The middleweight bout pits two division standouts against each other with Hall, the No. 10 fighter in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, taking on No. 13 Sean Strickland. The bout was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 265 on Aug. 7 before being moved to the main event of the fight card.
The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Hall is enjoying the longest winning streak of his career after a series of ups and downs that had many questioning his longevity in the UFC. The striking specialist has beaten his past four opponents, taking out former champions in back-to-back fights by stopping Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman; the latter occurred when Weidman broke his leg on a checked kick.
Strickland also has won his past four fights, but has yet to face marquee opposition in the cage. The outspoken fighter also is enjoying the longest winning streak of his octagon career, which he attributed to work with a mental coach.
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Round 1: Strickland pops Hall with a good jab. He’s aggressive to start, as expected. Hall has his own jab going. They’re standing in the middle of the octagon, sizing each other up with their boxing. Strickland taking the lead through the first couple of minutes. Hall lands a counter left. Low leg kick from Hall scores. Strickland narrowly avoids a straight counter right from Hall. Strickland upping the volume and he has Hall on the back foot. Strickland advancing with straight punches up top. Uppercut by Hall. Strickland tags him with a 1-2. Strickland caps off a combo with a head kick. Hall busier in the final 30 seconds. Strickland walks through a few counters.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Strickland.
Round 2: Hall backs Strickland up with a jab. Strickland goes back to the jab, but Hall times a right hand to the face well. Strickland stings together punches and he has Hall shelling up against the fence. Hall blocks a takedown, but gets stung by an elbow in close. Strickland has Hall stuck against the fence. Hall and Strickland return to center, Strickland’s hands just as fast they were in the first round. Hall scores with a body-head combo. Both fighters putting steam on their jabs, Strickland just landing more. A low kick catches Hall’s cup and we have a pause in the action. Hall connects with a leg kick. Quick exchange of strikes as the round comes to a close.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Strickland. Overall, 20-18 Strickland.
Round 3: Hall throws jabs to the body. He’s heeding his corners advice to be more active. Kick to the body by Hall. Strickland more measured in Round 3. He’s not getting hit with anything big, but he’s letting Hall lead the dance so far. Strickland sticking with his jab. He hurts Hall and gets a takedown. He’s on top landing heavy punches, Hall scrambling to survive. He’s up and leaning on the fence with Strickland on his back with a rear waistlock. Takedown for Strickland. Strickland posturing up and Hall is in trouble. Strickland attacks the back with less than 30 seconds left.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Strickland. Overall, 30-27 Strickland.
Round 4: Check left by Strickland lands. He looks fresh as Hall walks into a jab. Hall cannot get past Strickland’s jab. Another check left lands for Strickland. Hall doubles up on a jab and scores. Strickland just tilting his head back out of Hall’s range when Hall throws. His left hand has been in Hall’s face all fight. Combo from Strickland, Hall answers by landing a couple of good punches to the body. They touch each other up with jabs. Hall wobbled by a punch. Strickland backs him to the fence and gets a takedown. Hall takes a couple of knees as he stands. Hall headhunting at the end of the round, Strickland avoids being caught by a big shot.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Strickland. Overall, 40-36 Strickland.
Round 5: Hall out fast again. Can he maintain it? Hall flicking out leg kicks and throwing heavy up top, but Strickland’s head movement is on point. Strickland rifling in straight punches. He backs Hall to the fence again. Back in the middle, Strickland pours on the pressure, but Hall answers back. Hall throwing more punches than he has in the previous rounds. Strickland sneaking the right hand in now. He presses Hall to the fence. Strickland refuses to let Hall separate cleanly, just battering him with punches as Hall tries to push him away. Strickland keeps him tied up against the fence. Hall gets back to the middle of the fence and he’s throwing wild bombs, Strickland defending well against all of it. Strickland just bullies him back to the fence and this is going to the judges.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Strickland. Overall, 50-45 Strickland.
Official result: Sean Strickland def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 49-46)