Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 124 as Vitor Belfort takes on Uriah Hall.
Vitor Belfort (Record: 26-13, +205 Underdog, Power Ranking: C-)
The Phenom has been fighting professionally for two decades. He fought for the UFC as early as 1997 before leaving the promotion to fight for organizations such as Affliction and Pride before returning to the UFC in 2009 where he has been since. Belfort had lost three of his last four fights TKO to former champion Chris Weidman, and top contenders Jacare Souza and Gegard Mousasi before edging out Nate Marquardt to a decision victory in June 2017.
“The Phenom” has long been labeled one of, if not the best blitzers in the sport. After a short feeling out process, Belfort looks to utilize speed and an aggressive blitz to quickly finish his opponents and get a knockout finish. He’s beaten some excellent opposition in this fashion such as middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
The difference between those wins and where Belfort currently stands today is TRT. With further regulation added to the sport, the Brazilian is not the same fighter he was when he knocked out those elite opponents. His speed, strength, and physique are simply not at his peak levels. Belfort still has good hands and a strong switch kick. He’s certainly capable of catching top level opponents, but his window to do that is minimal at best. In his most recent bout against Nate Marquardt, Belfort utilized a much more cautious approach. While he didn’t land any strikes with volume, it allowed him to maintain a consistent pace throughout the fight and not tire out.
Uriah Hall (Record: 13-8, -245 Favorite, Power Ranking: C+)
One of the most hyped fighters in the history of The Ultimate Fighter, Uriah Hall has gone 6-6 outside of the house. After losing three straight fights and in danger of being cut from the UFC, Uriah Hall knocked out Krzysztof Jotko in the second round of their September 2017 fight to get back in the win column.
The Jamaica-born Hall is one of the most feared strikers in the middleweight division. With a 79 inch reach, Hall is right near the top of the division and is able to land strikes others are simply not able to. His athletic gifts make him an awkward matchup for most fighters in the division. He’s not only able to strike from range, but it’s the creativity he has in the stand-up that makes him a big time threat. Hall uses a lot of spinning attacks and has opponents guessing what he’ll do next. If Hall lands clean, he can knockout anyone in the division. His problem has been that he can become a bit static on the feet. There are periods of inactivity in his bouts where he simply doesn’t exchange and has ended up on the wrong side of the total strikes in a fight and therefore takes a loss. Hall can be controlled on the ground. His takedown defense is decent at 71%, but he has been a bit overwhelmed by fighters who can limit his mobility and score points in the ground exchanges. Hall struggles to get back to his feet when he’s put on his back and it’s a real hole in his overall skill set.
In a matchup of exciting middleweights, Vitor Belfort takes on Uriah Hall. The Jamaican born Hall is seven years younger and holds a five inch read advantage in this bout. The physical advantages are a major advantage for Hall in this bout considering both fighters have fight ending power. While Belfort has traditionally had a speed advantage in his bouts, it’s nullified in this bout given the athletic gifts Hall possesses. Look for there to be a feeling out process in this fight as Hall will look to maintain distance while Belfort will look for a way in. In terms of volume, Hall has traditionally thrown with more volume (3.13 vs. 1.63 for Belfort). I expect Hall to be able to keep Belfort at bay and if this goes to a decision it heavily favors Hall. Neither fighter has a good chin, so a knockout is probable in this bout. Belfort’s best chance is to catch Hall rushing in, hurting him, and getting the finish. The more likely scenario is the size, speed, and athletic advantages for Hall will be just too much for Belfort to handle. Look for Uriah Hall to knock out Vitor Belfort and get a highlight reel caliber win. The total is set at under 1.5 (-155). I tend to not bet juiced under 1.5 totals, so I’m waiting for the line to be released on a Hall KO/TKO prop price.