UFC Vegas 12: Can Hall Escape Silva’s Final Web?

Uriah Hall and Anderson Silva, UFC Vegas 12
Uriah Hall and Anderson Silva, UFC Vegas 12 Face-Off Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Anderson Silva is looking to put on a show for his final fight in the cage, but he will have to overcome a foe with weapons reminiscent of his own in Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 12.

It would be unfair to wind down the career of Anderson Silva in a simple breakdown ahead of his final fight.  It has it’s proper due here, but it can be summarized with one word: GOAT.  One of several, but to be in the conversation is a feat that puts one in rarefied air that eludes even world champions.  Though it has been broken, his benchmark of 10 title defenses is the record against which all great champions are held against.  He set many other statistical records as well, with the most victories to start a UFC career (16), most finishes in title fights (9), most knockdowns in UFC history (18) and several more that all lend credibility to his greatness.

He held the belt and bridged the gap from the era of Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes into the age of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, and Ronda Rousey.  When compared with his Canadian counterpart Georges St-Pierre, the style points all went to “The Spider.”  The Brazilian legend spun a web that produced iconic moments such as the front-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort, the epic fifth round submission of Chael Sonnen, and dismantling victories of Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, and Yushin Okami that made it appear as if he was in the matrix and operating at a level ahead of everyone else.

Silva’s creativity and ability to control distance has inspired and led to many comparisons for fighters who have come after him.  One of which is Uriah Hall, who before even being seen on The Ultimate Fighter was hailed by UFC President Dana White as the next Silva.  A veteran of the UFC since 2013, “Primetime” has produced several brilliant moments in his own right.  After landing perhaps the most devastating spinning back-kick knockout in MMA history, Hall’s UFC career has seen him test his striking against some of the best of the decade.  Holding an 8-7 record, most of Hall’s setbacks all came against future members of the elite in Gegard Mousasi, Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and others.  But his career has also seen big victories over Mousasi, Aung La N Sang (pre-UFC), Thiago Santos, Krysztof Jotko, and Bevon Lewis.

After going on a three fight skid, Hall struggled to gain momentum as he saved his UFC career by going 2-1 in his next three.  Though the numbers do not stand out on paper, Hall’s improved performance have many believing he has turned that corner that many have long hoped for him when he burst onto the scene on TUF.  He credits the move to Fortis MMA in Texas as the catalyst for the change, and after having high profile bouts with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero fall through, it’s expected that he is ready for the spotlight of the high profile main event on Saturday and the opportunity to propel himself forward in the division.

Stylistically, speed and power all favor Hall in this battle of multi-faceted strikers.  Silva’s effectiveness comes from making opponents hesitant to pursue him in the cage for fear of his timing and unorthodox counters.  Hall has the speed and technical prowess to force Silva to come to him in order to force the action and that favors Hall as his power figures to overwhelm the Brazilian.  Silva must look to make the fight ugly at close range, working the body and getting out of the pocket before Hall can set up a counter-attack.  While many will script a scenario where Silva is faster on the draw in a shoot-out in the middle of the Octagon, the more likely route to victory for Silva is to work in close-range and wear down Hall over time.  Furthermore, Silva is a competent grappler in his own right and should consider using his jiu-jitsu to make Hall more hesitant to take risks.

After being previously booked against “Jacare” and Yoel Romero, an impressive win for Hall will serve to move him forward as names like Chris Weidman and Derek Brunson lie ahead of him in the rankings.  As for Silva, a trip to the Hall-of-Fame awaits him and a legacy of dominance and imagination in the cage are left behind him.