this fight and it’s safe the say the stakes are very high coming into this fight.

His opponent, Sean Strickland has had somewhat of a career resurgence himself since his last defeat back in 2018. Strickland was forced out of competition for nearly two-years after an horrific motorcycle accident. A once stage it was uncertain if the Team Quest man would be even able to fight again. Luckily for him, and for us Strickland was able to compete again and is 4-0 in his last four fights. That run has found him in a main event slot and the chance to make a real big wave in the middleweight division.

With a win, both Hall and Strickland will firmly place themselves in the title conversation at 185 pounds. I think they both have work to do in order to get a crack at Izzy’s belt still but a win in the main event would provide a huge boost to either fighter. Hall must feel this is last chance salon for him if he is to meet his goal of becoming a champion, he must win fights like this. Strickland will have a little less pressure upon entering the Octagon on Saturday night, a win for him would see him break into the top-ten of the UFC for the first time in his career.

I expect this fight to mainly play out of the feet and both guys are very evenly matched. Hall has had some mental hurdles to jump over in the past, those issues seem to be in the rear-view mirror for the Jamaican athlete. Strickland likes to fight on the front foot and isn’t afraid to talk shit as the fight does progress. That alone makes him a very entertaining fighter. He will have to be sharp on the feet whilst taking on such a sharp and accurate fighter like Hall. I’m looking forward to see how Hall will react if his back is up against the wall in this contest, if he is losing will he be able to grit his teeth, bite down on his gum shield and dig deep to pull of the win. I would be very surprised to see this fight go to the scorecards and I expect excitement for the the duration of the bout. Well worth tuning in for this main event.

In the co-main event Kyung Ho Kang takes on Brazilian veteran Rani Yahya in the bantamweight division. The South Korean took a four-year layoff in 2018 due to mandatory South Korean military service. Since his return he has gone 4-1 having won his last three outings inside the octagon. Yahya is an WEC OG and made the move over to the UFC ranks in 2011, since then the Brazilian BJJ wizard has gone 12-4-1 under the UFC banner. Out of his 27 wins, 21 have come by way of submission.

Cheyanne Buys and Gloria de Paula are set to clash in the women’s strawweight division, both will be desperate to get back into the win column having lost their previous outings. Niklas Stolze will take on short notice opponent Jared Gooden in the welterweight division. In what could be a loser leaves town contest, Ryan Benoit will lock horns with flyweight division. Adashev, who was born in Uzbekistan is without a win his last two encounters. Benoit has not won a fight since 2017, the stakes are high for both guys which should make for an interesting battle. Bryan Barberena always brings the heat and his fight with Jason Witt in the welterweight divison seem like the perfect fight to open up the main card.

Former women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montaño headlines the preliminary card when she takes on Wu Yanan in the women’s bantamweight division. Montaño has not won since her 2017 victory over Roxanne Modafferi which won her the 125-pound title. She was striped as the champion for inactivity and a loss to Julianna Peña followed in 2019. She returns for her first bout in two year and face Chinese native Wu, Yanan is without a win in her last two fights. Two Dana White’s Contender Series alumni’s will make their UFC debut as Melsik Baghdasaryan and Collin Anglin set to throw down in the featherweight division. Chris Gruetzemacher will make the walk to take on Rafa Garcia in a lightweight contest. Danny Chavez and Kai Kamaka III will square off at 145-pounds. I would expect the women’s strawweight fight between Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Yoder to play out mainly on the feet which should make for an exciting fight.

See the official fight card and start times below.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 9pm ET)

Middleweight: Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland

Bantamweight: Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya

Women’s Strawweight: Cheyanne Buys vs. Gloria de Paula

Welterweight: Niklas Stolze vs. Jared Gooden

Flyweight: Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit

Welterweight: Bryan Barberena vs. Jason Witt

Preliminary Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 6pm ET)

Women’s Bantamweight: Wu Yanan vs. Nicco Montaño

Featherweight: Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Collin Anglin

Lightweight: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Rafa Garcia

Featherweight: Danny Chavez vs. Kai Kamaka III

Women’s Strawweight: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Yoder

Bantamweight: Ronnie Lawrence vs. Trevin Jones

Welterweight: Philip Rowe vs. Orion Cosce

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma