A middleweight clash that could produce some fireworks is the latest addition to UFC 175. Ultimate Fighter Season 17 finalist Uriah Hall will be looking for back-to-back victories on July 5 in Las Vegas when he squares off Thiago Santos. Santos is also coming off an impressive victory in his last Octagon appearance at Fight Night 38 in Brazil.
Hall likely kept his UFC career alive at UFC 168 when he stopped Chris Leben. Hall did what he had to do against his rugged opponent, landing powerful strikes early in the bout and had Leben reeling at the end of the opening round. The veteran elected not to come out for round two. The victory snapped a two-fight losing skid for Hall while Leben officially announced his retirement shortly after the fight.
Hall originally emerged as a highlight-reel knockout artist on The Ultimate Fighter, but saw the major buzz surrounding him vanish when he lost a decision against heavy underdog Kelvin Gastelum in the final. That was followed up by a disappointing effort in a split-decision loss against John Howard at Fight Night 26. The powerful 185-pound competitor has a solid skillset and the ability to produce devastating finishes with seven stoppages in eight career victories. He’s still looking to find consistency inside the Octagon and the effort against Leben is certainly something to build upon.
Santos had a terrific bounce-back performance after a tough start to his UFC tenure. He was submitted in the opening round by TUF Brazil winner Cezar Ferreira at UFC 163. However, Santos evened his Octagon record at 1-1 by finishing heavy favourite Ronny Markes in just 53 seconds in his last fight. A brutal kick to the body and follow-up strikes ended the proceedings and produced the sixth finish in nine career wins for “Marreta”.
This fight shapes up as a contest that could produce an explosive finish. Hall is looking to show that he can still live up to the hype, and a second straight impressive performance would help him gain momentum. As for Santos, he’ll also be looking to make some positive strides of his own if he can produce another win against a well-known opponent.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports