It’s been over six years since Uriah Hall’s incredible spinning hook kick knockout of Adam Cella on the 17th installment of The Ultimate Fighter reality series that aired in 2013. Hall and Cella engaged in a stand-up affair before Hall landed perhaps the most infamous strike in TUF history and scored what would later become the undisputed best knockout of the series.
The 35-year-old Hall now considers himself one of the “last OGs” of the division. He is still in hot pursuit of a title shot against current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. After an up-and-down career in the UFC that has resulted in several winning and losing streaks, the veteran Hall is ready to prove he is worthy of a shot at UFC gold against longtime top contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, whom Hall is set to meet on May 9 at UFC 249.
Hall burst onto the MMA scene back in 2013 where he ran through his opponents on the UFC’s popular TV series. After earning a unanimous decision over Andy Enz, Hall went on to knock out all three of his subsequent opponents on the show and eventually made his way to The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.
Hall lost a split decision to TUF teammate Kelvin Gastelum and followed up his UFC debut with yet another split-decision loss when he met John Howard. It was a surprise to see the surging knockout artist uncomfortable and hesitant to pull the trigger on the big stage.
Hall rebounded, though. He scored three straight wins by defeating Chris Leben, Thiago Santos and Ron Stallings. His stoppage of Leben was specifically brutal, as he landed a vicious knee and several power shots to stun the middleweight brawler for the majority of the first round before knocking Leben down. Hall’s first-round performance resulted in Leben informing his trainer he was done, and the bout was stopped between rounds one and two.
Hall’s UFC career after his three-fight winning streak has included several memorable moments, including a brilliant comeback flying-knee knockout of Gegard Mousasi. Hall was taken down early in round one and dominated for most of the bout. What followed in the opening seconds of the second round was a spinning kick that stunned Mousasi and allowed Hall to go in for the finish with a flying knee and a flurry of punches.
Hall had a similar moment when fighting Krzysztof Jotko a couple years later. Jotko battered Hall in the first round, eventually stunning and mounting the crafty striker. Yet again, Hall rallied in the second round and came back to knock out his Polish foe. In doing so, Hall earned a performance bonus.
Hall is now 3-1 over his last four Octagon appearances. His only loss in this stretch came courtesy of the current top UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa. Hall, who now sits at No. 10 in the UFC’s middleweight division, is currently riding a two-fight winning streak after a knockout of Bevon Lewis and split-decision nod over Antonio Carlos Junior. If Hall is to extend his current streak, he will have to get through Jacare, a longtime middleweight standout.
Hall is a creative striker who mixes spinning attacks with powerful punches to stun and counter his opponents. To defeat Souza on May 9, Hall will likely have to keep this fight on the feet. Souza has been inclined to strike more in his recent bouts, but he is now on a two-fight skid. Jacare will likely look to take the Jamaican native to the ground and impose his stellar ground game. If the fight goes to the canvas, Souza will enjoy a significant advantage.
Hall’s key to victory will be to keep this fight on the feet and force a kickboxing match. This is where he clearly can shine and impose his will. On May 9, Hall gets the big fight he’s been asking for as he marches his way up the UFC middleweight rankings in hopes of a future title shot. He has a lot to prove against Jacare.