Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight strikers Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland will go to war TONIGHT (Sat., July 31, 2021) at UFC Vegas 33 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This match up is a tale of potential, and whether or not an athlete can live up to expectations. Fair or not, Hall was advertised as the next Anderson Silva, a legendary knockout artist even prior to his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) finale appearance. Strickland never quite had the amount of public momentum as “Prime Time,” but he once rode a solid wave at 15-0 before getting stuck in the middle of the Welterweight division for years. Fast-forward to 2021, and both men are riding four-fight win streaks, walking into a main event slot. One man will actually break into the title mix after years of trying, and the other will remain stuck in their usual territory.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 75), Anderson Silva (UFC Vegas 12), Krzystztof Jotko (UFC Fight Night 116), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC Fight Night 158), Thiago Santos (UFC 175)
Key Losses: Paulo Costa (UFC 226), Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 99), Derek Brunson (UFC Fight Night 94), Robert Whittaker (UFC 193)
Keys To Victory: No one has ever doubted Hall’s power. The kickboxer can end nights early with both his hands and feet, and even when the knockout doesn’t materialize, it is abundantly clear that Hall’s shots hurt.
The winner of the jab likely win this bout, and there’s absolutely no reason that Hall should be getting out-jabbed in this match up. Strickland has a shorter reach and is at a speed disadvantage — Hall absolutely cannot allow himself to fall behind at distance. Even if he gets tired, he has to keep popping “Tarzan” with the jab.
Otherwise, I’d like to really see Hall commit to his right low kick, whether to the thigh or calf. Strickland exposes his lead leg while jabbing, and he’s going to have to reach for Hall a bit. If Hall punishes that habit by attacking the leg, it will go a long way in slowing his opponent down, which is especially valuable in a five-round fight.
Key Wins: Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 14), Krzysztof Jotko (UFC Vegas 25), Nordine Taleb (UFC Fight Night 138), Tom Breese (UFC 199)
Key Losses: Kamaru Usman (UFC 210), Elizeu Zalaeski dos Santos (UFC 224), Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC Fight Night 61)
Keys to Victory: Strickland has been fighting for a long time from a young age, and he can really do it all. He’s a sharp puncher with a stiff jab, very competent wrestler, and can drop some really nasty ground strikes from top position.
Ten of his wins come via knockout.
The blue print to defeating Uriah Hall is well-written, and Strickland has the skills necessary to implement it. Hall does not do all that well with pressure, as he tends to fall behind on the volume and start backing into the fence, leaving himself open to losing rounds and eating big hooks alike.
Strickland has the toughness and boxing chops to advance through counter fire and keep Hall uncomfortable. Plus, from his back foot, Hall’s spin kicks can create takedown opportunities for an advancing foe, a la Robert Whittaker. Strickland mixing in a shot or two would be smart, as would some kicks to interrupt Hall’s attempts to circle off.
With Israel Adesanya running through contenders at a scary pace, fresh blood in the Middleweight Top Five is necessary.
Hall very clearly wants to fight “Stylebender,” and it’s such an easy sell. Even as someone quite pessimistic about his odds in that match up, I’d still tune in — some delightful kickboxing is guaranteed! If Hall can score a spectacular knockout here, maybe he does jump the somewhat nonexistent queue right into a title fight.
Strickland doesn’t quite have the name power to make such a leap, but a win would still be the biggest of his career, capping off his best win streak yet. Defeating Hall proves that Strickland can be both durable and consistent at 185 lbs., a pair of much-needed attributes that eluded him at Welterweight.
Most likely, a win for either man scores him a title eliminator against the likes of Jared Cannonier or Darren Till.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 33 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 33: “Hall vs. Strickland” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 33, Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland will battle in the main event. Which fighter will earn the victory?