Putting it simply, the UFC 269 featherweight fight between Ryan Hall and Darrick Minner was a grappling fan’s dream.
Hall, winner of The Ultimate Fighter, was fighting for the second time in a calendar year for the first time since his run on TUF. He was also looking to shake off his first loss inside the octagon, which came against Ilia Topuria earlier this year.
Minner was also coming off a loss, against Darren Elkins, in a fight that saw some excellent grappling exchanges early on.
We saw more of those Saturday, mainly care of Ryan Hall.
After officials had some trouble getting the octagon door closed, Hall vs. Minner got underway with Hall utilizing his kicks at range. Minner landed a kick as well, and later caught a Hall kick — only to opt against dumping Hall on his back.
Instead, Minner stayed outside, moving in and out. That seemed like a smart game plan, but Hall was having none of it. Hall rolled into a takedown, grabbed a leg, and dragged Minner down. Minner escaped one leg lock, only for Hall to grab a leg again, in a better position. Minner would manage to avoid the submission game of Hall, scramble out, then rock Hall on the feet! But when Minner moved in, Hall rolled and got his opponent down once again. Another escape from Minner, but Hall got him to the ground once more, and this time Hall went after a heel hook. Hall then transitioned to the top, finishing the round there.
Hall opened round two with a kick to the body. Minner answered with an uppercut that sailed wide, but when he tried to chase Hall down, Hall rolled into another one of his patented awkward-looking takedowns. Even on bottom, Hall was a threat, his guard loose, landing body kicks and punches before threatening with an arm-bar. Minner slammed his way free of it, but opted to engage on the ground once again. Being on top, Minner was winning the round, but he wound up trapped in a triangle eating elbows. Hall couldn’t find the finish, but he ended the round in control, landing punches from the top.
In the third, Hall secured a triangle early, rolling into it, but lost the hold. That allowed Minner to get on top, working from inside Hall’s guard. Hall somehow trapped a leg in a transition, and Minner came dangerously close to kicking his opponent in the face in response. Hall continued to hunt for a leg, then transitioned into mount. Hall stayed heavy on Minner, looking to set up an arm-triangle choke. Minner couldn’t buck him off, or make any space to escape. Hall never fully committed to the choke, instead opting to rind out the round in mount, dropping ground n’ pound.
— UFC (@ufc) December 11, 2021
Hall never really came close to finishing, and Minner deserves some credit for surviving on the ground with him. But Hall took home the one-sided decision in the end, and his style remains a puzzle for almost any featherweight.
Official Result: Ryan Hall def. Darrick Minner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)