Middleweight Main Event
Anderson Silva is a legend of the sport and of the middleweight division, and it’s remarkable that he’s still fighting at all, let alone at the level he’s still competing at. His last five opponents have been a real “who’s who” in the middleweight division, though his only win of the last seven years was his 2017 unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson.
He lost twice in 2018, once to now-champion Israel Adesanya, the other to now-#2 contender Jared Cannonier. Uriah Hall is riding a two-fight win streak, winning three of his last four over quality opponents, losing only to Paulo Costa.
This clash will, without a doubt, make for some fireworks. Silva has 23 career finishes, and Hall’s last fight against Antonio Carlos Junior was his first fight since 2015 to go the distance, and only the second since 2015 to make it past the midway point of the 2nd round.
Silva is a notorious counter-striker who waits for his opponents to make mistakes. He has the ability to lead the action and is comfortable doing so, but he’s more successful when he can take his time and return fire. He has an excellent sense of pressure and only chases at the right times. He’s dangerous with all eight limbs and, at 45 years old, is one of the most experienced and intelligent kick boxers in mixed martial arts.
The facets of the sport where Silva has most shown his age recently are in his striking speed and clinch striking. Formerly a dominant clinch artist, Silva has been controlled and borderline dominated in those positions in recent years. His head movement and footwork are still there, and so is his power, largely. However his jab has lost some zip as have his hooks and kicks.
As much as we want to take his victory over Derek Brunson as a sign that Silva can still compete at the top of this division, Brunson very much lost that fight with inactivity more than Silva won it with strikes. One positive we can take from that one, however, is that Silva’s conditioning is still solid.
Though he looked to be a bit slower in his fight against Brunson, he looked much more like his former self in the following three-round battle with Adesanya. There aren’t really any rounds in that fight you can score for Silva, but he certainly had his moments and tagged Izzy a few more times than most of his opponents are able to. His jab was sharp, he worked his hooks along the fence and was able to press the action for a lot of the fight.
His most recent fight inspired much less confidence. He wasn’t able to land very many shots on Jared Cannonier, and the fight was finished when Cannonier injured Silva with a leg kick. The leg had been previously injured and, hopefully, it has since fully recovered. Silva doesn’t really check a lot of leg kicks, and they’ve always been one of the weaker parts of his game, but he won’t have to worry about them against Uriah Hall, who really doesn’t utilize them.
Hall’s striking speed is still clean at 36 years old. He’s a disciplined striker with great pop on his jab. He is always looking to keep his distance, and he does so with that jab and with stiff front kicks to the midsection. He has powerful counter straights, and throws excellent combinations with great timing. He has solid boxing fundamentals, but really only throws strikes straight on the line, though he does have a variety of spinning strikes up his sleeve…
Hall fights at a pretty decent pace and tends to get better as the fight goes on. In order to be successful in this fight, Hall needs to feint with his jab to keep Silva’s timing off on his counters. Hall mixed it up very well against Carlos Junior, but Carlos Junior never moved his head off the line and ate almost every jab Hall threw.
If Anderson Silva can put together the kinds of exchanges and the kind of performance that he did against Adesanya, he has a serious chance to upset Hall in this main event. He’s certainly worth a flier at +185. The bet we like here is the over at 3.5 rounds -150.
With the exception of two separate leg injuries, Silva hasn’t been knocked out since 2013, and we think his plan in this five-round main event will be to start out patient as he always does, measure out Hall’s reactions and get busier as the fight goes on. Hall will likely also look for a smooth start, both fighters are naturally counter strikers who wait for their opponents to bite and capitalize on opportunities.
If this fight were to go to the ground, Silva would likely have the advantage, but we don’t think it’ll get there. This fight will be all stand-up, but there won’t be very many strikes thrown in the first few rounds. Hall is always a one-shot knockout threat, but not against Anderson Silva. His chin’s too strong and he’s too intelligent to expose himself in this matchup. A lot of it will come down to how Silva has healed from this injury, but we’re fairly confident this one will go the distance if he is fully healthy.
Our official picks for UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva will be available this Saturday 10/31 at 9:00 am EST.