Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night 26 Prediction: Uriah Hall vs. John Howard


*FPR supplemented by video scouting due to lack of Fight Metric data.

Uriah Hall Fight Metric profile

John Howard Fight Metric profile

As somebody who has been caught up in the Uriah Hall hype (to an extent), I thought it was necessary to go back and do some tape study. I did this with one objective in mind – to be as neutral and unbiased as possible. Here’s what I found:

  • Hall’s takedown defense is borderline atrocious. His reaction to an opponent’s takedown attempt is often to stand up straight and backpedal, which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of a sprawl.
  • Hall’s lack of takedown defense bleeds into his striking. He’s often very hesitant to throw strikes in fear of being taken down.
  • Hall is very good at throwing kicks, not so good at throwing punches. He’s not a good boxer at all. He has poor defensive instincts and his punching offense mostly consists of a hard jab.
  • From what I saw on tape, Hall’s best offense wasn’t his striking, it was his ground and pound. He’s actually pretty good at landing takedowns and holding top position.

What I didn’t see – a sustained period of dominance against any opponent. The reason I was so complimentary of Conor McGregor was that he was clearly at a much higher level than all of his opponents. I can’t say the same about Hall.

Balanced against those suddenly harsh opinions is the fact that Hall (in my opinion) out-performed Costa Philippou in one Ring of Combat fight. It was a very close fight overall that went to Philippou by majority decision. In that fight, Hall showed good movement and timing with his strikes. I would have probably scored the fight 29-28 Hall to be honest with you. A win over Philippou would make his record look a whole lot better.

Even so, I have to conclude that Uriah Hall is a fraud. I’m pretty sure I wrote at some point that Hall was one of the best strikers in the middleweight division. If I did, I apologize and take it back. Apart from the Dylan Andrews fight on The Ultimate Fighter – a fight in which Andrews was visibly afraid of Hall – Hall never showed that his striking is way beyond any of his opponents.

When I take all that into consideration, I have to think John Howard is a dangerous opponent for Hall. Howard is a good offensive wrestler, a fighter who lands 3.36 takedowns per 15 minutes at 63% accuracy. If he’s smart, he’ll attack Hall with takedowns from the opening bell.

At the same time, Howard is NOT a good striker, or anything close. He lands just 1.50 significant strikes per minute. To put that in perspective, Howard lands strikes about as frequently as Anderson Silva is hit by strikes. Even with Hall’s flawed striking he should have the clear advantage on the feet.

I’m sure you notice the FPR numbers at the top of this post – they suggest this is a 50-50 fight. That’s a stark contrast to the betting public, which currently has Hall a 4-1 favorite. One thing I’m very confident about is that a bet on Hall represents awful value.

With that said I’m willing to pick Hall to win this fight. Howard is normally a welterweight and fighting up a weight class. He’s just 5’7″ and will give up eight inches in reach to Hall, which will only exacerbate Hall’s striking advantage. If takedowns are the only offensive threat Howard presents, it will be a lot easier for Hall to defend them.

So I’m picking Hall to win this fight, but he’s not a title contender or anything close. Hall will struggle to tread water in the UFC.

Pick: Uriah Hall by KO


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