There was a time when Uriah Hall was being touted as the ‘Next Big Thing’ in the UFC’s middleweight division based upon his destructive exploits on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. However, Hall has failed miserably so far in attempting to live up to the hype inside the Octagon. The dangerous striker will get an opportunity to start building some momentum when he tangles with Thiago Santos in a 185-pound clash this weekend at UFC 175.
Hall’s road to expected stardom took an unexpected hit when he was outworked by heavy underdog Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF 17 Season Finale. That disappointing decision loss was followed up by an even more timid performance in another loss at Fight Night 26 against John Howard. Those back-to-back defeats had UFC President Dana White questioning if Hall had the mental makeup to be a successful fighter.
“Prime Time” finally got into the win column at UFC 168 and likely kept his Octagon career alive when he sent Chris Leben into retirement. Hall hurt the gritty veteran early in the contest and battered him as the first round was coming to an end. “The Crippler” stayed on his stool and decided not to come out to endure further punishment.
It was Hall’s seventh finish in eight career victories. Now it’s all about producing on a consistent basis. This matchup against Santos could be the type of fight that will allow Hall to return to his highlight-reel ways. There’s been a passive nature to his fighting style and it’s now time to for the 29-year old to return to seek-and-destroy mode in Las Vegas.
Santos has had mixed results in his two-fight Octagon tenure. He was finished by TUF Brazil winner Cezar Ferreira in the first round at UFC 163 but rebounded in impressive fashion at Fight Night 38. Santos was able to get his career back on track by pulling off a major upset against Ronny Markes by finishing him in just 53 seconds. That victory improved his record to 9-2 and marked his fifth career knockout.
The pressure’s definitely on Hall to finally start making the most of his immense talent as his window of opportunity is quickly closing. Another impressive victory could see Hall facing top-15 opposition in his next fight.
Santos can make quite a statement if he’s able to spring another upset and in the process deal Hall’s career a crippling blow.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports