Uriah Hall may be one of the best talents to ever come out of The Ultimate Fighter. The 7-2 middleweight out of Queens, New York faces Kelvin Gastelum at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale and is one win away from being crowned TUF 17 champion. His exciting striking style has some MMA fans believing he could be a potential contender down the road, if not UFC champion. While that may be a little bit too ambitious right now, he's certainly entertaining and has produced some dynamite KOs on the show.
Today we're going to focus on Uriah in a special edition of the BE GIFathon. You've seen him stop Dylan Andrews with strikes from the bottom, shatter Bubba McDaniel in 9 seconds, and absolutely blast Adam Cella with his spinning heel kick, but now you're going to see some of his work before his TUF days. As usual, Zombie Prophet provided the GIFs and Dallas Winston will chime in with commentary.
vs. Mike Iannone (MMA debut, 2005)
Mookie: Okay, there's not much to analyze over a 44 second fight where Uriah Hall wins his pro debut by blasting Mike Iannone with two uppercuts, so I'm going to take this in a completely different direction. Iannone has one other pro fight listed on his record, a submission win over a guy named Peter Storm. That name belongs in either a D-level pro wrestling organization or in the porn industry.
Dallas: Ah yes, the ol' "squat down and pretend your hands are actually earmuffs" defense. Hall's obviously trained to counter that defense specifically.
vs. Edwin Aguilar (2009)
Mookie: Believe it or not, Hall had a one-off in Bellator against Edwin Aguilar. This finishing sequence resulted in the very rare head kick TKO (as opposed to the usual head kick KO). Was it an unjust stoppage? Aguilar was definitely hurt but he didn't look out on his feet. Nevertheless, this fight does show much of what you've already seen of Hall on TUF. It looks like Aguilar was complaining about a thumb to the eye from a Hall jab, but the referee was having none of that. One of the things you'll notice about Hall's kicks is that he goes low and then high with his right leg, which is what he used to finish off Aguilar.
Dallas: I don't care to perpetuate Rogan's ongoing tirade about eye pokes, but this outcome is frustrating to the onlookers and ten-times more so for the victimized fighter. Regardless of whether the poke was legit or not, there are few occurrences that cause a professional fighter to completely lose his focus, and feeling like your eyeball just traveled backward through your brain to collide with the back of your inner-skull is one. As Mookie mentioned, it's beautiful (but a tad risky against a poised counter-striker) how Hall goes low and then upstairs (twice) with the kick. This is reminiscent of Daron Cruickshank's high-kick barrage against the dazed Henry Martinez.
vs. Aung La Nsung (2011)
Mookie: Hall had little trouble dispatching Aung La Nsung, whose name doesn't quite make an anagram for "Auld Lang Syne". Nsung was clearly buzzed by the first right hand, and Hall just took his time, measured up his next shot and delivered the finishing straight right hand right down the pipe. I think the referee is Dan Mirgaliotta, in which case it's rare footage of him actually stopping a fight at the right time.
Dallas: What I appreciate the most about Hall is his mastery of basics and his lightning-fast straight right is the best example. I think zinging a simple and straight right has probably supplanted the jab as MMA's most criminally under-utilized basic weapon.
vs. Daniel Akinyemi (2012)
Mookie: We saw Uriah Hall try and submit Dylan Andrews with a kimura in the TUF 17 semifinals, well here's a heel hook submission win against Daniel Akinyemi at Ring of Combat in New Jersey. Akinyemi is able to complete a takedown in the closing stages of round 1. He stands up and then as he comes back down and tries to rain down more ground-and-pound, Hall immediately traps the right leg and starts working on the heel hook. I don't have a different angle, but Akinyemi appears to tap with both hands.
Dallas: It is seriously hazardous to attempt a heel hook with your back against the cage like this, as the most common defense is to step away from the pressure, which forces the attacker to roll in the same direction to sustain the pressure/submission, and the cage would've prevented (or made it damn tough) for Hall to do so. However, it works here, and nicely exhibits the creative diversity that has people excited about Hall.