UFC Vancouver: Brunson, Not Adesanya, Now In Uriah Hall’s Crosshairs

    Uriah Hall discusses his win over Antonio Carlos Junior at UFC Vancouver and future plans, which could include a Derek Brunson rematch.

    Vancouver, B.C. — Going to the judges is always a scary prospect in MMA. For Uriah Hall, it might have been seen as a toss-up at UFC Vancouver, after a bloody, grueling war with Antonio Carlos Junior.

    Hall (15-9) bloodied and battered his opponent, breaking Carlos Junior’s nose early. But the grappler hung in there, dragging Hall to the ground as the fight wore on. It left things open to interpretation at the end, with two judges giving the first two rounds to Hall. All three gave Carlos Junior the final frame.

    Speaking to reporters including Cageside Press following the fight, Hall said that “I definitely felt like I did enough [to win]. Slightly shocked, but I felt like I kept my composure. I went inside his world, and definitely survived it. I’m glad to come out with the W.”

    Carlos Junior’s control, especially in the third, which saw Hall trapped in a body triangle for much of the round, was a concern even as it unfolded. “I knew that it might play a part in the judge’s [decision],” admitted Hall. “I tried to stay as calm as I could. At one point, I really tried to — I screamed a little bit, but he was so strong.”

    Hall was looking to the ref for a standup, but when that wasn’t forthcoming, he thought “I’m just going to chill here.” The main thing, he said, was to stay calm. “I was in danger, but the main thing was just to stay poised.”

    One factor that clearly played a role in Hall’s performance was his switch to Fortis MMA, and their strength and conditioning program, which Hall singled out before the fight.

    Asked about its impact, Hall replied by saying “it was money. I can’t tell you how many times we put ourselves in uncomfortable Houdini positions. Back position, let him get our backs. Side control. Takedowns. Just get up, over and over and over. So working at Fortis MMA,” he continued, “with all the guys — Ryan Spann, who’s a 205’er, that guy’s strong. So for me to feel strong, lighter than him, definitely helped. Mike Scaccia, who [runs] the strength and conditioning program, man. We worked so hard. With the combination of those two, I literally felt I was at my elite self.”

    The victory puts Hall on a two-fight win streak. Prior to the fight, Hall had spoken about serving as a short notice replacement against Israel Adesanya, if Robert Whittaker fell out of the title fight at UFC 243. Maybe pump the brakes on that for now.

    “We’ll see what happens. Right now, I think after all that hypeness, I’m like ‘let me just play the card right,’ said Hall on Saturday. “Definitely want to go at Brunson, I feel like he’s perfect for me right now to beat up. And he’s ahead of me. I know we fought before, I felt like that didn’t really— I don’t think he really won. I got dropped, and Herb Dean just jumped in to save him instead of me. I definitely want that fight back, I definitely think he’s someone I could beat to get to that ranking.”

    For more with Uriah Hall, watch his full post-fight press scrum from UFC Vancouver above!